How Should We Solve The Puzzle Of Learning Loss And How Can Parents Ensure Their Children Don't Lose Out On Academics Amid The Pandemic

What are your views on current scenario of school education?
The last memory of children setting foot in schools must be hazy but the dawn of the Covid-19 pandemic remains vividly clear in our minds. Today over 70% of our children in the country reside in Tier 2+ towns where they do not have access to quality education and hence we are witnessing a wide learning gap between students in `India' and `Bharat'. Technology in education has been a great leveller as it helps provide children in `Bharat' with the best re-sources at an affordable price and remove the constraints of geography and affordability. Covid-19 has so far shown us that technology will empower teachers, transform schools, disrupt tuitions, test prep and homework help. Schools will become better with technology. But they are not going any-where.

It has been more than a year since schools are shut, do you think online learning is as effective as offline learning?
While adapting to online learning environment immediately after traditional classroom learning could have been a task for most students, it was important for parents to help children adapt to the same with an open mind. At LEAD, we welcomed this transition with our Integrated School System. We encouraged children and their parents to use the LEAD School@Home programme which has further helped us bridge the learning gaps, paving the way for 100% uninterrupted learning and constant student-teacher-parent engagement. Recently at LEAD, we conducted an empirical analysis on academic performance of 20,000 students between Academic Year 2019-20 and post COVID year 2020, and the data revealed that online learning is as effective as offline learning.

The results abate the continued apprehensions of parents regarding learning efficacy in online classrooms while indicating that students who had more than 80 percent attendance during online classes scored 45 percent higher than those students who had irregular attendance. For core subjects English and Maths, students who scored 79 percent and 77 percent respectively in AY 19-20 were observed to have scored 75 percent in both subjects in AY 20-21. The data finds string correlation between higher attendance, academic performance and school fees as parents were observed to be more comfort-able with the delivery of education being provided despite the sudden and prolonged disruption.

What do you think parents should do in order to ensure there is no learning loss faced by their children?
In the absence of a formal school structure and disciplined life, parents have taken over the role of educators too. While parents are stressed owing to the sudden disruption, the plight of children cannot go unnoticed. In these circumstances, parents can be the only source of comfort to their children and alleviate their anxiety triggered by social distancing and lack of social engagement. This can only be achieved when parents are calm themselves. Though the advent of online learning is considered half the battle won, its proper usage to make learning effective is still a prime concern. With the efficacy of online learning as seen from our recent data, parents must leave behind their apprehensions and concerns while encouraging their children to be as committed to learning in an online class as they were in a physical classroom.

What advice would you give to schools in the current context?
The present crisis has made digital learning and home schooling pertinent in the country more than ever. It has fast-forwarded the adoption of smart learning by 5-7 years within a couple of months. Learning in a traditional class room is not enough for the new-age students to succeed as it only surrounds the curriculum. With the second wave of the pandemic the situation has become even more severe with interruptions in the daily lives of every individual, with a significant effect on the education sector with school closures. Most schools are switching to online learning or hybrid learning to provide education to children without any disruption. Schools need to become technologically advanced to combat this disruption efficiently and help students finish their academic year while having a 100% complete school experience sitting at home.