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COVID impact: 92% students lose language foundational ability with schools remaining closed

The study on the 'Loss of Learning during the Pandemic’ by Azim Premji University reveals that 92% of children on an average have lost at least one specific language ability from the previous year.

Published: 10th February 2021 11:50 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th February 2021 11:50 PM   |  A+A-

Schools, Students, COVID-19

A municipal worker sanitises a classroom as per COVID-19 norms. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: A study on the 16067 primary school children across five states has shown significant negative impact on the learning levels of children who have faced prolonged closure of schools for almost a year during the pandemic.

Loss in learning is in terms of both, the curricular that would have been learnt had the schools remained open during the academic year and the abilities acquired in previous year that are forgotten.

The study on the 'Loss of Learning during the Pandemic’ by Azim Premji University reveals that 92% of children on an average have lost at least one specific language ability from the previous year across all classes.

These abilities include describing a picture or their experiences orally; reading familiar words; reading with comprehension; writing simple sentences based on a picture.

The study which was held in 44 districts across five states of Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand further revealed that 92% of children in class 2, 89% in class 3, 90% in class 4, 95% in class 5, and 93% in class 6 have lost at least one specific language ability from the previous year.

Learning loss in mathematics

82% of children on an average have lost at least one specific mathematical ability from the previous year across all classes. These specific abilities include identifying single - and two-digit numbers; performing arithmetic operations; using basic arithmetic operations for solving problems; describing 2D/3D shapes; reading and drawing inferences from data.

67% of children in class 2, 76% in class 3, 85% in class 4, 89% in class 5, and 89% in class 6 have lost at least one specific ability from the previous year. 

The report emphasizes that the extent and nature of learning loss is serious enough to warrant action at all levels of schools.

Supplemental support, whether in the form of bridge courses, extended hours, community-based engagements and appropriate curricular materials, will be needed to help children gain the foundational abilities when they return to school.

The baseline assessment of children’s learning levels, (when schools closed in March 2020) was done based on a comprehensive analysis by the relevant teachers, aided by appropriate assessment tools. ‘End-line’ assessment of the same children’s proficiency in January 2021, was done by administering oral and written tests.

"Covid-19 has battered India and the world. The loss of the educational year compounded by the phenomenon of academic regression is one such significant effect," said Anurag Behar, Vice Chancellor, Azim Premji University.

"This deep cumulative loss has to be confronted. Most importantly, when schools reopen, teachers have to be given time to cover this deficit and be provided with other support. A carefully synchronized set of measures across states will be required. Including eliminating vacations, extending the academic year well into 2021 and perhaps beyond –depending on when schools open, reconfiguring the syllabus, realigning college sessions, and more," he added.



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