Published: 19th July 2021
University students faced significant learning loss due to COVID-19 pandemic: Survey
The learning loss due to the digital divide, slow governance, pre-existing capacity deficits, longer lockdowns than most countries, and online teaching/learning content.
A significant percentage of university students faced learning loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic and it may take three years to repair this gap, says a survey by TeamLease EdTech.
According to the survey, college-going students believe they have faced 40 per cent to 60 per cent of learning loss due to COVID-19 and this learning loss is twice the estimated learning loss in G7 countries. The survey findings indicated that it will take three years to bridge this gap. To assess the extent and kind of academic regression among students, TeamLease EdTech conducted a research survey with more than 700 students and 75 university leaders across the country to assess their estimation of learning loss.
The learning loss is majorly due to five factors -- the digital divide, slow governance at government institutions, pre-existing capacity deficits, longer lockdowns than most countries, and weak online teaching/learning content. "India has 35 million out of the world's 222 million university students. Learning is a perennial pandemic for many Indian learners but COVID-19 has been catastrophic because of our many pre-existing challenges," Shantanu Rooj, CEO of Teamlease Edtech, said.
Further, Rooj noted that the immediate policy response should be opening all universities for physical learning and the most impactful response is bringing forward the 15-year implementation timetable for the New Education Policy (NEP) to five years. "The university system is in shock and accelerating the timetable will bring innovation, financing, and diversity to overcome the challenges for teachers and students," Rooj said. The survey also said that the learning loss must be blunted by immediately allowing all universities and colleges to open with necessary precautions.
Moreover, all universities must be immediately and automatically licensed for online learning. Acceleration of Digital India is necessary to blunt the digital divide among the poor, rural areas, and disadvantaged communities. Further, the higher education sector needs to be financially supported by government funds and banks (like healthcare has been) for one-time COVID-driven capital expenditure in digital infrastructure, training, and transition.
Moreover, the acceleration of the implementation of the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP) from 15 years to five years will accelerate digitisation, erase regulatory barriers between employability and education, and accelerate innovation in higher education, the survey said.