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COVID-19 widens learning gap among West Bengal school students, finds research COVID-19
File Image by Avishek Mitra/IBNS

COVID-19 widens learning gap among West Bengal school students, finds research

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 10 Feb 2022, 02:12 pm

Kolkata/IBNS: The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, that forced the classroom learning to a halt, has widened the learning gap among school students in the eastern state of West Bengal, a recent survey said.

A survey, conducted by the Pratham Education Foundation and West Bengal-based Liver Foundation in Dec 2021, was carried out among 11,189 in 17 districts of the state.

The survey found that 27.7% of the respondents belonging to class 3 could read class 2 level text, down from 36.6% in 2018 and 32.9% in 2014.

The report added that about 48 percent of the respondents belonging to class 5 could read class 2 level text, down from 50.5% in 2018 and 50.2% in 2016 and 51.8% in 2014.

Reflecting on the survey results, Pratham Education Foundation CEO Rukmini Banerji said as quoted by The Indian Express, "Before moving into teaching-learning activities at grade level, it is essential that children are given time and opportunity to develop appropriate physical, socio-emotional, cognitive, pre-math and language skills."

The survey found students in class 2 who can at least read words have dropped from 66.2% in 2018 to 53 percent in 2021.

The current percentage is even below 54.8% in 2014.

68.5% of the respondents from class 1 can recognise single-digit numbers, down from 77.8% in 2018.

Dr Abhijit Chowdhury of the Liver Foundation, who works with the West Bengal government on several spheres, said as quoted by The Indian Express, the figures suggest digital education cannot provide holistic development of children.

After closure of educational institutions due to COVID-19 third wave in January, the state government reopened schools from class 8-12, colleges and universities last week.