A whopping 85 per cent of the higher education students in India believe they had a learning loss, according to a survey by TeamLease EdTech.
The survey, titled “Covid 19 Learning Loss in Higher Education”, showed that while students feel that the loss is between 40 per cent and 60 per cent, university leaders state that the loss has been 30 per cent to 40 per cent.
The loss is twice the estimated learning loss in G7 countries and it may take three years to repair.
Further, this learning loss has five sources; the digital divide, slow governance at government institutions, pre-existing capacity deficits, longer lockdowns than most countries, and weak online teaching/learning content, the survey revealed.
“India has 35 million out of the world’s 222 million university students. Learning is a perennial pandemic for many Indian learners but Covid has been catastrophic because of our many pre-existing challenges,” Teamlease CEO Edtech Shantanu Rooj said in a statement.
“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 5 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,” he added.
The survey was conducted with more than 700 students and 75 university leaders across the country.
It suggested that the learning loss must be blunted by immediately allowing all universities and colleges to open with necessary precautions. All universities must be immediately and automatically licensed for online learning.
Further, there is a need for accelerating Digital India to blunt the digital divide among the poor, rural areas, and disadvantaged communities. The higher education sector must also be financially supported by government funds and banks (like healthcare has been) for a one-time Covid driven capital expenditure in digital infrastructure, training, and transition.