The sudden uprooting of habitual routine the Corona Virus has caused has laid a foundation for many conversations to be had about inequity. One of which is the change from in-person to remote learning and some of the harmful implications of online learning displays. The closure of schools and universities forced teachers to switch to a completely online methodology. The impressive reconstruction of countless lesson plans and the continuous work to keep students engaged and involved in school does not go unnoticed, however, the unfairness remote learning represents to many students should be addressed.
About 24% of Indian households have access to the internet, and in rural areas, that number dwindles down to around 16%
Not only is there a digital divide between India and countries like the US and UK where household internet numbers are 4-5 times higher, but there is also a gender gap within this chasm. A 2017-2018 National Survey reported that only 16% of women had access to mobile internet, compared to 36% of men. Add in a pandemic where schools are closed and remote learning is required, what happens to those who have no means to justify a sufficient education from home? What about the women who have significantly less access to computers and electronics?
The future of education in low-income and low-resource families begins with an effective and meaningful learning environment. The Corona Virus outbreak could be the dawn of dismantling systemic issues that impede students from being taught with educational policies of access, equity, and quality. While teachers are doing their best to take on this new challenge, massive efforts should still be taken by institutions with means to ensure that every student and faculty have access to the required resources for online learning.
This is not a singular issue involving education, this is about a bigger notion that those who fall under a lower socio-economic status by proxy of factors out of their control are those who are disproportionately affected by injustices.
Through this pandemic, we have had time to reflect on matters that resonate with us in multitudes of ways. Let us hope we journey out of it with a more clear understanding of what it means to be an equitable force driven by compassion and inclusion.