The unprecedented onset of the lockdown in 2020 shifted almost all services to the digital platform, and it was practically impossible to move the entire education system online with immediate effect. In the latest Economic Survey, the government has accepted the gaping irregularity regarding the impact of COVID-19 on learning. The Department of Economic Affairs said, "It is difficult to gauge the real-time impact of repeated lockdowns on the education sector because the latest available comprehensive official data dates back to 2019-20. This provides the longer time pre-COVID trends but does not tell us how the trend may have been impacted by COVID-19 induced restrictions", The Hindu reported.
Department Quoted ASER Report
Moreover, the government department undertook an unconventional approach of citing the data from an NGO report titled, Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), to put forth that enrollment and learning have suffered a major setback because of the national lockdowns, followed by the subsequent state lockdowns. The latest report by ASER proved that the number of children aged 6 to 14 years who are not enrolled in schools rose from 2.5 per cent to 4.6 per cent in 2021 and reported a significant shift from private to government schools.
Most Prolonged School Closures
The report had also highlighted the significant shift from private schools to government schools. It attributed the change to the distressed incomes of the parents, accessible facilities and thousands of families migrating back to their villages. 6 out of 10 children did not receive any learning materials or activities during the pandemic. India is one of those countries with the most prolonged school closures in the world.