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Covid-19 is Limiting Childhood and Education

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We never thought that we would be facing a situation like Covid-19 pandemic and that it would affect not only a particular country but the whole world. It has disrupted national governments, health systems, and infrastructure, economic and social fabric. Most of the people (around 12.2 cr) have renounced their jobs and it shooted up during covid-19 pandemic. Almost 75% of 12.2 cr people were small traders and wage-laborers. It affected all areas: food services, tourism, the retail sector, door to door sales, fitness, wellness, recreation etc. In this precipitate and horror they have lost sight of the most vulnerable and sensitive creature, “the child”. During this pandemic, Education systems that play an important role in the child’s holistic development have been affected badly According to Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory in 1977, these systems are: mesosystem, microsystems, exosystem, macrosystem and chronosystem.

The child is at the centre and builds relation directly and indirectly with these systems like Micro system is the immediate environment a child is exposed to. These include family, culture, neighbours and school etc. Pandemic has affected many families especially the underprivileged section, economically and financial problems has led to stress on the parents, which will directly influence child-parent relations. For instance, a research by an organisation that is working in the field of parents and child relationship, found that parents are not giving proper time, even 10-15 minutes for completing the given play-based activity circulated online by the organisation who are working to strengthen parent-child relation during this covid-19 pandemic.

As schools, crèches, daycares and other childcare institutions are shut down, children are not getting opportunities to interact with their peers and neighbours, in addition to the parents. And if some parents do not have good connections with their child, then it can be an early warning for delays in the child’s cognitive, language, physical, aesthetic, social and emotional domains development. Mesosystem connects with the micro system; it is the relationship and interaction between children, his family and other child’s close socialised people (teachers, peer’s group, neighbors) that come in these systems. Exosystem is that with which children indirectly accompany, for instance, Govt. policies, parents’ job, political and economic policies, community and society, that is most important for child development.

Article-31 states that children have the right to rest, leisure, engage in play and recreational activities that are appropriate for the child’s age and to participate freely in cultural life and arts. This has been fenced in the house amidst the covid-19. The lockdown and limitation of movement and activities is leading to a stressful environment for children, especially for those who are in early years (birth-3 years). These young children may not be able to express their feelings and situation and thus are deprived from this right too. Life has become virtual at home for children; their exposure to screen is more than the guidelines shared by the WHO (world health organization). According to WHO, the screen time for a young child (3-8 year old) should not be more than 20 minutes and for elder children (9-14) not more than 1 hour per day. And the last system is the macrosystem. In this system, cultural values, beliefs, custom, law of culture are underlying for a child’s development. If one system faces conflicts, it affects others too and it impacts over the child development.

Covid-19 is an unprecedented situation for humanity being experienced by this generation and it increases multilevel stress among the children as well as their parents, which in turn creates a massive caregiving challenge. According to the survey of an NGO which works for child care and safety, researched during the initial days of lockdown that child helpline no.1098, received more than 3 lakhs calls. This shows how children felt insecure during lockdown.

All the educational institutions (NGO’s, Pre-Schools, Play schools and Formal schools etc.) have been shifted to online mode and this is very tough for engaging children who are very young. Children are spending more time on screens through the online classes and they also need parental support while taking their online session.

It has been also researched that most of the elementary school children are dropping this year specially who are in private schools, as their parents would not be able to pay fees. And they also did not get any compensation in rigid fees structure. Many of these schools have no good techniques to teach their children and they just share chapters, audios and YouTube videos related to chapters and children struggle to comprehend it and find it unnecessary and at last quit to learn. It encourages parent and teenage child conflicts when parents and This way of teaching is also affecting parent-child relationships. For instance when parents force their children to study and their ward is struggling with studying alone with no support from teachers creates a friction between them. Education system has been affected severely and is also creating an unhealthy environment for parent child relations for all age group children.

Still seeing this situation of children, the Government is not taking any step for the children and their rights. No one worries about children as usually they are at the bottom of any government policies that can benefit these children, even during Covid-19. Government can direct its state to take care of young children who are exposed to unhealthy environments in unhygienic conditions. It can support their families that mean supporting indirectly to the children.

References

(2020). Retrieved 8 September 2020, from

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-52559324#:~:text=Coronavirus%20lockdown%3A%20India%

(2020). Retrieved 8 September 2020, from

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-52559324#:~:text=Coronavirus%20lockdown%3A%20India%

The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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