Impact of COVID-19 on School Education in India: What are the Budgetary Implications? 2020 - Centre for Budget ...

Page created by Ashley Saunders

        Impact of COVID-19
on School Education in India:
     What are the Budgetary

                     A Policy Brief
This document is for private circulation and is not a priced publication. Reproduction of this publication
for educational and other non-commercial purposes is authorised, without prior written permission,
provided the source is fully acknowledged.
Copyright@2020 Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA) and Child Rights and You

Protiva Kundu and Shivani Sonawane
For further information please contact:

Technical Inputs
Nupur Pande (CRY), Priti Mahara (CRY), Shreya Ghosh (CRY), Happy Pant (CBGA),
Nilachala Acharya (CBGA), Subrat Das (CBGA)

Editorial Inputs
Gita Gupta, Shuchita Rawal (CBGA)

Designed by
Common Sans, 1729, Sector 31, Gurgaon, Haryana

Published by
Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA)
B-7 Extension/110A (Ground Floor), Harsukh Marg,
Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi-110029
Tel: +91-11-49200400/401/402
Child Rights and You (CRY)
632, Lane No.3, Westend Marg, Near Saket Metro Station,
Saiyad-ul-Ajaib, New Delhi-110 030
Tel: +91-11- 2953 3451/52/53
Email :

Financial support for the study:
This study has been carried out with nancial support from CRY.
Views expressed in this policy brief are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the
positions of CBGA and CRY.
Impact of COVID-19 on School Education in India: What are the Budgetary Implications?

Abstract: COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on school education. It has affected a large
number of children across states, class, caste, gender and region. The shutting down of schools and
the decision of shifting traditional classrooms to digital platforms is not only increasing learning
inequality among children, but also pushing a large number of children out of school due to the
digital divide. Other than learning, the absence of schooling would also have a long-lasting effect on
the health and nutrition of children. The role of the budget in the current situation as well as beyond
the pandemic is very crucial to ensure inclusive education for all. This policy brief highlights some of
the issues associated with school closures which need immediate attention. It also suggests some
short-term policy measures that can be implemented in the coming Union and State budgets.
However, the overall direction of allocations should not only be limited to addressing issues arising
from the pandemic but should go beyond. COVID-19 has created an opportunity for governments to
learn valuable policy lessons to deal with such situations and also to revamp the system so that it is
better equipped to deal with them. In this context, the policy brief has also put forward a set of long-term
measures that the government should implement in the due course of time.

                                                                children in the 6-17 year age group are out of
I. Increase in out-of-school children                           school, 31 per cent of whom have never
   (OOSC) during and over the post                              attended any school (NSO, 2019). These
   COVID-19 period                                              gures were higher for rural areas as compared
                                                                to urban areas. The major reasons cited for
•   In India, school closures have affected 320                 being out-of-school are engagement in
    million students (UNESCO, 2020a). However,                  economic activities and participation in
    only 37.6 million children across 16 states are             household chores (NSO, 2019).
    continuing education through various education          •   UNESCO estimates that globally, 23.8 million
    initiatives such as online classrooms and radio             children, adolescents and youth (pre-primary to
    programmes etc. (UNICEF, 2020a). A recent                   tertiary) are at a risk of not returning to care
    survey in West Bengal has found that child                  centres, schools, and universities. Out of these
    labour among school-going children has                      5.95 million are from South and West Asia,
    increased by 105 per cent during the pandemic               which is also the highest compared to other
    (HT, 2020). Another survey by Save the                      regions (UNESCO, 2020b).
    Children during the pandemic reports the
    discontinuation of children's education in 62           Existing policies and budgetary interventions
    per cent of the surveyed households with 67 per         1. The Centre and States together spend 2.9 per
    cent in rural and 55 per cent in urban areas,              cent of GDP on school education, much lower
    respectively (Save the Children, 2020).                    than the four per cent suggested by the Kothari
    Widespread unemployment and income loss                    Commission in 1966 (MHRD, 2019).
    will hinder the ability of households to pay to
    keep students in schools. This impact will be           2. Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SMSA), the key
    greater for poorer households who might face               programme for providing holistic school
    budget constraints. This will cause children to            education from pre-school to the senior
    drop out of schools and be pulled into economic            secondary level, has remained under-funded
    activities to support their parents' in earning.           from its very inception. In 2020-21(BE),
                                                               against a projected demand of Rs. 45,934
•   The situation of dropout rates and out-of-school           crore, the scheme has received an allocation of
    children was already poor even prior to COVID-             Rs. 38,750 crore (CBGA, 2020).
    19. According to NSS 75 Round Household
    Survey 2017-2018, around 3.22 crore                     3. Specic interventions for mainstreaming OOSC

A Policy Brief

      in the 6-14 year age group under Sarva Shiksha                             India with multiple benets such as avoiding
      Abhiyan (now SMSA) have been under-funded                                  c l a s s r o o m h u n g e r, i n c r e a s i n g s c h o o l
      for several years now. The allocation remains                              attendance, and addressing malnutrition.
      less than one per cent of the total elementary
                                                                             •   The CNN1 Survey shows that the prevalence of
      education budget (SMSA Portal, 2020).
                                                                                 stunting is varied by schooling status, with a
4. The allocations for scholarships are not                                      higher percentage of stunting among children
   demand-driven but fund-limited and hence,                                     who were out-of-school, than those going to
   despite a demand for scholarships, the number                                 school (38% vs. 20%); for adolescents, nearly
   of beneciaries availing scholarships is                                      one-quarter (24%) of children aged 10 to 19
   decreasing overtime.                                                          had low BMI (CNNS, 2019).
Policy measures needed                                                       •   As the schools closed across the country, the
                                                                                 school feeding programme could no longer
1. The Government should provide scholarships to
                                                                                 provide the much-needed free lunch to 115.9
   all the beneciaries who have applied and
                                                                                 million children who are enrolled under the
   distribute monetary (direct cash transfer) and
                                                                                 scheme (MDM Portal).
   non-monetary incentives (including textbooks,
   stationary, mobiles, laptops, data package,                               •   Even prior to COVID-19, only 50 per cent rural
   rations etc.) with immediate effect.                                          and 21.4 per cent urban children reported that
                                                                                 a free mid-day meal was provided by the
2. The Government should allocate more
                                                                                 institution (NSO, 2019).
   resources for a survey in identifying out-of-
   school children. The budgetary provision for                              •   A study by IFPRI3 shows that as on May 1,
   mainstreaming out-of-school children under                                    2020, only 15 of the 36 states/UTs had taken
   SMSA needs to be increased substantially at                                   steps to adapt to the MDM scheme (Scott et. al,
   least for the next ve years.                                                 2020); a survey by Save the Children reports
                                                                                 that 39 per cent of households did not receive
3. Budgetary interventions should be made to
                                                                                 MDM during lockdown between April and June
   mainstream out-of-school children in the 15-18
                                                                                 (Save the Children, 2020). A survey by the
   year age group under SMSA.
                                                                                 Population Council in Bihar shows that 29 per
4. The overall budget of SMSA needs to be                                        cent received cash in lieu of cooked food or dry
   increased substantially to compensate the                                     ration (PCI, 2020).
   existing resource crunch in the scheme.
                                                                             Existing policy and budgetary interventions
5. The Government should ensure free public
                                                                             •   In April 2020, the Union HRD Minister
   provisioning of secondary education (IX-XII
                                                                                 announced that in the wake of COVID-19, the
   standard) and extend the RTE Act to cover
                                                                                 annual central allocation of cooking cost (for
   children in the 15-18 year age group.
                                                                                 procurement of pulses, vegetable, oil, spices
                                                                                 and fuel) under MDM has been enhanced to Rs.
II. Disruption in school meal services                                           8,100 crore from Rs. 7,300 crore (an
    affecting nutrition of children                                              increment of 10.99%) (PIB, 2020a).
    between 6-17 years of age                                                •   In a recent order, MHRD has asked states/UTs to
                                                                                 provide pulses, oil etc. (equivalent to cooking
•     The Mid Day Meal (MDM) is a signicant part of                             cost) along with food grains as Food Security
      the diet of Indian children. It is one of the most                         Allowance (FSA) to eligible children instead of
      important interventions of the Government of

  Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey
  BMI stands for Body Mass Index. BMI for-age is used to assess underweight.
  International Food Policy Research Institute

Impact of COVID-19 on School Education in India: What are the Budgetary Implications?

      transferring the cooking cost to children / their
      parent's bank accounts (MDM Portal).                                  III. Online education reinforcing digital
                                                                                 divide and learning inequality
•     Many state governments have reported that
      they were not getting the funds needed for
                                                                            •   Due to the closure of schools to ensure the
      providing MDM in government schools from the
                                                                                health safety of children, teaching has moved to
      Centre. However, a number of States have taken
                                                                                digital platforms either through online teaching
      policy and budgetary initiatives at their
                                                                                methods, government portals, Direct-to-Home
      respective levels. Some of the State                                      (DTH) channels and others. However, remote-
      interventions (EPIB, 2020) are as follows:                                learning is a challenge for many students in
      Bihar – Transferring money to bank accounts of                            India given the vast differences in access to
      parents via direct benet transfer                                        basic digital infrastructure, including electricity,
                                                                                devices like smartphones and computers, and
      Kerala – Home delivery of meal supplies                                   internet connectivity.
      Karnataka – Delivery of food grains for 21 days                       •   While almost 99.9 per cent of homes in India
      Haryana – Delivery of mid-day meal rations and                            have a power connection, the quality of
      provision of cooking cost to eligible students                            electricity supply is very poor, especially in rural
                                                                                India. Only 47 per cent of rural households
      Maharashtra – Delivery of mid-day meal grains
                                                                                receive electricity for more than 12 hours
      to students from rural schools                                            (Kundu, 2020a)
Policy measures needed                                                      •   While 24 per cent Indians own a smartphone,
•     The Government needs to devise new ways to                                only 11 per cent of households possess any
      deliver meals while schools are closed; Take                              form of computer4 and just 24 per cent of Indian
      Home Ration (THR) should be fortied with                                 households have an internet facility (MOSPI ,
      eggs, milk, nutrient-rich vegetables, fruits, etc.                        2019). Unfortunately, only eight per cent of
      to enhance diet quality (Tasneem, 2020).                                  households with children in the 5-24 year age
                                                                                group have both a computer and an internet
•     The National Education Policy (NEP), 2020 has                             connection (Kundu, 2020a).
      recommended that provisions be made for
      serving breakfast along with the mid-day meals                        •   Further, there is also a huge variation between
      to improve foundational learning (MHRD,                                   rural and urban India. Only 4.4 per cent of
      2020a). In order to effectively implement these                           households in rural India have a computer as
      recommendations and also devise appropriate                               compared to 23.4 per cent in urban India; only
      delivery mechanisms with added items such as                              15 per cent of households in rural India have an
      THR, the Government will have to signicantly                             internet facility as compared to 42 per cent in
      increase the budget for MDM in the current and                            urban India (MOSPI, 2019).
      forthcoming nancial years.                                           •   Moreover, as per the IMRB6 report, there is a rise
•     There is a need to increase the coverage of MDM                           in the proportion of data expenditure in
      till the secondary level as also to extend the                            comparison to voice expenditure for most users
      breakfast scheme to this level. This would                                in the last four years. Between 2013 and 2017,
                                                                                the ratio of Data: Voice expenditure went from
      demand the allocation of more funds under the
                                                                                45:55 to 84:16 (IMRB, 2017). Having online
      scheme in the upcoming Union and State
                                                                                classes on a regular basis has a cost implication
                                                                                as students have to bear the cost of internet
  Here, a computer included devices like, desktop computer, laptop computer, notebook, netbook, palmtop,
and tablet (or similar handheld devices).
  Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation
  Indian Market Research Bureau

A Policy Brief

•     While the internet has played an instrumental                            WhatsApp groups were created
      role in the continuation of education and
                                                                               v. Haryana: Ghar Se Padhao Abhiyan–made
      learning, it has also given way to multiple cyber
                                                                               use of WhatsApp, phone, and SMS
      related crimes, such as hacking and cyber
      bullying and also exposed children to explicit                           vi.Bihar: Unnayan–'Mera Mobile Mera
      and violent content, which can provoke, corrupt                          Vidyalaya' –a mobile application
      and inuence young minds.                                            •   In the last few years, the Government of India as
Existing policies and budgetary interventions                                  well as a number of States have shown an
                                                                               inclination towards digital education. However,
•     Recently, the Union Government has launched                              there was not enough spending on improving
      the PM e-Vidya Programme to unify all efforts                            the digital infrastructure. In fact, the MHRD
      related to digital/online/on-air education to                            budget for digital e-learning reduced from Rs.
      enable equitable multi-mode access to                                    604 crore in 2019-20 (BE) to Rs. 469 crore in
      education. It is envisaged that this will benet                         2020-21(BE) (Kundu, 2020a).
      nearly 25 crore school-going children across the
      country (MHRD, 2020b).                                               Policy measures needed
                                                                           •   The Government should ensure that no children
•     The major interventions under this programme
                                                                               are left behind in education. Hence, as an
      are: The National Knowledge Network, the
                                                                               immediate measure, steps should be taken to
      National Mission on Education through
                                                                               distribute text books, and make provision for the
      Information and Communication Technology
                                                                               supply of free smartphones/laptops/tablets to
      (NME-ICT), Swayam Prabha, Diksha Portal,
                                                                               all school children.
      Bharat Padhe Online campaign and VidyaDaan
      2.0. The Government of India is also making                          •   To avail of online classes, states should provide
      use of All India Radio and Doordarshan to                                a free data package or reimburse the cost of
      continue teaching (MHRD, 2020b).                                         data.
•     Some of the initiatives taken by State                               •   The pandemic exposed the poor digital
      governments (MHRD, 2020b) to enable easy                                 infrastructure of India and also showed the need
      access to digital education are:                                         for a blended education system.8 Therefore,
                                                                               substantial investment is required to strengthen
      i. Andhra Pradesh: Abhyasa - a self- learning
                                                                               this infrastructure, including a regular supply of
      app with e-content and video lectures
                                                                               electricity to all households.
      ii. Kerala: Digitalisation of all school textbooks                   •   The NEP, 2020 acknowledges the need to
      and provision of 57,843 laptops and 25,011                               bridge the digital divide and proposes creating a
      projectors at different schools                                          digital infrastructure. A clear roadmap with
      'Avadikaala Santhoshangal' (Happy Holidays),                             timelines needs to be developed to ensure that it
      'Akshara Vriksham' (Tree of Letters), and KITE7                          is inclusive.
      Victers TV Channel - learning through creative
      writing, stories, poems, and mathematical                            IV. Children lose out on early childhood
                                                                               care and education (ECCE)
      iii. West Bengal: Use of TV Channels, WhatsApp
      and phone calls for doubt clearing sessions                          •   In India, the ECCE services are largely provided
      iv. Rajasthan: SMILE (Social Media Interface for                         through the Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) under
      Learning Engagement) where 20,000                                        the Integrated Child Development Services

  Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE) is a state-owned special purpose company under education department of the
Government of Kerala
  A combination of traditional classroom and online education, but online education can be an alternative not substitute of classroom education.

Impact of COVID-19 on School Education in India: What are the Budgetary Implications?

        (ICDS) scheme. In 2019, there were 30 million                    •   The Anganwadi workers (AWWs) are now
        children (3-6 years) who were beneciaries of                        additionally burdened with COVID-19 duty as
        this scheme in 1.37 million operational AWCs                         also the delivery of rations to households in
        (MWCD, 2020). Therefore, it is highly likely                         various states. They are going door-to-door,
        that the disruption of ICDS services due to the                      recording people's travel history, noting u
        lockdown during COVID-19 would have had                              symptoms and, where needed, even helping
        huge consequences on the health, nutrition,                          trace contacts (World Bank, 2020). Hence,
        and learning of these children.                                      they no longer have the time to address the
                                                                             educational requirements of children.
•       Not only early learning, pre-schools play a
        crucial role in laying the foundation of a proper                Existing policies and budgetary intervention
        psychological, physical and social development
                                                                         •   The pre-school component in ICDS has received
        of a child. The closure of schools and other
                                                                             relatively less attention as compared to
        institutions that provide early childhood care
                                                                             supplementary nutrition.
        and education continues to pose an immense
        threat to their holistic development potential.                  •   The requirement for professional training of pre-
                                                                             school teachers is not always there, due to the
•       There is also a growing need to focus on the
                                                                             absence of any regulatory requirement for
        mental health and the psychological needs of a
                                                                             training. Some States, particularly in the north
        child during this pandemic. It is highly probable
                                                                             and north east, have almost no access to any
        that economic hardships stemming from the
                                                                             pre-primary teacher education institutes at all
        loss of employment and income will have an
                                                                             (CECED9, 2015).
        adverse effect on their mental health. Children
        facing acute deprivation in nutrition, protection                •   In light of COVID, the Ministry of Women and
        or stimulation, or periods of prolonged exposure                     Child Development (MWCD) has conducted a
        to toxic stress are likely to develop lifelong                       nationwide online interactive training for
        challenges as their neurological development is                      Anganwadi workers.
        impaired (CRY, 2020).                                            •   Many of the State governments have launched
•       India already has the largest number of                              schemes to provide benets to Anganwadi
        malnourished children. The National Family                           workers and Anganwadi helpers. For example,
        Health Survey - 4 reports that the national                          the Uttarakhand government has announced a
        prevalence of under-ve stunting is 38.4 per                         life insurance of Rs. four lakh and Madhya
        cent and under-ve wasting prevalence stands                         Pradesh government, an insurance worth Rs.
        at 21 per cent (NFHS-IV, 2015-16). The                               50 lakh (KPMG, 2020).
        recently released Global Nutrition Report, 2020                  •   The Odisha government in partnership with
        shows that in India, the national prevalence of                      UNICEF has started 'Ghare Ghare Arunima', a
        under-ve stunting is 37.9 per cent, which is                        home-based curriculum for children who are
        greater than the developing country average of                       enrolled in Anganwadi centres that are closed
        25 per cent; under-ve wasting prevalence of                         due to COVID-19. This programme lays
        20.8 per cent is also greater than the                               emphasis on reaching out to parents with a
        developing country average of 8.9 per cent                           focus on keeping the children engaged in a host
        (Global Nutrition Report, 2020). According to a                      of meaningful calendar activities that will
        Lancet study, due to reductions in routine health                    keep them stimulated and improve their
        service coverage levels, disruption in live saving                   psychological well-being. The Anganwadi
        immunisation activities and an increase in child                     workers share the activities with the parents
        wasting, up to 300,000 children could die in                         either digitally or through printed copies
        India alone in the next six months (UNICEF,                          (Outlook India, 2020).
    Centre for Early Childhood Education and Development

A Policy Brief

•        The Chhattisgarh government (Department of                           consider the nancial and opportunity costs of
         Women and Child Development) and UNICEF                              educating their daughters.
         have started 'Chakmak Abhiyan' and 'Sajag
                                                                          •   Plan International and UNESCO warn that the
         Abhiyan' for the all-round development of
                                                                              increased drop-out rates will disproportionately
         children. In this programme children are given
                                                                              affect adolescent girls (UNESCO, 2020). This
         fun-learning activities to be performed with
                                                                              will further entrench gender gaps in education
         their parents, grandparents and guardians at
                                                                              and lead to an increased risk of sexual
         home (India Education Diary, 2020).
                                                                              exploitation, early pregnancy and early and
•        In a few States, such as Chhattisgarh and                            forced marriage. India has the largest number of
         Maharashtra, AWWs have been involved in the                          child brides in the world – accounting for a third
         home delivery of cooked food to children                             of the global total. It is estimated that each year,
         (Madan & Madan, 2020).                                               at least 1.5 million girls under 18 get married in
                                                                              India (UNICEF website).
Policy measures needed
                                                                          •   Schools play an important role in preventing
•        Until AWCs reopen, systems need to be
                                                                              and responding to violence and exploitation.
         developed for the doorstep deliver y of
                                                                              School closures mean that children, particularly
         supplementary nutrition in the form of cooked
                                                                              girls, experiencing violence have fewer
         food or THR to young children.
                                                                              opportunities to seek support and access
•        Immediate interventions need to be taken to                          services.
         ensure early childhood education during the
                                                                          •   Girls in India already struggle to access and
         closure of AWCs.
                                                                              complete their school education. U-DISE10
•        The Government should adequately invest on                           Flash Statistics for 2016-17 show that
         the pre-school component of the ICDS                                 adolescent girls are more likely to dropout from
         programme. States also need to plan and                              secondary education (19.8%) than primary
         budget for this under SMSA.                                          education (6.3%) and this gure is higher for
•        There is a need to prioritise the training of                        government schools (26.8%) (NIEPA11, 2017).
         AWWs for providing pre-school education.                             The Malala Fund estimates that 10 million more
                                                                              secondary school age girls could be out of
•        The Government should ensure a free                                  school after the COVID-19 crisis has passed
         provisioning of quality ECCE services to all                         and a substantial number of these children will
         children and this should be brought under the                        be from developing countries like India (Malala
         ambit of RTE.                                                        Fund, 2020).
                                                                          •   It is also found that the completion rate at
V. Probability of an increase in gender                                       secondary stage for girls in 2016-17 was 65.8
   disparity in education                                                     per cent, a decrease from the previous years,
                                                                              2015-16 (72.9%) and 2014-15 (81.1%)
•        The school closures due to the COVID-19                              (NIEPA, 2017). As per the National Sample
         pandemic could lead to a million more girls and                      Survey (NSS) 30.2 per cent girls reported that
         transgender children dropping out before they                        they discontinued education due to their
         complete their education. This particularly                          engagement in domestic activities. This was
         holds true for children living in poverty, those                     higher in rural (31.9%) than urban (26.7%)
         with a disability or the ones living in rural                        areas (MOSPI, 2019). Due to the lockdown and
         isolated places. Economic hardships caused by                        economic recessions in households, it is likely
         the crisis will have spill-over effects as families                  that household responsibilities on girls will

     Unied District Information System for Education
     National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration

Impact of COVID-19 on School Education in India: What are the Budgetary Implications?

         increase and even those enrolled in schools will                 continued gender-sensitive learning
         dropout.                                                         approaches in the education response to
•        The gender divide in access and ability to use
         digital infrastructure is also stark. Only 33 per            •   The Government should prioritise the
         cent women had access to internet, while this                    distribution of learning materials, accessible
         gure is 67 per cent for men. This disparity is                  and inclusive for all children; particularly
         more prominent in rural India where 72 per cent                  disabled girls and girls without access to
         men and only 28 per cent women had access to                     devices and internet.
         internet (Kundu, 2020a). Thus, girls are more
                                                                      •   Response and recovery planning must target
         likely to miss out on online education and this
                                                                          girls in particular to advance gender equality in
         will lead to an increase in learning gaps.
Existing policies and budgetary interventions
                                                                      •   Appropriate training methods and approaches
•        The lack of a nearby secondary school is an                      should be conducted for teachers, parents, and
         important factor for girls' dropping out at the                  communities to train and prepare them to
         elementary level. To improve the retention of                    respond appropriately to the increased threat of
         girls at the secondary level, there is new                       sexual and gender based-violence and child
         intervention under SMSA for the expansion of                     marriage. This should include training or
         the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV)                      awareness-raising to identify and support at-
         from class VIII to XII. However, it is noteworthy                risk girls and boys. An adequate budget should
         that per girl spending in KGBVs, which are also                  be allocated for the purpose.
         the government-run residential schools for
                                                                      •   Governments must ensure that gender-
         disadvantaged girls spent around Rs. 13,604
                                                                          responsive education budgeting is enforced to
         per annum; in contrast, Jawahar Navodaya
                                                                          reduce girls' absenteeism and dropping out.
         Vidyalaya (JNV), the model residential school of
         the Union government, the spending was
         around Rs. 85,000 (Jha, 2015).                         VI. Disproportionate impact of school
•        The pattern of resource allocation in girl-specic
                                                                          closures on marginalised children
         interventions across different components of
         SMSA shows that in most states, residential                  •   Even though remote learning strategies aim to
         schools and RTE entitlements for free uniforms                   ensure the continued learning for all children, it
         top the charts as key areas of investments to                    is well known that the most marginalised
         promote girls' education. However, other critical                children may not be able to access these
         interventions, like the safety and security of                   opportunities. These include those with
         girls, recruitment of female teachers, or gender-                disabilities, those from ethnic minorities,
         sensitisation training for teachers, are either                  children on the move (migrant, refugee and
         sparsely allocated or have no allocation at all                  internally displaced children), and the ones that
         (Kundu, 2019).                                                   are in the most rural hard-to-reach and poorest
                                                                          communities. The dropout rates among
Policy measures needed                                                    children from the Scheduled Castes (SCs)/
•        The Government should collect gender-                            Scheduled Tribes (STs)/ Other Backward
         disaggregated data to understand the differing                   Classes (OBCs) is high, especially for secondary
         impacts of COVID-19 for appropriate policy                       education. While the dropout rate at this level is
         action. A pan-India survey should be conducted                   15.6 per cent for the general category, it is 22.5
         at the earliest.                                                 per cent, 26.9 per cent and 20.04 per cent for
                                                                          SCs, STs and OBCs, respectively (MOSPI,
•        There is a need to include low-tech, free and                    2016)
     State Disability Information and Resource Centre

A Policy Brief

•        A survey by the Swabhiman 12 organisation                      not budget adequately for the construction of
         reported that about 43 per cent of children with               ramps and disabled friendly toilets in schools.
         disabilities are planning to drop out of studies               (NIEPA, 2017).
         due to difculties faced by them in online
                                                                    •   There is currently no pre-service training offered
         education; while 77 per cent of surveyed
                                                                        to regular teachers which prepares them for
         students shared concerns that they would fall
                                                                        inclusive classroom teaching and there is a
         behind in learning due to their inability to access
                                                                        dearth of special educators in schools.
         distance learning methods (Swabhiman,
         2020).                                                     Policy measures needed
•        The Right to Education Act 2009 - Section 12               •   The Government should make an upward
         (1)(c), mandates that all private schools reserve              revision of scholarship amounts for
         25 per cent of their seats for children belonging              marginalised children and it should be demand-
         to socially disadvantaged and economically                     driven and universalised.
         weaker sections. However, due to the pandemic
                                                                    •   Inclusive learning solutions to be developed,
         the admission of children from economically
         disadvantaged families in private schools has                  especially for the most vulnerable and
         been disrupted. Moreover, children who have                    marginalised sections of the society.
         completed elementary education and entered                     Governments must ensure accelerated learning
         Class IX in this academic session are facing the               and catch-up courses to help address the
         risk of being dropped as private schools are                   interrupted learning of the most marginalised
         charging exorbitant fees as RTE is not                         children, and girls in particular.
         applicable after the elementary level.                     •   Policy changes are required to ensure that
Existing policies and budgetary interventions                           children are supported by suitable curriculum in
                                                                        alternate formats appropriate for them,
•        Governments provide nancial assistance to                     alongwith necessary devices to make online
         students of Class IX-X from the SC, ST and OBC                 learning feasible. This requires substantial
         category. The pre-matric scholarships are                      resource allocation from both Union and State
         'Funds-Limited', which means it depends on the                 governments.
         budget and is not driven by demand. The
         allocated budget under the scheme is                       •   The States should recruit special educators on a
         continuously decreasing for SCs and STs and is                 priority basis and budgetary allocation should
         stagnant or marginally increased for OBC                       be made exclusively for the purpose.
         children. The number of students availing the              •   The States should adhere to the Rights of
         scholarships has also reduced from 24 lakh in                  Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 in
         2015-16 to 22 lakh in 2017-18 (Kundu,                          implementing the system of teaching and
                                                                        learning to meet the needs of students with
•        SMSA provides Rs. 3,500 per child per annum                    different types of disabilities.
         for interventions related to the education of
                                                                    •   An overall focus on equity and inclusion in
         CWSN 1 3 . The provision for home-based
                                                                        policy making and investment would help in
         education covering children with severe/
                                                                        rebuilding systemic resilience.
         multiple disabilities under the scheme has also
         been extended for children till class XII. Rs.
         9.22 crore was allocated under this head                   VII. Teaching becomes more
         (SMSA Portal, 2019).                                           challenging during school closures
•        However, not a single state is compliant with
         disabled-friendly infrastructure norms. They do            •   Distance learning has affected the teachers
                                                                        since most of them are teaching remotely for the
     Children with Special Needs

Impact of COVID-19 on School Education in India: What are the Budgetary Implications?

      rst time, and have limited or no training to do                          support to students, teachers and families to
      so. Hence, the quality of teaching is likely to be                        address issues related to mental health and
      affected.                                                                 emotional wellbeing. It also provides tips for
                                                                                teachers and families to provide support to
•     A survey by ASSOCHAM14 and Primus Partners
                                                                                children (Manodarpan Portal, 2020).
      shows that only 17 per cent of teachers in
      government schools reported that they were                            •   With online teaching becoming the norm due to
      trained to conduct online classes; in private                             the lockdown, the State of Kerala trained
      schools, this gure stood at 43.8 per cent                                81,000 primary teachers in 11,274 schools
      (ASSOCHAM, 2020)                                                          across the state. The training was conducted by
                                                                                the Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for
•     India already faces a shortage of qualied
                                                                                Education (KITE) establishment; KITE also
      teachers. About 14.6 per cent teachers in
                                                                                rolled out KOOL, an e-learning platform for
      government schools, 9.7 per cent in
                                                                                teachers by the Kerala government, which has
      government aided schools, 25.4 per cent in
                                                                                benetted 12,000 teachers (Edex Live, 2020).
      private unaided schools and 58.7 per cent in
      other15 school categories did not have any                            Policy measures needed
      professional qualications (NIEPA, 2017).
                                                                            •   As a COVID response to education, the
•     Along with online classes, teachers are also                              Government should take measures to support
      burdened with COVID duty and this has severely                            the well-being, payment and retention of
      impacted their health and well-being.                                     teachers.
•     Many teachers, especially those in low fee                            •   Teachers play a critical role in providing psycho-
      private schools as also contractual teachers in                           social support and in promoting the social and
      government schools are going through a period                             emotional learning of children. As part of the
      of economic uncertainty; many of them are                                 COVID-19 education response, governments
      experiencing irregular salaries, salary cuts or                           must provide training and support to teachers
      even job loss due to the pandemic.                                        that go beyond academics.
Existing policies and budgetary interventions                               •   All teachers have a crucial role to play in post-
                                                                                crisis recovery after schools reopen. The
•     To ensure a holistic school education, both pre-
                                                                                National Council of Educational Research and
      service and in-service teachers' trainings have
                                                                                Training (NCERT), has recently submitted the
      been brought under the ambit of SMSA from
                                                                                draft guidelines on reopening of schools to the
      2018-19. However, only two per cent of the
                                                                                Ministry of Education. It is hoped that the
      SMSA budget is being allocated for teachers'
                                                                                process of its development has involved
      education (CBGA, 2020).
                                                                                teachers and included their perceptions. If not,
•     MHRD and NCERT are building capacities of                                 they must be included in the nalisation of the
      teachers and school heads at the elementary                               guidelines and any other educational policy-
      level across the country through NISHTHA.                                 making and planning to ensure the safe return of
      The platform has been customised for providing                            students to school in future.
      online mode training to the existing 24 lakh
                                                                            •   Under SMSA, States should demand a planned
      untrained teachers and school heads (PIB,
                                                                                budget for sensitisation and special training for
                                                                                strengthening female teachers.
•     The 'Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan' launched the
                                                                            •   An online teachers' training won't equip the
      'Manodarpan' initiative to provide psychosocial
                                                                                teachers with every aspect of quality teaching.

   Associated Chambers of Commerce of India
   Others refer to unrecognised private schools and madrasas
   National Initiative for School Heads' and Teachers' Holistic Advancement (NISHTHA)

A Policy Brief

         The Government should work on strengthening                          period. However, as per DISE 2016-17, there is
         teachers' training institutions for physical pre-                    just one non-teaching staff for serving 312
         service teachers' education. It should also                          students in school.
         increase the number of days for training and the
                                                                          Existing policies and budgetary interventions
         unit cost of in-service teachers' training to make
         the process more meaningful.                                     •   Due to a limited resource envelope for school
                                                                              education, the states are not recruiting regular
                                                                              cadre teachers and non-teaching staff for an
VIII. Inadequate infrastructure facilities                                    extended period of time.
    to maintain physical distancing in
                                                                          •   Because of a low schedule rate for civil works,
                                                                              most of the time states surrender the money for
                                                                              this without spending on infrastructure
•        As schools in India prepare to reopen,
         maintaining physical distancing norms requires
         some basic school infrastructure to be in place.                 •   At present, in many schools there is a lack of
         As per the DISE statistics, 53,533 schools in                        appropriate design for WASH facilities (lack of
         India are single classroom schools. In 19 per                        disabled-friendly toilets) and a dearth of
         cent schools, the student classroom ratio (SCR)                      facilities for menstrual hygiene management for
         is 35 and above and in 8.3 per cent schools,                         students as well as teachers.
         i.e., around 1.3 lakh schools, more than 50
                                                                          Policy measures needed
         students sit in one classroom (NIEPA17, 2017).
                                                                          •   Implementing physical distancing norms in
•        Clean and proper WASH facilities are a key
                                                                              schools requires substantial investment for
         prerequisite for schools to reopen safely in the
                                                                              infrastructure. This includes, lling the vacant
         midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. However,
                                                                              posts of teachers, their trainings and the
         only 52 per cent schools have overall WASH
                                                                              recruitment of non-teaching staff.
         facilities, i.e., drinking water, functional toilets
         and hand wash facility altogether; only 13 per                   •   There is an immediate need of an upward
         cent schools in India are compliant to all RTE                       revision of the schedule rate of civil works, for
         norms (NIEPA, 2017).                                                 which an adequate budgetary allocation should
                                                                              be made.
•        The hygiene of teachers is also very crucial. At
         present, around six lakh teachers who are above                  •   The maintenance of infrastructure and WASH
         55 years are serving the school education                            facilities in schools and Anganwadi centres
         system. As per the emerging disease pattern,                         should become an important part of the
         they are also more vulnerable to COVID-19. But                       education budget to ensure the smooth
         the majority of schools have a single staff room                     functioning of ongoing services.
         for all teaching and non-teaching staff (Kundu,                  •   While WASH sector priorities are listed in the
         2020c). A study by WaterAid revealed that in                         15th Finance Commission grants to the
         States like Telangana, Odisha, Karnataka, only                       Panchayati Raj Institutions, it is important that
         28 per cent schools have separate toilets for                        these guidelines cover WASH services at
         teachers (Water Aid, 2016).                                          schools and Aanganwadi centres, especially in
•        The reopening of schools requires the non-                           the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
         teaching support staff to attend to pending
         administrative and nancial work, which has
         been at a standstill due to the long shut down

     National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration

Impact of COVID-19 on School Education in India: What are the Budgetary Implications?

Reference:                                                       Kundu, Protiva (2019): "Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan
                                                                 (SMSA) from the Girls' Education Lens: An Initial
ASSOCHAM (2020): Digitilisation of Education: A                  Analysis", a report by CBGA and Room to Read.
Readiness Survey;                                      les/Online%20Readine               content/uploads/2019/04/SMSA-from-the-Girls-
ss%20for%20Students%20and%20Teachers%20Repor                     Education-Lens-An-Initial-Analysis.pdf
                                                                 Kundu, Protiva (2020a): "Indian education can't go
Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability                  online - only 8% of homes with young members have
(2020) : Decoding the Priorities- An Analysis of Union           computer with net link", The Scroll, 5th May;
Budget 2020-21;           
content/uploads/2020/02/Decoding-the-Priorities-An-              go-online-only-8-of-homes-with-school-children-have-
Analysis-of-Union-Budget-2020-21-2.pdf                           computer-with-net-link
Centre for Early Childhood Education and Development             Kundu, Protiva (2020b): "Shrinking Education Budget
(CECED) (2015): "Early Childhood Education in India:             Has Hit Scholarships For Students From Deprived
A Snapshot";                                Communities", IndiaSpend;
Child Rights & You (CRY) (2020): "Covid-19 and its               budget-has-hit-scholarships-for-students-from-deprived-
impact on children", Policy Brief;                               communities/                     Kundu, Protiva (2020c): "Is Social Distancing Feasible
08/COVID-19-Its-Impact-on-Children.pdf                           for a Majority of Schools in India?", The Wire, 29th
EdexLive (2020): "Coronavirus impact: Kerala to train            May;
81,000 primary teachers online through focused                   lockdown
intervention in 11,274 schools";                                 Madan, Aditi, A. Madan (2020): "Need to revisit              Anganwadi workers"
online-10673.html                                                anganwadi-workers-66370/
Global Nutrition Report (2020): Country Overview;                Malala Fund (2020): "Malala Fund releases report onles/3.0.3/pdf        girls' education and COVID-19",
Hindustan Times (HT) (2020): " Child labour among
school going children increased in lockdown period in            Ministry of Health and Family Welfare: National Family
West Bengal", 29th August;                                       Health Survey (NFHS-4) 2015-16 - India Factsheet        
labour-among-school-going-children-increased-in-                 Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW),
lockdown-period-in-west-bengal/story-                            Government of India, UNICEF and Population Council
c6KxomHlk3FOOba1Ehf0yH.html                                      (2019) Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey
India Education Diary (2020): "Chhattisgarh Chief                (CNNS), National Report. New Delhi;
Minister inaugurates 'Chakmak Abhiyan' and 'Sajag      
Abhiyan' online for all-round development of                     571201348.pdf
aanganbadi students";                                            Ministry of Human Resource Development               (MHRD)(2019): Analysis of Budgeted Expenditure on
minister-inaugurates-chakmak-abhiyan-and-sajag-                  Education, 2014 to 2017, Higher Education
abhiyan-online-for-all-round-development-of-                     Department.
                                                                 Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD)
Jha, Jyotsna; Menon, Geeta; Minni, Puja; Priya,                  (2020a): National Education Policy, 2020
Shanmuga (2015). "Residential Schooling Strategies:
                                                                 Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD)
Impact on Girls' Education and Empowerment", Centre
                                                                 (2020b):India Report Digital Education;
for Budget and Policy Studies (CBPS), Bangalore, and
IPE-Global, India, February
Kantar IMRB (2017): "Mobile Internet Report", IAMAI             Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation
-e571-4cfe-9f8b-86435a12ed17.pdf                                 (MOSPI) (2016): Disabled Persons in India: A
                                                                 statistical prole 2016)
KPMG (2020): "Response to COVID-19 by the
Anganwadi Eco-System in India";

A Policy Brief

Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation               May 2020
(MOSPI) (2019) : "Key Indicators of Household Social              https://57e7b526-0150-
Consumption on Education in India 2017-18", NSS                   4fbcb3e50f9fa1536427.
75th Round;                                                       f48729fb0413b858bf7aec73934b0.pdfles/NSS75252E/             Tasneem, Rahat (2020): "Nutrition should not be
KI_Education_75th_Final.pdf                                       forgotten in the face of pandemic", CBGA;
Ministry of Women and Child Development                 
(MWCD)(2020): Annual Report 2019-20.                              face-pandemic/
National Institute of Educational Planning and                    UNESCO (2020a): Global Monitoring of School
Administration (2017): "School Education in India, U-             Closures Caused by COVID- 19;accessed as on 25th
DISE Flash statistics-2016-17";                                   August 2020;   
h_Statistics_on_School_Education-2016-17.pdf                      UNESCO (2020b): "How many students are at risk of
National Statistical Ofce (NSO) (2019): Unit level data          not returning to school?", Advocacy Paper, 30th July;
on NSS 75th Round for Schedule- 25.2, (July 2017 -      
June 2018), Social Consumption:                                   /PDF/373992eng.pdf.multi
Education;les/publicati        UNESCO (2020): "Covid-19 school closures around the
on_reports/KI_Education_75th_Final.pdf                            world will hit girls hardest"
Outlook India (2020): "Odisha Govt, UNICEF join         
hands to keep children busy during lockdown";                     around-world-will-hit-girls-hardest              UNICEF (2020b):"Urgent Action needed to safeguard
unicef-join-hands-to-keep-children-busy-during-                   futures of 600 million South Asian children threatened
lockdown/1810417                                                  by COVID-19", Press Release; 23rd
Population Council Institute (PCI) (2020): Awareness of           June;
and receiving social protection measures during Covid-            action-needed-safeguard-futures-600-million-south-
19 lockdown in Bihar,                                             asian-children-threatened
India;                         UNICEF Website: "End child marriage: India has the
content/uploads/2020/07/3.-COVID-19-Study-Results-                largest number of brides in the world-one-third of the
Social-Protection.pdf                                             global";
Press Information Bureau (PIB) (2020a): 10.99%                    child-marriage
increase in annual central allocation of cooking cost             UNICEF (2020a): "UNICEF India COVID-19 Situation
under MDM Scheme to Rs. 8100 Crore in view of                     Report No.4,1 -31 July 2020",
situation arising out of COVID-19; MHRD;                              covid-19-situation-report-no4
                                                                  World Bank (2020): "India: The Dual Battel Against
Press Information Bureau (PIB) (2020b): For training              Undernutrition and Covid-19 (Coronavirus)", Feature
the remaining 24 lakh teachers and school heads,                  Story, April 27
NISHTHA has been customized for online mode ",          
MHRDles/mhrd/               7/covid19-coronavirus-india-response-health-
les/PR_NISHTHA_0.pdf                                             undernutrition-anganwadi-workers-healthcare
Save the Children (2020): Rights of Vulnerable Families
and Children under COVID-19: Implications for                     Websites:
Effective Response and Mitigation Strategies;                     Manodarpan Portal:
pdf/rights_of_vulnerable_families_and_children_of_india           MDM Portal:; as
_under_covid_240720f.pdf                                          accessed on 25th August, 2020

Scott, Samuel, P. Menon, S. Yunus, and B. Parajuli                Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SMSA) Portal (2019);
(2020). "Nourishing Children and Adolescents in India:  
How is India's mega school meal program coping with               e%20provision%20for%20home%20based,with%20an
COVID-19", International Food Policy Research                     %20outlay%20of%20Rs.
Institute, India, June;                                           SMSA Portal (2020): Minutes of meeting of Project               Approval Board for Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan;
children-and-adolescents-in-india-how-is-indias-mega-   ;as accessed on
school-meal-program-coping-with-covid-19/                         20th August, 2020
Swabhiman(2020):Covid-19 Response Report, March-

CRY – Child Rights and You                   Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability
632, Lane No.3, Westend Marg, Near Saket Metro Station,      B-7 Extn/110A (Ground Floor) Harsukh Marg,
         Saiyad-ul-Ajaib, New Delhi - 110 030               Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi - 110029, India
            Tel: +91-11- 2953 3451/52/53                          Tel: +91-11-49200400/401/402
            Email :                          Email:
You can also read