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Covid-19 and school children:

Those who are rich may get off with less to lose with prolonged school closures. They have access to adequate private tuitions, good healthy food and comfortable living with access to gyms at home.Surely they too will miss the opportunities of physical nearness with their peers and teachers. The group activities and hours were of playing together, missing the favourite surroundings too.

Now let us turn our attention to children from middle class families.

Parents are not good substitutes for teaching the classroom curriculum, nor trained to spot and rectify errors in learning processes.They have their own stresses with respect to the lockdowns, restraints on movements, job losses and salary cuts staring at them and slowing them down financially. The children will be with a lot of free unstructured time. A big chunk for mobile games, chats, and delay in assignments and lack of competitive motivation. Add to it the anxiety and fear of the unseen virus and in what manner and when normalcy will return. No answers to that adds to more anxiety and fears. This learned helplessness can lead to isolation and more negative thoughts.

Finally the poorest in the society.

They need maximum help. Rampant unemployment, poverty, lack of social financial and food support will hamper their physical and mental growth. The worst case scenario is they will drop out from schools to support the meagre income of their hard pressed families. It indeed would be a huge loss to their future without proper education and low paid manual jobs.

There should be a concerted attempt to plan and support their way back to school with existing day time meals as well as some financial support for attending their schools. Helping the parents to ease the financial burden so that their children can complete their schooling.

The government along with NGO’s and philanthropists and huge public goodwill can start such initiatives.

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