With the dissemination of SARS 2019 Novel Covid across the globe, the close vicinity of 1.5 billion novice learners is denied in-person education and presently relies upon remote learning. The catastrophe exacerbated massive pre-COVID-19 education, ponderously jolted the education precinct, towering monumental constraints and stipulation leading to the temporarily shutting down of academic establishments. With social distancing coming into utmost foreplay, education and empowerment of the masses have taken the backseat. The fear of losing semesters, classes, and board examinations has taken a mental toll on some, while families coming from marginalized sections have to choose between their basic sustenance to survival to digital literacy mode. Closure of learning spaces has called for UN agencies, government, and other stakeholders to pursue policy responses that align with the bedrock of just, equal and peaceful schooling, the nodal indicator of the progress of all SDGs. Demarcating the Pampas region in the south, bordering five other countries, Argentina had shut down academies for more than seven months. A survey conducted by UNICEF and the Ministry of Education accounted for nearly 1.3 million children having minimal or no communication with their educators during quarantine. The households with children, having access to good quality Internet or a computer available for educational purposes are mostly well off or are urban-centric. With an upsurge in the number of drop-outs,gender-biased crimes like sexual exploitation, child trafficking, child labour, child marriage have recorded a massive influx over the past months as most economically challenged families are dependent on school-feeding programs. A recent study showcased that girls are prone to a gender digital divide that barred them from distance learning programs, causing the second-highest decline in school enrollment in the region. The UNESCO Institute of Statistics (Ibid. 2020a) accords 3.1 million secondary and nearly 14.2 million primary learners have to avail themselves to e-learning medium of study. The Govt. of Argentina, in observation to international protocols of SDGs, have laid down didactic proposals which aim to provide (i)
pedagogical standard procedures for carrying out activities at distinct stages of educational circuits; (ii) equip mentors with precise and
legitimate coaching at various educational levels; and (iii) conducting educative methodologies which will enable institutes to hand out germane academic materials to the students. The teachers in Argentina are continuously engaged in providing dynamic educational content that would relatively ease the predicament of e-learning. UNICEF is trying to restore effective distance and home-based learning delivered through radio, TV, the internet, and other platforms to ensure quality education received by all. CTERA, a
member of Education International (EI), have accentuated the obligation to continue improving the program in coordination with provincial authorities, integrating new content with resources that the jurisdictions themselves have already published online in an effort to reach students affected by school closures throughout the country. They have further encouraged the educationists and management teams from all schools throughout the country to visit the “Seguimos Educando” (Let’s Keep Teaching) platform which boosts the health of the teachers through series of digital educational resources and materials, which has reduced the cancellation of classes.
To bring the ‘call to action to life, policies, strategies and protocols should be put in place and implemented across the region to ensure safe school operations, facilitate the return to school and retention of the most vulnerable groups, make adequate funding available for safe reopening, guarantee the continuity of learning and scale-up social protection measures for everyone.
Written By : Anamitra Banerjee