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Universities and students feel that COVID 19 has led to a learning loss for students. While students feels that the loss is between 40% and 60%, university leaders state that the loss has been 30% to 40%, finds a survey by TeamLease EdTech, a leading learning solutions provider from the house of TeamLease.

In the latest survey ‘COVID 19 Learning Loss in Higher Education’, TeamLease says this loss is double which is double the learning poverty estimated by the World Bank and learning loss of G7 countries. More painfully, the survey finds that, it may take 3 years to repair this gap.

The survey suggests that this learning loss has five sources; the digital divide, slow governance at government institutions, pre-existing capacity deficits, longer lockdowns than most countries, and weak online teaching/learning content.

Teamlease Edtech CEO Shantanu Rooj said, “India has 35 million out of the world’s 222 million university students. Learning is a perennial pandemic for many Indian learners but COVID has been catastrophic because of our many pre-existing challenges.”

“The immediate policy response should be opening all universities for physical learning and the most impactful response is bringing forward the 15-year implementation timetable for the New Education Policy (NEP) to 5 years. The University system is in shock and accelerating the timetable will bring innovation, financing, and diversity to overcome the challenges for teachers and students,” he added.

The Covid-19 lockdown has included over 1000 universities and 45,000 college (as per industry research); this certainly helped prevent the spread of the virus but forced the colleges and universities to operate in unfamiliar ways, suspend activities like research, and pivot online.

To assess the extent and kind of academic regression among students, TeamLease EdTech conducted a research survey with over 700 students and 75 university leaders across the country to assess their estimations of learning loss.

The survey also highlights 10 steps to bring down this learning loss but of these, five are critical and deserve immediate attention. First, the learning loss must be blunted by immediately allowing all universities and colleges to open with necessary precautions. Second, all universities must be immediately and automatically licensed for online learning.

Third, we must accelerate Digital India to blunt the digital divide among the poor, rural areas, and disadvantaged communities. Fourth, the higher education sector to be financially supported by government funds and banks (like healthcare has been) for a one-time COVID driven capital expenditure in digital infrastructure, training, and transition.

Fifth, accelerate the implementation of the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP) from fifteen years to five years. This will accelerate digitisation, erase regulatory barriers between employability and education, and accelerate innovation in higher education, the survey added.

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