Pandemic, Online Education & Protection of Children: Whether Education Rendered was Disrupted?

  • Rittika Kalita
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  • Rittika Kalita

    Assistant Professor of Law at Arunanchal University of Studies, India

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Since the onset of the pandemic, the world has been witnessing disruptions, of which major ones have been visible upon the children- their rights pertaining to education and emotive and social well-being are affected. From the physical setting of the classroom and the open playgrounds, the major shift happened with restrictions with online classes, social distancing, and wearing masks throughout. Further, with the majority of the population compelled to be reliant on the internet and digital devices - the digital divide had risen amongst the low-income group, and it negatively impacted the lives of the children - their education and their mental and emotional conditions. According to the data generated by UNESCO, 157 crore students across 191 countries are affected by school closures, of which 32 crore children were from India. “Right to Education” (hereinafter, RTE), though guaranteed under the Constitution of India - by way of Article 21A - the same has been hindered by the pandemic onset and its restrictions. In consonance with International Conventions, such as Article 26 of UDHR, Indian Constitution mandates the right to education for children up to the age of 14. However, with the pandemic, there was a paradigm shift in education from its traditional mode to a digital one, wherein schools were not adequately resourced, all stakeholders could not engage substantively, and it affected children’s access to education. Moreover, there are also health risks associated with the shutdown of schools which include physical and mental harm. This paper attempts to examine the ambit of the right to education, the meaning of the social well-being of children, and highlight the existing gaps with the current policies and issues existing in administration and governance in availing the RTE. To arrive at the issues, at the outset of this paper, the jurisprudential concept of the “right to education” is analysed. Thereafter, the effects of RTE during the pandemic, the challenges of digital education, and the reasons affecting the availing of RTE are examined. As a sample study, the State of Assam is taken. The paper is aimed at identifying those areas where children have been facing the greatest challenges in the wake of the extended pandemic and provide novice suggestions that can be adopted to tackle the disrupted education issue.


Research Paper


International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 6, Page 220 - 233


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