IT for Change has played a crucial role in highlighting the education emergency in India caused by the unprecedented and prolonged school closures in India due to COVID-19. In July 2021, we catalyzed the creation of the National Coalition on the Education Emergency, bringing together researchers and educational professionals, social activists and education NGOs, on a platform to "resume and renew" education. Since then, IT for Change has been the secretariat of the NCEE and hosts its website
. Addressing the education emergency requires bringing together multiple stakeholders - governments, parents, teachers, teacher educators, NGOs - and their organizations, including unions and political parties. It also requires addressing various aspects of the system including transforming curriculum and pedagogy, continuous support for teachers, leadership and management capacity at the state and decentralized levels, communication and finance.
We have commissioned and supported research on the education emergency, developed policy trackers, disseminated research done by others, organized press conferences and launched advocacy programs. We have also prepared technical documents, based on research, to support state governments to organized recovery programs. etc. In its capacity as secretariat for the NCEE, IT for Change has worked with state governments of Karnataka, Telangana, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh etc. on school resumption as well as education renewal activities. A range of individuals and organizations are associated with the NCEE, with a combination of those undertaking research, working on the ground to deliver education services or supporting state governments. This holistic nature of engagement, makes the NCEE a unique vehicle for undertaking and disseminating research, and collecting views and perspectives from all aspects of the system.
Research has focused on identifying and amplifying voices of stakeholders and studies/surveys on parents, teachers and students has enabled a deeper understanding of the education emergency. These have helped the Coalition in designing guidelines for school opening, suggesting curriculum and other measures for early child care and education, as well as working with teachers. It has also supported advocacy campaigns and larger social mobilization campaigns with different groups. Eminent educators and activists including Dr Sajitha Bashir, Prof Ramanujam, Prof Mythili Ramchand, Prof. Jean Dreze and Ms Sriranjani Ranganathan have been associated with these research, education support and social mobilization programs. We have participated in school level surveys conducted in Jharkhand and Bihar to understand the impact of the pandemic on schooling, and taken the findings to policymakers for redressal.
With IT for Change's special focus on technology, we have spearheaded the work of the NCEE in assessing the use of technology during COVID-19 and the challenges in deploying them. We have advocated for deploying technology on the basis of sound pedagogical and educational research and objectives, and on the appropriate professional development and empowerment of teachers. In 2021, IT for Change released the 'EdTech Landscape' report authored by Prof Rajaram Sharma, discussing the implementation of EdTech in Indian Education.
While the health emergency and the livelihood emergencies caused by the Covid pandemic are evident, the education emergency has been hidden. The public education system in many parts of India, barring a few states, was closed for the greater part of the last year and a half. Hundreds of thousands of children, having lost one or both parents, and millions more affected by the loss of jobs and income, need to make a painful choice between working to support themselves and their families and coming back to school.