78% parents ready to skip a year of schooling; not willing to send kids until COVID is over: SP Robotic Works Survey
As COVID-19 continues to unleash its wrath across the globe, it has inadvertently turned the lives of children upside down. With a sudden transition to online learning and prolonged screen time with no outdoor play and limited social interaction, the long term impact on children’s mental and physical health remains dubious. According to “Kids Under COVID”, a research study and survey by SP Robotic Works, an online edutainment company, 78 per cent of Indian parents are unwilling to send their wards to school immediately post lockdown, even if that entails repeating an academic year. The survey insights uncover the dilemma of parents and children and bring to light the key areas of attention.
Safety of their wards the topmost priority for parents :
Parents from Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad and mini-metros are skeptical about sending their children to school, even if it is declared safe, with 82-86 per cent unwilling to take any risk with the children. However, Chennai and Kolkata are the only exceptions among the major cities where the ratio of parents that are willing to take chances with sending their children to school is higher than the national average. Among the cohort, the salaried guardians are the most protective, with only 17 per cent willing to send their children to school as soon as the schools reopen as against 30 per cent of self-employed and 56 per cent of freelance workers.
Parents and students reject the current way of online schooling:
While most schools have successfully transitioned to online, the model is found to be less effective with over two-third of children preferring to learn in the classroom. Interestingly, children, as well as the parents in smaller cities and non-metros, seem to prefer online learning compared to those in metros, except Bangalore.
The era of women entrepreneurship beckons? :
Amongst the choices for dream jobs, 15 per cent of girls aspire to become entrepreneurs when they grow up, a higher percentage than boys. Entrepreneurship is second only to the fancy of becoming a doctor. According to a 2015 study by McKinsey Global Institute, India’s GDP could rise by between 16-60 per cent by 2025 if women participated equally with men in the economy. Projections show that this could mean a whopping US$ 2.9 trillion added to the economy. If we can nurture this dream of school-going girls well India surely has a chance of becoming a US$ 5 trillion economy by 2025.
Toys pave way for coding and robotics :
Realising the burgeoning potential of STEM subjects for a lucrative future, 23 per cent of parents have engaged their children in an online robotics class during the lockdown period, while 32 per cent have engaged them in an online coding class. Surprisingly, Mumbai tops the charts with 42 per cent of children being engaged in robotics/coding classes while children in tech-hub Bangalore and Kolkata prefer spending time on traditional favourites such as reading or practising a musical instrument.
Understandably, YouTube remains a preferred platform for learning new things for children in smaller metros but 26 per cent children also spend time on video, and app games.
Commenting on the impact of COVID-19 lockdown and crisis, Sneha Priya S, Co-Founder & CEO of SP Robotic Works said, “COVID-19 has proven to be the turnstile for education in India. The current situation has unearthed the immense potential of platforms with experiential and interactive learning which engage children in practical tasks and logical reasoning. With the proposed NEP in place, we believe that hope is anew for the young minds of the country. The policy rightly stresses the importance of including experiential learning, replacing the existing pedagogy of teaching Maths & Science in schools. A policy that SP Robotic Works steadfastly holds on for all our engagements with the children.”