Right to Education during Covid-19 Pandemic: An Ordeal of Oraon Children from Jharkhand
Keywords:Digital divide, Dhuku System, Learning deficit, Mental health, and Right to Education.
Quality Education, the fourth Sustainable Development Goal has been a challenge for India, but the Covid-19 pandemic made it even more challenging by hitting hard at the most disadvantaged. Tribal children, who were already falling behind their peers because of limited or no access to education, became more vulnerable after the digitization of the education system. With this in mind, the study probes how this crisis influenced the education and mental health of Oraon children living in rural areas of Ranchi, Jharkhand. An exploratory research design has been adopted for the study. Focus group discussions and interviews were conducted thoroughly among Oraon students and their teachers. The Right to Education of these tribal children and their mental health were almost ignored during the pandemic. Sixty percent of these students experienced mental health issues like stress, anxiety, and depression because of the learning deficit. Their educational needs can be fulfilled by mitigating the digital divide and by implementing all related Acts and policies in their true spirit. Parents should listen empathetically to their children’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions. This will improve their children’s mental health and prohibit them from entering into Dhuku Systemat at this tender age in which couples go for live-in relationships mainly because of parental neglect, further pushing them to drop out of their education.