(Goldy Malhotra is an educationist, poet and painter. The column first appeared in Citizen Matters on October 8, 2021)
- The global scale of school closures during COVID-19 has been unprecedented. The long lockdown forced families to choose food depending on availability and storing facilities at home. And given India’s diversity of socio-economic categories, the lockdown impacted the nutritional status of each category differently. School closure also disrupted the distribution channels through which school meal programmes operate. This left many needy children without even one wholesome meal a day that was provided earlier in the schools. The cognitive abilities among school students below the poverty line, that had improved due to mid-day meal scheme, started visibly deteriorating when they were unable to access this due to closure of schools.