(Jean Dreze is the professor at the Department of Economics, Ranchi University. The article first appeared in the print edition of The Indian Express on September 16, 2021)
- Indian children have been “locked out” of school for almost a year and a half. This lockout, one of the longest in the world, has played havoc with their lives and the country’s fragile schooling system. As primary and upper-primary schools finally begin to reopen, it is important to wake up to the damage and think about how to repair it. Last month, dozens of volunteers (mainly university students) fanned out to underprivileged neighbourhoods around the country to meet school children and their families. They interviewed nearly 1,400 households, and in each household, one child enrolled at the primary or upper-primary level. The findings, released last week, are more than alarming.