ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Case Study of Surat

Closure of Schools and Migration of Adolescent Tribal Girls

This paper is an empirical study of the consequences of the prolonged closure of schools and other educational institutions for adolescent tribal girls, migrating to the construction sector of Surat in search of work. It attempts to argue that, unlike financial hardship, disruption in education induced by the pandemic brought them to the informal labour market where the entry-level age group is now much younger, exacerbating their existing vulnerabilities.

The COVID-19 pandemic raging for over two years now has disrupted the entire teaching–learning process across the country (Talesra 2020; Jena 2020). The lockdown-induced closure of schools had prompted the administration to conduct all sorts of teaching–learning activities and evaluation processes like exams in through the virtual medium, ignoring multiple problems, such as access to the internet, availability of appropriate gadgets, and the structural inequalities in access to education, which is already deep-rooted in the country. Most importantly, there exists the digital divide between rural and urban areas. According to the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) 2017–18 report, 23.8% households in the urban areas had internet access whereas in the rural areas only 14.9% had internet connectivity (Sahani 2020). Furthermore, across the rural communities in India, the worst affected are the tribals, fraught with the lowest literacy rate and lesser numbers of enrolments in schools, with highest dropout rates after the primary level of education (Brahamanandam and Bosu Babu 2016). Amongst the tribal communities, ownership of computing devices is as low as 2.47% (Ahmed and Siddiqui 2020).

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Updated On : 31st Jan, 2022
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