Only 33% parents in support of schools in India starting from September 1


  • • Risk and Unknowns of COVID-19, hard to implement social distancing in schools and risk to seniors in the family amongst top reasons why parents don’t want school starting from Sep 1

August 11, 2020, New Delhi: Schools in the country have been closed for more than 5 months now, when the COVID-19 lockdown was announced in March. Many schools started online sessions for the children to ensure that the learning does not stop. Per latest media reports, the Government of India is now considering opening schools from September 1 as part of its final unlocking rules starting with classes 10-12 and classes 6-9 to be started after 15 days.

As a reaction to the media reports, many parents raised the issue of schools restarting on September 1st and subsequently, LocalCircles decided to conduct a survey to get the collective parent pulse on how they feel about reopening of schools from September 1st. The survey received over 25,000 responses from parents and grandparents in different parts of India.

With total number of COVID-19 cases at 2.2 million and a daily case load of approximately 65,000, India now has the highest number of daily cases in the world. The infection is spreading so fast in the country that it took only 20 days for the number of infected to increase from 1 million to 2 million and as per the WHO guidelines, children fall in the high-risk category. Children if infected can be carriers of the virus and spread it to other members of the family with grandparents being the most vulnerable as many families in India have a joint family structure.

In the first question, parents were asked if they approve of the reported Government plan of restarting schools from September 1 for classes 10-12 and for classes 6-10 after 15 days. In response, 58% answered in a ‘no’ while only 33% answered in a ‘yes’.

Only 33% parents in support of schools in India starting from September 1

Only 33% parents in support of schools in India starting from September 1

With majority of the parents opposing restarting of schools from September 1, parents were also asked for the reason as to why they are opposed to schools in India starting from September 1, 2020. In response, 13% said they cannot afford to take chances with children given the risk and unknowns related to COVID-19 while 1% said there is a serious risk with seniors in the family in case a child in the family gets infected. 9% said social distancing will not be possible in schools, 5% said COVID-19 spread will increase even faster if schools were opened, and 2% said they believe online education is a good substitute given the situation. 47% said all of the above were valid reasons for them and 23% said they are not opposed to opening of schools from Sep 1.

Risk and Unknowns of COVID-19, hard to implement social distancing in schools and risk to seniors in the family amongst top reasons why parents don’t want school starting from Sep 1

Risk and Unknowns of COVID-19, hard to implement social distancing in schools and risk to seniors in the family amongst top reasons why parents don’t want school starting from Sep 1

This shows that the risk and unknowns of COVID-19, hard to implement social distancing in schools and risk to seniors in the family are amongst top reasons why parents don’t want school to start from Sep 1.

As schools in America begin reopening, dozens of students and school staff have started testing positive for COVID-19, while hundreds have been ordered home quarantine. In early May, Israel became the first country to restart schools and within a few days hundreds of students and teachers got infected. Kenya has decided to cancel the entire school year to protect the kids from the infection.

Like the earlier Unlock guidelines, the states may be given the authority to decide if they want to reopen schools in different districts, depending on the prevailing case load. Whatever decision is taken, majority parents are against restarting of schools.

The issue of children in villages and schools that do not have online education facility was also discussed. Parents strongly feel that the Government via radio, television and financial support should enable online classes in such schools. The idea of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds being deployed via a centralised mission into online school education was also discussed. Some parents even suggested these funds being utilised to furnish low cost computing devices in schools. A combination of such enablement along with a channel for each class on television and radio can play a role in educating children while schools stay shut.

To majority of the parents, while its important that children don’t fall behind on their education, its critical that their health doesn’t take a hit, especially at a time when the long-term impact of COVID-19 is still unknown.

LocalCircles will be submitting the findings of this survey to key stakeholders in the Central Government and with leadership of all states.

Survey Demographics

25,000+ responses were received across 252 districts of India. 63% respondents were men while 37% respondents were women. 48% respondents were from tier 1, 27% from tier 2 and 25% respondents were from tier 3, 4 and rural districts. They survey was conducted via LocalCircles platform and all participants are validated citizens who had to be registered with LocalCircles to participate in this survey.

About LocalCircles

LocalCircles, India’s leading Community Social Media platform enables citizens and small businesses to escalate issues for policy and enforcement interventions and enables Government to make policies that are citizen and small business centric. LocalCircles is also India’s # 1 pollster on issues of governance, public and consumer interest. More about LocalCircles can be found on https://www.localcircles.com

Akshay Gupta - media@localcircles.com, +91-8585909866

All content in this report is a copyright of LocalCircles. Any reproduction or redistribution of the graphics or the data therein requires the LocalCircles logo to be carried along with it. In case any violation is observed LocalCircles reserves the right to take legal action.

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