Why youth and children are not getting back in flux after the Pandemic?

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Akash Sharma Intern & student of JECRC UNIVERCITY, INDIA

Globally, there are many statistics that indicate that education disturbances and mental health problems in children and youth are of central concern. Here are some facts to check:

  • According to United Nations, nearly one-fifth of the global population is comprised of youth between the ages of 14-24, with 85-90 percent of this group living in low-resource countries.
  • More than 1.6 billion students in over 190 countries have already experienced disruptions to their education during Pandemic.
  • Twenty-four million children and youth – including more than 11 million girls – may drop out permanently due to the pandemic.
  • According to the UNICEF, India research reports, “The pandemic-induced world has made children’s mental health worse, with an increase of anxiety disorders, depressions, and mental health issues. All of these conditions are caused by confinement, social interaction restrictions, reduced outdoor activities, and the feeling of helplessness caused by the pandemic itself. Children, especially those from poor and marginalized communities, need more support. We need a school-based mental health justice pilot program for vulnerable youth. The focus should be placed on increasing mental health literacy among stakeholders within the education system as well as investing in capacity-building that utilizes current resources and school leadership for sustainability.”
  • Check out more info: https://www.unicef.org/india/stories/vision-post-covid-19-world-children

A lot of data are focused on how pandemics disrupt education and mental health in children and youths worldwide, but why do we need to focus on children and youths, especially when it comes to mental health?  Again, we can answer- Yes! We must focus. In short, by focusing on the mental well-being of children and youths, we increase their chances of being happy and successful at home, in school, and in communities. In fact, poor mental health during childhood can negatively affect learning, behavior, and emotional regulation. Other then, all the above facts indicate that covid-19 created a huge gap in the education system, and give rise to many questions, and one of them is “After a considerable study gap during a pandemic, how will children adjust in schools, and why children and youth have not come in the flow yet?”

To find the problem, we attempt to recap the situation during pandemic

Corona has affected everyone in many ways. We have witnessed many deaths of people around us, including our loved ones and neighbors. Due to the strict guidelines from Government, we were not allowed to attend their funerals. Moreover, we all were caged in our houses to protect ourselves so that we could not come in contact with corona-positive people or spread it more. There was a complete lockdown everywhere in the country, and we did not go out to earn. It is clear that we are impacted and challenged in all ways: mentally, physically, and economically.

Gradually mature, and older adults are now making their way on the right path. Men are going to work, and women are handling the household again after facing many tremors caused by the pandemic. However, why children and youth have not come in the flow yet?

Nowadays, we hear inspirational stories of the working class, job employees, and other aspirants who have been preparing for UPSC for a long time. Nevertheless, they made it in the last two years as Lockdown proved beneficial and prepared them enough time. It is clear that they were mature enough to use Lockdown as an opportunity. On the contrary, Lockdown proved as a big hurdle for many children and youth because they missed their two golden years.

“According to UNICEF- India, more than 330 Million youngsters have been stuck at home till March 2021. At least one in seven forced to stay at home worldwide due to different public orders of different countries.”

The threat of a deadly virus is still with us. Therefore, it often comes to our notice that the Government issues new guidelines for schools and colleges as it is concerned about protecting youngsters from Corona Virus Disease. However, is it sufficient or not?

Things are normalizing as students will take examinations physically on examination centers again after a long gap. This situation can be happier for some but not for all. Students do not prepare or study as they did before the first wave of Covid-19, which came in 2020 in India. Therefore, there are chances that students may not perform well, which can lead them under tremendous pressure.

“In India, Students commit suicide if they prove unable to handle the pressure generated by failure in exams, parental expectations, etc. Furthermore, Covid gives it a tremendous boost. The latest data released by National Crime Records Bureau reports that the tally of students, who committed suicide, reached 12,526, a high rise of 21.19 percent since 2019. A nation cannot prosper without the development of children and youth because they are the future builders of nations. However, a World Bank article on low and middle-income countries states that 10-year-old children who cannot read introductory text will be increased by 17% to nearly 70%.”
As schools and colleges are reopening now, the Government should come to help those badly affected by the pandemic and cannot provide their children education now to make efficient changes in education policy to bring back all of them.
Schools and Colleges should conduct necessary counseling sessions to take care of them as most people are unable and reluctant to do it.

Do not ignore these signs…

Headaches ,Getting sick more often than usual, mood changes like- sad, losing temper, moody,Trouble sleeping, Being nervous, anxious, Want loneliness all the times, Sleeping extra or too less, Changes in appetite, Fighting with friends/family, Trouble thinking clearly, Skipping class/activities or doing poorly in school are sign of Stress in Kids & Youth. If you see these signs in your child, consult with psychologist immediately.

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