Zeeshan Siddique (Department of English) and co-authors Mehebub Sahana, lecturer of geography and environmental planning, University of Manchester (UK), and Sanjida Parveen (PhD), postdoctoral candidate in the Department of English at the University of Manchester, have published a book chapter in the scholarly collection COVID-19 in South Asia: Society, Economy, and Politics (Routledge, 2024).

“A Paradigm shift in Learning: Assessing West Bengal’s Education System in the Post-pandemic Era” examines the impacts of social inequality, poverty, educational policies, and dropouts triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The arrival of COVID-19 hit the headlines to the cradle of humanity unexpectedly to a new regime of uncertainty. Global decisions compelled closing down of educational campuses and moved teaching online. Unfortunately, the unprecedented consequences of online education were not considered. Many underdeveloped and economically weak parts of India failed to adapt and execute effective methods of disseminating education which had various repercussions, ranging from degradation of public education to dropout rates. The state of West Bengal in India, with significant remote areas, was among those adversely affected places struggling to implement online education, and facing issues that are multifaceted and has permanent implications, including exacerbation of preexisting fault lines of the education system. This chapter analyzes the explicit implications of COVID such as asymmetrical distribution of educational resources, declining public education, dropout rates, and degrading overall student growth that are transforming and shifting the education system of West Bengal.

The collection is available for pre-order from Routledge.