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  • DAILY MAINS CURRENT AFFAIRS (UPSC) |17&18 Dec 2020| RaghukulCS
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UPSC Online Editorial Analysis




  1. What challenges do online classes pose? (The Hindu)
  2. Education is an essential activity. Ignoring schooling will have long-term implications (The Indian Express)

Topic in syllabus:Education(GS-2)

Analysis about:These articles talks about issues and solutions regarding Online classes & reopening of schools.


  • We constantly talk about GDP growth rates but ignore schooling and education which determine, according to several scholarly studies, long-run development and growth.

What are the key issues that teachers and students face?

  • The lack of appropriate devices suchas graphics tablets and webcams for conducting classes online.
  • The lack of adequate Internet bandwidth.
  • In order to ensurethat the quality of education thatthey were imparting was consistent, the teachers had to invest their own personal money to create that ambience through online teaching.
  • The lack of copyrighted materialthat could be easily dispersed to allthe students [came up as an issue].
  • Infrastructure such as computer or Internet is expensive, and even a mobilephone costs ₹10,000 to ₹15,000, that is unaffordable.
  • If the countrybelieves that online education is theway forward, then 90% of the children are not a part of it.
  • Nearly 70% of the students are typically attending classes on their mobile phones. It’s nearly impossible
    for them to stay attentive.
  • Cybercrimes interms of trolling, hate speech, cyberstalking and deceiving womenare becoming extremely common.
  • If a parent has tomake a choice between giving themobile phone to a son or a daughter, they seem to prefer giving it tothe son.
  • For many women,hostels have been a safe haven fromtheir sometimes violent homes.With the abrupt shutting down ofcolleges, they have lost that safety.
  • Number of girls, especially from ruralareas, since they are at home, arenow being asked to get married andhave children because teaching andlearning is online.

What are the solutions?

  • The school system needs more decentralisation both in terms of governance and planning. Not all decisions need to be taken at the national or state level.
  • Local councils or districts could have chosen to stay open, depending on the spread of the disease, their local needs and capabilities.
  • In fact, we need this flexibility and freedom at the local level not just to keep schools open but, more importantly, to address the damages wrought by the pandemic
  • If educationis a fundamental right, then theright to devices is included in that.
  • We must doubleup our efforts at making sure thatit’s accessible to all.
  • The National Curriculum Framework of 2005 emphasised achange of pedagogy even before the
    pandemic, which is to make learning more meaningful for the children, engage them in the process of
    learning, give them ideas whichthey can apply to real life, and notlet the classroom become completely cut off from reality.
  • Public infrastructure in terms ofregulatory frameworks is going tobe absolutely essential in makingsure that women feel safe to participate on social media.
  • It is necessary to have a multi­channel communication: in addition to having a video conferencecall, typically, it’s good to haveWhatsApp or a second means keptopen, so that if a student does nothave bandwidth, he or she can stillparticipate without feeling left outof the class.
  • There is a need of a multimodal dispersal of learning material. We have to give students audios
    and videos and written texts, so thatthey can download it at a later stage.
  • The online class shouldnot be more than, say, 30­40 minutes. Teacher must give back materialto the students so that they actuallyfeel that they’re sitting down andlearning, but that hand­holding hasto happen.
  • Teachers also need to have a lotof flexibility and empathy. Theyhave to remember that the students
    are going through a lot to attendthese classes.
  • Voicemodulation is something that noneof us have learned. A monotonousvoice can kill a colossal 20 minutes.
  • Training needs to be imparted both to teachers and students on how to handle an onlineplatform.
  • This also requires a change in syllabus — toningit down rather than focussing oncompleting it — and this is something we really need to pay attentionto and as soon as possible.


  • Online education has had a differentiated impact across educationallevels and institutes, and between
    various student communities.
  • Wesee that students are handling thesituation with maturity and keepingup with their learning.
  • If schools in England could stay open over the last three months or so, with alarming rise in COVID-19 cases all around and a four-week national lockdown, we should be able to bring children back to schools.
  • Now that we are talking about vaccination strategies and candidates for early rounds of vaccination, let us treat schools as part of the essential sector and vaccinate teachers and school workers too.


Title:The many challenges for WTO

Topic in syllabus:Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.(GS-2)

Analysis about:These articles talks about challenges before WTO.


  • For the first time in its 25­year history, theWorld Trade Organization (WTO) will be ledby a woman, as both the contending candidates for the Director-general (D­G) post arewomen, from Nigeria and South Korea respectively.

What are the challenges present before WTO DG?

  • Balancing the diverse and varied interests of the 164 member countries.
  • Restoring the WTO dispute settlement mechanism, especially the revival of its Appellate body, is also crucial for the organisation’s efficient functioning.
  • WTO has to demonstrate that it is on the side of the underdog.
  • Its mission is to enhance the conditions of poor people and not further the agenda of corporates
  • The COVID-19 crisis has revealed the urgent and enduring need for international cooperation and collaboration, as no country can fight the pandemic alone. 
  • Reconciling competing multilateral and national visions, for the organisation to work efficiently. 
  • Grapple with the global economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and take needed measures to revive falling global economy
  • Work towards carrying out reforms of the multilateral trading system to maintain the credibility of the institution. 
  • mitigate the effects of the pandemic by giving clear directions on ensuring that supply chains remain free and open, recommending a standard harmonised system with classification for vaccines, and by the removal of import/export restrictions.
  • Play a responsible role in removing barriers to intellectual property and securing a legal framework within the WTO TRIPS Agreement.


  • The next D­G will needto build trust among its members that theWTO needs greater engagement by all countries, to stitch fair rules in the larger interestof all nations and thwart unfair trade practices of a few.


Title: The long road to food security

Topic in syllabus: Issues related poverty & hunger (GS-2)

Analysis about: These articles talks about how India’s hunger levels are alarming, Despite being self-sufficient in agricultural production.

Performance of India:

  • India’s malnutrition levels are almosttwice the level of many African countries.
  • The Global Hunger Index 2020report has given India the 94th rankamong 107 countries, much behind
    Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Nepal.
  • Asper a UN­FAO report, 194 million people go hungry every day in India,comprising about 23% of the world’sundernourished population.

Irony of India:

  • It is a grim failure that 73 years after Independence, India continues tobe gripped by a paradox of plenty inthe realm of food security.
  • The country reached self­-sufficiency in agricultural production some time ago, andyet, mass hunger is rampant acrossStates.
  • India produces more than theestimated amount required to feedthe entire population (in 2018­19, India produced 283.37 million tons offood grains).
  • The country ranks firstin millets and second in rice andwheat production in the world.
  • India’s horticultural crops, such asfruits and vegetables, are also in surplus (over 313 million tons in

What is the reason behind this irony? (Issues)

  • According to data releasedby the Department of Consumer Affairs, almost 62,000 tons of foodgrains were damaged in Food Corporation of India warehouses between2011 and 2017.
  • There is a proliferation of millions ofineligible and bogus ration cards,there are also, simultaneously, a multitude of genuinely poor families thatdo not even possess ration cards. These data expose the poor management of the food ecosystem in India.
  • With dietary shift in favour of
    proteins, in an otherwise vegetarian
    society, the consumption of pulses is
    growing but the production has not
    kept pace

What are the solutions?

  • The government must ensure remunerative prices for farm produce.For this, the Minimum Support Price(MSP) should be made available tothe maximum range of farm products.
  • This will enhance the purchasing power of farmers so that they canpurchase essential food items.
  • It is crucial that India improves the Public Distribution System and Public Procurement.
  • The situation could be further improved by revamping the AnnapurnaYojana. In that Ten kilograms of food grains are distributed per month free of cost to destitute persons above 65 years of age, with no or meagre subsistence.
  • The World Food Programme (WFP)includes 60 grams of pulses in its typical food basket, alongside cereals,oils and sugar and salt. Hence thisis an ideal time to include pulses tooin our Public Distribution System.

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