Thanks to e-learning, more rural students now own smartphones!2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
When India went into a lockdown in March 2020, schools and other educational institutes were the first places to close, so as to protect all the children from coronavirus.
Classes still had to go on though, and this meant that all studies became digital. While it was easier for students living in cities to study online, as internet and coordination with teachers is easier in urban areas, those living in rural areas, such as small towns and villages, struggled to get the same access to education.
However, a recent survey – the Economic Survey 2020-2021 – found that in the last two years, the percentage of students owning smartphones has shot up from 36% to 61%. The survey pointed to a positive trend that this could be the result of the reduction in inequality in education! This basically means that there are efforts being made to give all students – in rural and urban areas – the same facilities and opportunities.
“Access to data network, electronic devices such as computer, laptop, smartphone, etc. gained importance due to distance learning and remote working…. Percentage of enrolled children from government and private schools owning a smartphone increased enormously from 36.5 pc (percent) in 2018 to 61.8 pc in 2020 in rural India.”
“Utilised well, the resultant reduction in the digital divide between rural and urban, gender, age and income groups is likely to reduce inequalities in educational outcomes,” it said.
Scope for improvement
While bridging the gap between rural and urban education is good news for the country, the survey did point out that India is still four per cent short of 100 per cent literacy at elementary level (Classes 1-8). Female literacy too continues to be below the national average.
“While India has attained a literacy level of almost 96 pc at the elementary school level, it is still behind in achieving 100 pc… Female literacy remained below national average among social groups of SC, ST, OBC, including religious groups of Hinduism and Islam, it said.
The survey also stated that the new National Education Policy (NEP) aims to pave the way for transformational reforms in school and higher education systems in the country. Owliver wrote about the NEP, read our story for what it entails.
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