It wasn’t that long ago that Internet connectivity faded the moment one left a populated area like a city or big town – “no service” was the take-away message back then. But thanks to 3G, 4G and now 5G mobile technology, coupled with widespread installation of cellular towers in rural areas region-wide, that little message shows up much less frequently.
The research primarily aimed to study the circumstances of the families during the lockdown period and submit recommendations to the governments and other stakeholders.
The report, Initiatives by the School Education Sector in 2020-21, shows that the digital divide has hit some states disproportionately hard, while a few may have coped well due to adequate availability of smartphones and television sets.
According to report by education ministry, maximum students from Bihar did not have access to digital devices, followed by Jharkhand and Karnataka.
While there is relief in teachers and students that schools have reopened in Madhya Pradesh after 18 months, there is consternation too, as most of the children have forgotten whatever they had learnt before the COVID-19 pandemic. This could prove to be a costly drawback in future learning.
Even during the harshest lockdown periods, the authorities paid little attention to how children in schools were being impacted by the pandemic.
Women often fail to understand that their inability to use technology is not because they are incapable of using it, but because they were not exposed to it like the men were.
The learning loss for students in such situations can be immense, more so for students who already come from marginalised communities, and hope for education to be a means of social mobility.
Only 10.1 per cent of children like to use smartphones for online learning and education, the study added
According to UNICEF, only one in four children in India has access to digital devices and the internet.