Capitalise dampen digital divide to reduce educational inequalities: Survey
New Delhi, Jan 29 (IANS) One of the lessons India has learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic was to expand the reach of digital education to the school children. With schools shut, the classes assembled online and assignments replaced physical examinations, not much of education was suffered. All thanks to the enormous increase in owning smartphones by the school children from 6.5 per cent in 2018 to 61.8 per cent in 2020, as per Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2020.
The Economic Survey 2020-21 highlighted this opportunity and recommended the government to capitalise it to reduce inequalities in educational outcomes.
Presented by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Parliament on Friday, the survey stated that online schooling took off in a big way during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“If utilized 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,” the survey said.
The survey observed that India’s capability to provide high-quality educational opportunities will determine its future.
“Our country will have the highest population of young people in the world over the next decade. So, our ability to provide high-quality educational opportunities to them will determine the future of our country,” it said.
While quoting National Sample Survey (NSS), the economic survey also stated that India has attained a literacy level of almost 96 per cent at the elementary school level.
“The literacy rate of persons of age 7 years and above at the all India level stood at 77.7 per cent. Female literacy remained below national average among social groups of SC, ST, OBC, including religious groups of Hinduism and Islam,” it said.
Meanwhile, it also highlighted that physical infrastructure of more than 9.72 lakh government elementary schools has improved significantly.
“Out of these, 90.2 per cent have girls’ toilet, 93.7 per cent have boys’ toilet, 95.9 per cent have provision of drinking water facility, 82.1 per cent have wash (drinking water, toilet and hand wash) facility, 84.2 per cent have medical check-up facility, 20.7 per cent have computer and 67.4 per cent have electricity Connection and 74.2 per cent have ramps among other essential services,” it explained.