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DIGITAL EDUCATION IN RURAL INDIA


We have covered some stories on covid 19 and its impacts. The whole world has been severely hit by this pandemic & it is not ended yet. Check out the stories we have covered so far on this pandemic.

Here in this blog, we are going to see the role of Digital education in rural India.

Since 2020, the world has been suffering from covid-19 and yet we are not sure when it will be ended. Post 2nd wave, the 3rd wave is expected, and research is underway to understand what will happen post 3rd wave. The lifestyle of human beings has changed, and it has been impacted by covid adversely. The GDP of the whole world has shrunk, millions of job loss and death. Hardly is there any industry or individual which is not being impacted by this and the education industry among them.

Since last year, all the schools have been closed impacting child education. Thanks to digital education which helps in the continuation of education up to a certain extent but that is successful in the urban & metro cities. Can we think of the same success rate in rural area? There is hardly any reason to believe so. Imagine in an area where there is no ensured electricity supply, there are little or less modern mediums of communication, even families so financially distressed that they lack accessibility of food, Is digital education really a feasible option? Let us not forget that digital education needs decent internet coverage, a smartphone, and obviously enough electrical supply to operate these devices.

DIGITAL EDUCATION IN RURAL INDIA


There have been signs of progress in some villages, but the data is not sufficient enough to say whether India can actually go ‘completely digital’ in order to provide education to the impoverished and underprivileged children in India.

A maximum of the financially distressed families is going to be further entrapped in the vicious poverty cycle, merely because in these critical times, the policymakers have failed to actually deliver education to their children. Read about KNOW ABOUT CORONAVIRUS AND ITS EFFECTS IN DETAIL

 

Effects during the pandemic

Rural education had been drastically affected due to the coronavirus outbreak in both waves. There are numerous children who stand devoid of education during these harsh times. The famous mid-day meal scheme also acted as a huge boost to admission rates in rural schools and children received meals along with education. This ensured that rural children won battles against two fronts- Hunger and Illiteracy. The pandemic, however, has reduced the delivery rate of mid-day meals as well. Another issue is the lack of digital education of teachers. Teachers, especially in rural and semi-urban areas, face difficulties in instructing and teaching through the online medium. They also face technical issues, which would rather have never subsisted, if not for the online mode of education. These little interruptions accumulate to ultimately become enormous hindrances, which further the accessibility divide between the urban and rural children. Read about WHY DID CHILD MARRIAGE INCREASE IN COVID-19?

Oxfam India, a non-governmental organization, surveyed 1158 parents and 488 teachers across five states- Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, and Uttar Pradesh. The survey findings yield the following facts.

✅ The survey displays 35% of children did not receive mid-day meals.

✅ 53% of children received dry rations and only 8% of children received cooked meals.

✅ 84% of teachers reported facing problems while teaching through digital mediums.

✅ Only 20% of teachers were given orientation and minimal training for delivering online lectures.

✅ 80% of teachers in Uttar Pradesh and 67% of teachers in Chhattisgarh lacked adequate devices for online classes.

✅ 75% of parents faced problems like costly data, unstable internet, and lack of wi-fi services in order to accommodate online classes.

Clearly, these statistics show us how digital education in rural India is far away from a mission accomplished.

 

Examining the roots

It is true that crises like Coronavirus are unpredictable. However, it is also true that such crises put any nation’s existing infrastructure to test, be it healthcare, education, distribution systems, communications, etc.

India performed decently well in the healthcare sector during the first wave, considering demographics like population density, but the performance of the education sector in rural areas has been a drastic failure. This is because adequate steps had not been taken earlier to digitalize villages and towns, perhaps digital education was not ever considered in villages. The crises exposed this vulnerability of rural areas in reference to access to internet resources, specifically educational resources. The numerous planned policies without proper implementation on the ground level are as useless as a glass hammer. Like many websites, portals, digital libraries may be developed, but without a stable and speedy internet connection, and other basic requisites like digital knowledge and electricity, they are useless.

This further showcases the importance of efficient and effective infrastructure, or at least an improved infrastructure for rural areas, and certain towns and semi-urban areas. Read about HOW TO TRAIN YOUR INDUSTRY TO FIGHT CORONAVIRUS

 

Proposed Solutions

The aforementioned facts and arguments clearly indicate the slow and ineffective growth of digital education in rural India. It has to be acknowledged that certain parents and students even in the urban areas face difficulties with online classes. There are numerous problems that have been exposed during this time of the pandemic. The infrastructural growth is never going to occur overnight, but there are immediate measures that can be done to solve problems till the time the pandemic exists.

For instance, in areas where there are low infection rates, physical schooling shall start adhering to proper covid-prevention protocols. The students who are privileged enough shall be encouraged to donate their old books, and the government shall play a part as an intermediary to ensure these books reach the needy and underprivileged. These would ensure that the immediate problem of lack of Digital resources is solved. The mid-day meal scheme shall be revised and restarted as effectively and immediately as possible. Schools, when reopened, shall be thoroughly disinfected, and sanitized in order to create a safe environment. Washing sinks shall also be built at every place possible in schools so that children develop the important habit of washing hands during the pandemic.

In the long run, the government has to focus on providing digital education in rural India. They have to take initiatives to improve infrastructure, which helps the country in every time of crisis. Teachers shall be given special workshops for several methods of digital teaching. The government may even provide internet in villages at subsidized rates, and further, develop adequate infrastructure to support the same. Infrastructure in any country will always remain to be the mainspring of growth and development of its people. Hence, developing rural infrastructure along with effective policies shall pave the way for digital rural schools to become an actual reality. 

About Author

"Written by Moksh Bhatnagar, a first-year student at Unitedworld School of Law, Karnavati University.


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1 comment:

  1. This article is surely resourceful and might benefit a greater part of seekers looking for such valuable posts. Continue updating.
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