New Delhi | Jagran Education Desk: United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) released its Remote Learning Reachability report on Thursday which said that barely 24 per cent of Indian households have internet connections to access the e-learning methods, with most no-net-connections reported from rural India.

“Available data indicates that approximately a quarter of households (24 per cent) in India have access to the internet and there is a large rural-urban and gender divide. The learning gap is likely to widen across high, middle and low-income families, as children from economically disadvantaged families cannot access remote learning,” the report said.

The report said that female students from marginalised communities lie at specific disadvantage, where even if the students have access to the smartphones and in case they do, the internet connectivity is poor, and quality education content cannot be easily disseminated.

“In India, over 1.5 million (15 lakh) schools have been closed due to the pandemic affecting 286 million (28.6 crore) children from pre-primary to secondary levels, (of which 49 per cent girls) This adds to the 6 million (60 lakh) girls and boys who were already out of school prior to the COVID-19,” the report states further.

The report also acknowledges that initiative taken up by the union and state governments to ensure the digital and non-digital dissemination of education. UNICEF called for multiple pathways and outreach strategies to improve access and use of learning materials by students, specifically in ‘reaching the unreached’ because of the digital divide.

The report takes a globally representative analysis on the availability of internet technology and tools needed for remote learning among pre-primary, primary, lower-secondary and upper-secondary school children, with data collected from over 100 countries. The data also includes access to television, radio and internet, and the availability of reading material delivered across these platforms during school closures.

“Even when children have the technology and tools at home, they may not be able to learn remotely through those platforms due to competing factors in the home, including pressure to do chores, being forced to work, a poor environment for learning and lack of support in using the online or broadcast curriculum,” the report said.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma