Digital Divide Highlighted by the ASER 2020

The digital divide has been highlighted since the online classes have gained currency. Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2020, Wave 1, indicates that the divide is very pronounced and the families that do not have access to computers or smart phones are at a clear disadvantage.

Karnataka is a case in point where just 63% of state government school students in 5 to 18 years have access to smart phones. The number of children in the same age group, studying in private schools, who have such access is 82%.

The report of 2020 deals with the effects of the pandemic on educational opportunities and focuses on the rural Indian students. In Karnataka, covered 30 districts, surveying 3128 households, across 900 villages. The survey covered 7,557 children in 5-18 years age group.

The access to television, that is essential to access learning broadcasts, was found to be 89% for private school children and 80% for state run government school children.

Enrolment Increased

The report indicates that there is a rise in the rate of enrolment in rural areas. The government schools’ enrolment has gone up from 66.2 %( boys), 74.2% (girls) in 2018 to 71.86% (boys) and 75.1 %( girls) in 2020.

The proactivity levels of government teachers was also examined and it was found that 61% of these teachers visited students or contacted their parents in the week of reference ( week preceding the one in which survey was conducted).The figure for private school teachers contacting parents and kids was 55.6%.

93.9 % government school children were found to have textbooks, whereas 76% of private school children had textbooks. Moreover, only 73% of children in government schools and 67% of children in private schools received the learning material and activities in the reference week. The data applies only to rural schools.

Whatsapp use in education

The report suggests that the Whattsapp has become the most favoured medium for sharing activities among teachers. 76.2% private school teachers used the application to share material whereas, 40.3% government school teachers did the same.

Vinod Kakumanu

Vinod Kakumanu

Founder & Consultant - School Serv

Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.

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