40% School Children in 7 Large States Lack Access to Digital Devices: Education Ministry Report

Vrinda Gupta
Vrinda Gupta

A Union’s Ministry of Education report has revealed that around 40-70% of school-going children in 7 large states do not have access to digital devices. These states are listed below:

  1. Assam
  2. Andhra Pradesh
  3. Bihar
  4. Gujarat
  5. Jharkhand
  6. Madhya Pradesh
  7. Uttarakhand

What does the report say?

It is one of the challenges thrown up by the Covid-19 pandemic in the education sector. The report is titled Initiatives by the School Education Sector in 2020-21. The report has been prepared based on data shared by 22 of 28 states, and seven out of eight Union Territories. It reveals that the digital divide has hit some states disproportionately. Whereas just a few states might have coped properly on account of the appropriate availability of smartphones and tv units. However, the whole picture is still unclear. As states such as Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal do not have adequate data.

There is a huge disparity even among states. State-wise interventions have been conducted to bridge the digital divide. However, it also shows a similar trend. Some states like Tamil Nadu have claimed that they have distributed 5.15 lakh laptops among students. But, only 42 mobile phones are distributed by the Bihar government. The report says, “The ‘new normal’ may also have a huge impact on the learning levels for almost all children; learning loss may be a reality for many children.”

Here is a list of some states with the highest number of students without digital access:

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Name of the state/UT Share of students without digital access in that state
Madhya Pradesh 70%
 Bihar 58.09%
Andhra Pradesh 57%
Assam 44.24%
Jharkhand 43.42%
Uttarakhand 41.17%
Gujarat 40%

Here’s a list of states/UTs that have better digital access for their students:

Name of the state/UTs Share of students without digital access in that state
Delhi 4%
Kerala 1.63%
Tamil Nadu 14.51%

In Conclusion

As we know that learning and education are lifelong keys to success. However, there are now lakhs of students who are stranded of this opportunity. Due to the pandemic and shutdown of public spaces and schools, education has come to a halt for many. Even the report ‘Initiatives by the School Education Sector in 2020-21′ highlights this situation which is a reality of a large number of children. The consequences of lack of access to education are innumerable. The report also highlights the state-wise interventions made by the government. However, it is still not enough if we wish to tackle the digital divide in the coming years. The efforts to be put in the education sector should be increased manifold.

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