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Online education in India- A distant road to travel

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It is going to be nine months since school has been closed due to coronavirus pandemic. Now student finds online classes the only way to continue their education. But can we say, online education is inclusive to all students? Since most of the population in India resides in village and most of the student studies in government schools. Most of them do not have access to samartphone. According to AESAR  report only 11% children have access to online classes and 21% had acess to recorded video/audio materials. This contain student from both government and private schools. If we talk only about government school this data will again go down. Whatsapp is the most common medium used for sharing learning materials these day by teachers and students.

ASEAR reports says only 61.8% parents have smartphone. What about the student who do not have smartphone?? Most of the children do not have acess to smartphone in the family where there is only one smart phone. But what about books? According to ASEAR report 1 in every five student does not have textbook by September. From the above analysis we can say that online education is not inclusive in India. Government has to  do a lot to make it inclusive. What government is doing? Rajsthan government is providing learning materials to students through its project SMILE (social media interface for learning engagement).

More than 20,000 thousand whatsapp groups has been created in order to send study materials to teachers and students. Video contents of every classes are being uploaded to group at 9 am every morning. The Gujarat government has done a lot to make online education inclusive and maximise its reach. The education department there took an exhaustive device mapping exercise to measure the medium of acess to online education. Regional TV channels in Gujarat are broadcasting tutorials for students of class 3rd to 9th and 11th. Teachers here are engaging students in virtual classes through Microsoft team apps.

Teachers are also facing a lot of technical issues. They are not trained for online education. There are many teachers who complains about technical issue they faced. Teachers are also unhappy with success rate, they complains that only 20 to 25% student are benefiting from online education. Most of them do not have acess to smartphones. The parent of most of the children studying in government school are daily wage labourers. They come to home in evening after work and they also needed entertainment after days hardwork. So in the family where there is  smartphone, it is always occupied by elders.

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