Among many of the Covid-19 lockdown, a digital divide in the Indian conventional Education system. All the education institutes and universities have been closed for almost three months now. Therefore, these institutes turn their hands towards the Ed-Tech industry when coronavirus forced schools to shut down. This industry in India has had an adoption problem for a very long time. Despite good initial tactics to impress schools, teachers and parents for E-classes are still dubious in accepting it on a massive scale. While private schools have adopted this feature and started taking digital sessions, students in the government schools are left behind. It took a pandemic for the government to understand that India’s Education system needs a technology boost. As soon as India adopted the national lockdown, there is an increase in user registrations and traffic on the EdTech platforms. A study revealed by the top learning platforms that there is 26% increase in the user registrations between April and May compared to the year before.
Major steps are taken by the different state governments, for instance, the Chhattisgarh government launched the Padhai Tuhar Dwar (Education to your doorstep) portal. This allows teachers and students to register online, where the online classes will take place in order not to stop the learning. But sudden digitalization for everyone can not be an easy jump. There are many districts where there is a lack of digitalization and network access.
Dolly, a 10th class student in the District of Raipur said that “I don’t have smartphones or computers, therefore, used my neighbor’s phone to register on the portal. But not able to attend online classes because I cannot keep buying them phone regularly”.
On the other hand, when private institutions are adapting this online platform quickly. India’s EdTech market leader Byju’s saw three times increase in the web traffic and number of students accessing its app. Other startup EdTech platforms are also growing exponentially at this time. Now, where the use of EdTech applications is on the hike, the exam preparation platforms GradeUp has launched campaigns such as PadhaiNhiRukegi and Toppr, which offers a platform where students prepare for entrance exams like IIT JEE, NEET, BITSAT saw the 100% growth in the monthly paid users.
Everyone talks about the growth of India’s online Education System without working on the present situation. How can you succeed in the future without working in the present?
According to the Indian government national sample survey, less than one-fourth of the households have internet access. The telecom regulatory authority of India indicates that 78% of the Indians have mobile phones, out of which only 57% reside in the rural area where the bulk of the population resides. A recent survey by Quantum Satis shows that out of 7500 students, 72.6% use the mobile hotspot feature for internet connectivity and 97% of them face signal issues, only 15% use the broadband connection.
Even before coming up to the situation of lack of gadget availability and an internet connection, there are more issues to consider about such as electricity. Rural areas are the ones who face the power supply problem. 16% received 1-8 hours of electricity daily, 33% received 9-12 hours and only 47% received more than 12 hours. Besides this, some schools also provide mid-day meals to the family below the poverty line. They act as a lifesaver for those people. But due to pandemic around 9.12 crore, Indian children lost access to midday meals. It’s tragic right!
The Delhi government reached out for some plan under “Learning with Human Scheme” to maintain the digital divide.
- The teacher will guide students through Whatsapp from KG to 8th Grade.
- The teacher will share the study material on Whatsapp for 9th-10th class students.
- The teacher will take online sessions for 11th-12th class students.
This pandemic brings the large diversion in India’s Education system but the future of this sector depends on how the government will provide this system to the largely under-served population of this country. To be able to afford an education at a low cost is naturally a priority for every individual!