The Covid situation has strongly impacted the education sector. Schools are closed, exams are being cancelled, and there has been a major disruption in the entire system. As per NEP 2020, India has about 25 crore school going children out of which an estimated 6.2 crore children between the ages of 6 to 18 years were out of school in 2015. The average attendance of students enrolled in secondary school is only about 50%, out of which only 25-30% students actually go beyond class X.
The causes for such a large number of dropouts are cited as follows: Many students
find themselves falling increasingly behind in school as time passes by. Access to secondary schools remains a serious issue. In 2016-17, for every 100 primary schools/ sections in India, there were about 50 upper primary schools/sections, 20 secondary schools/sections, and only about nine higher secondary schools/sections.
Socio-cultural and economic issues also play a significant role in dropout rates. For example, young children are not sent to school because of perceived roles of gender, caste or child labour and pressure on children to work and earn or even because of harmful practices like child marriages. There are serious issues of inadequate infrastructure and lack of safety. Whilst a lot has been done over the years to get these students back to school, especially the ones who ‘want’ to study but are not able to go to school, yet the result hasn’t been encouraging. This is where affordable e-learning comes into the picture.
Schooling through smartphones
Though the shift from traditional learning to digital was happening even earlier but at a very slow pace. Covid -19 has given online education a huge boost. Availability of devices and cheap access to internet is also playing a major role in the proliferation of online education. The penetration was earlier limited by
access to computers, but now it has been boosted by smartphones.Drawing inspiration from gurukuls during the past era, the digital gurukuls with teachers and trainers who have a passion for their art and skill and love of teaching, can teach those who share the same passion and need proper guidance and skill training.
Digital education caters to one of the most important needs of the human race — freedom. Freedom from years of trotting unwillingly to the school, to choose the teacher, and finally and most importantly, the freedom to study the subjects of choice. Online learning offers equality of educational opportunity that makes children, even in the remote areas, get the same quality of education as children in metros. Now, no one has an excuse for not studying.
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