On-line education might help cut back inequalities in academic outcomes, says Financial Survey


Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 29

While most of the schools remained closed due to Covid-induced restrictions, children were taught online and percentage of enrolled children from government and private schools owning smart-phones increased enormously “from 36.5 per cent in 2018 to 61.8 per cent in 2020 in rural India”.  

If utilised well, the resultant reduction in digital divide between rural and urban, gender, age and income groups is likely to reduce inequalities in educational outcomes, stated the Economic Survey tabled by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament today. Quoting the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2020 Wave-1 (Rural), it pointed that percentage of enrolled children from government and private schools increased from 36.5 per cent in 2018 to 61.8 per cent in 2020 in rural India. 

The Survey says India will have the highest population of young people in the world over the next decade. The ability to provide high-quality educational opportunities to them will determine the future of the country. India has attained a literacy level of almost 96 per cent at the elementary school level but it is still behind in achieving 100 per cent literacy. As per the National Sample Survey, the literacy rate of persons of age seven years and above at the all-India level is 77.7 per cent and female literacy remained below national average among social groups of SC, ST, OBC, including religious groups of Hinduism and Islam.

To provide quality education in schools and institutions of the government in affordable and competitive manner, the government had announced the new National Education Policy, 2020 replacing the 34-year old National Policy on Education, it said. 

Meanwhile, it also noted the initiatives launched by the government to make education accessible to children and facilitate learning during the pandemic, including PM eVIDYA that aims to enable multi-mode and equitable access to education for students and teachers. 

Around 92 courses have started and 1.5 crore students are enrolled under Swayam MOOCs which are online courses relating to NIOS, it added. To mitigate the effect of COVID-19, Rs 818.17 crore is allotted to States and UTs to promote online learning through digital initiatives and Rs 267.86 crore for online teacher training under Samagra Shiksha Scheme, it said

PRAGYATA guidelines on digital education have been developed with a focus on online/blended/digital education for students who are presently at home due to the closure of schools, while the ‘Manodarpan’ initiative for psychological support has been included in Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. 



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