Only 8 percent of school students in rural India were able to access online education during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey. The survey conducted across 15 states shows that 37 percent of students in rural areas dropped out of schools in the last 18 months.
It was conducted by 100 volunteers in coordination with eminent economist Jean Dreze. More than 1,300 households were polled for a study titled "Emergency Report on School Education.”
It has been 17 months of school closures and it has led to "catastrophic consequences" for school students. The report also called the prolonged school lockdown, one of the longest in the world, which has led to a "colossal disaster".
The impact is pronounced in the rural areas where nearly 37 percent of the children have dropped out or are not studying at all as compared to 19 percent children in urban areas.
Only 8 percent in rural areas and a quarter of children in urban areas are actually studying regularly online. A large part is to do with access to smartphones where half the rural households sampled did not have a smartphone and even where the children did not have access to the gadget or there was no internet connectivity or no money for data packs.
Inability to pay the same school fees during lockdown also meant nearly 26 percent children had switched to government schools who were initially enrolled in private schools.
It further said that many other students are stuck in private schools still because the schools are insisting on making full payments before they can give the transfer certificates.
Watch the accompanying video of CNBC-TV18’s Archana Shukla for more details.