According to an old proverb, “if you are planning for a year, sow rice. If you are planning for a decade, plant trees. If you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.” The essence of this however is lost on the millions of children who have been forced to drop out of schools in rural India, or suffer in silence as they had limited to zero access to online learning during the lockdown.According to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), based on a survey conducted in September 2020, there has been a sharp rise in out-of-school children. Around 5.5 percent of children in rural India across different age groups are not currently enrolled in any schools. This, compared to 4 percent in 2018.Girls have been the worst affected. Around 5.7 percent of girls in rural India are not currently enrolled in any school.The ASER survey also points out that only 62 percent of those enrolled in rural schools had access to smartphones.However, around 11 percent of households in rural India bought a new phone for their child's education, and of this, over 80 percent opted for a smartphone.A recent Hindustan Times report also highlighted that over 1.66 lakh students studying in government and municipal schools in Delhi have dropped out after the focus shifted to online learning.So the big question is, how can one bring back students who have fallen off the grid during the lockdown?To discuss that, CNBC-TV18’s Shereen Bhan spoke to Anil Swarup, former school education secretary and founder chairman of Nexus of Good Foundation; Dr. Madhav Chavan, co-founder and President of Pratham; and BVR Mohan Reddy, the Executive Chairman of Cyient and Chairman of the CII Education Council.Watch video for more.