According to UNICEF’s Remote Learning Reachability report, just 24 per cent of Indian households have internet connections to access e-education. Further, there is a large rural-urban and gender divide that is likely to widen the learning gap across high, middle and low-income families, the report said.
UNICEF also expressed concerns over children from economically disadvantaged families struggling with access to remote learning.
The report further said that students, especially girls, from most marginalised communities do not have easy access to smartphones, and even if they do, internet connectivity is poor, and quality education content is often not available in vernacular languages.
Further, the report added that in India over 1.5 million schools have been closed due to the pandemic affecting 286 million children from pre-primary to secondary levels, of which 49 per cent are girls. This adds to the 6 million girls and boys who were already out of school prior to the Covid-19. In the report, UNICEF called for multiple pathways and outreach strategies to improve access and use of learning materials by children/students, especially in reaching the unreached because of the digital divide.