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‘Smartphone ownership up, could bridge digital divide’ – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Highlighting the enormous increase of smartphone ownership among enrolled students during the pandemic, the Survey stated that this could bridge the digital divide between rural and urban, gender, age and income groups and thus reduce inequalities in educational outcomes.
In order to mitigate the effect of Covid, the Centre allotted Rs 818.2 crore to states/ UTs to promote online learning through digital initiatives, and Rs 267.9 crore for online teacher training to ensure continuous professional development of teachers under Samagra Shiksha Scheme, it said.
With schools and other educational institutions closed since March 2020, children have been taught online from their homes. “Access to data network, electronic devices such as computer, laptop, smartphone etc. gained importance due to distance learning and remote working… percentage of enrolled children from government and private schools owning a smartphone increased enormously from 36.5% in 2018 to 61.8% in 2020 in rural India,” it said.
The survey also stated that the new National Education Policy, 2020 aims to pave the way for transformational reforms in school and higher education systems.
On the literacy front, the survey pointed out how the country is still 4% short of 100% literacy at elementary level and female literacy continues to be below the national average. “As per National Sample Survey, the literacy rate of persons of age seven years and above at the all-India level stood at 77.7% but the differences in literacy rate attainment among social-religious groups, as well as gender still persist.”

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