Only 46 per cent students have smartphone access in Odisha

64.6 per cent of children surveyed in ASER had 1 smartphone at home;  19.2 per cent of them had no access to the gadget for studies

Published: 18th November 2021 09:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th November 2021 10:00 AM   |  A+A-

digital, online classes

Representational image (Express Illustrations | Somyadip Sinha)

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: Even as rural Odisha saw an increase in smartphone ownership in the last three years, children’s access to the gadgets for online classes during the pandemic continues to remain a burning issue, revealed the latest Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) survey.

The 16th ASER report released on Wednesday, November 17, 2021, pointed out that the percentage of children with at least one smartphone available at home was found to be 64.6 per cent this year against 26.1 per cent in 2018. But, when it comes to access, only 46.5 per cent of children had a smartphone with them at all times and 34.3 per cent had the phone with them some times. At least 19.2 per cent of the children surveyed had smartphones in their home but the gadget was not available to them for studies.

During closure of schools due to Covid in 2020, the proportion of enrolled children who received learning support at home also remained low for government schools with the sharpest drop visible in higher grades. Around 66.7 per cent children of government schools who were interviewed said that they got family support in learning at home and the percentage was 77.2 in case of those in private schools.

The silver lining during the pandemic was that a majority of enrolled children have textbooks for their current grade and this proportion has increased over the last year, for children enrolled in both government and private schools. While 88.6 per cent students in both government and private schools had their textbooks of current grade last year, the percentage rose to 98.3 in the current year. 

But when it comes to learning activities, while 66 per cent children of government schools had access to tradition learning materials like books and worksheets, just 18.5 heard the classes that were broadcast through radio and 28.2 per  cent children took the online classes. 

This apart, the State saw a marginal rise in enrollment of students to government schools in the current academic session as compared to the 2020. Besides, more number of students including younger children have started taking tuitions since schools closed down due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The percentage of children in the age group of 6 to 14 enrolled in government schools is 83.7 as compared to 81.5 in the year 2020. 

The current survey revealed that children going to tuition has become a major feature of Odisha’s educational landscape. In 2018, well over 50 per cent of children of school going age in Odisha were taking some form of tuition classes. In 2021, this figure crossed 60 per cent in the State. 


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