80% Children Left Without Access To Education During School Closures
A recent national survey showed that only 20 per cent of school-aged children who were enrolled in the formal education system received remote education during COVID-19 induced school closures.
A recent national survey showed that only 20 per cent of school-aged children who were enrolled in the formal education system received remote education during COVID-19 induced school closures. School-aged children were considered those between the ages of 5 and 18.
The survey was conducted by LIRNEasia, a regional think tank working on digital policy issues across the Asia Pacific, and ICRIER, a policy-oriented economic policy think tank based out of New Delhi.
The 2021 survey showed that access to education was greater among students residing in urban areas, from wealthier families, with more educated household heads, and in higher grades.
Many of the 20 per cents who were able to access education during school closures did so through multiple channels. However, these students’ experiences were heterogeneous. Only 55 per cent of students (of this small group who received some education) participated in live (real-time) online lessons, while 68 per cent watched recorded video lessons and 75 per cent had information and assignments communicated to their smartphones through channels such as WhatsApp. It is also noteworthy that 58 per cent of these students also had contact with schools through offline channels, with information and assignments being physically delivered to their homes. The other 80 per cent of children, however, were left behind.
The challenges faced by those receiving and not receiving education also differed. The parents of those who received education said their key challenges were their children not being attentive, schools being unprepared to deliver online education and high data costs. Meanwhile, the most cited challenges of those who didn’t receive education were poor connectivity (3G and 4G signal) in their area, and insufficient devices at home to meet the competing needs of all their family members.
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