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ASER: Only 50% pupils in state had smartphone access during pandemic – Times of India

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BHUBANESWAR: Nearly 50% of the students in Odisha have smartphones. While 44.2% of the students of government schools have access to the gadget in the state, 75.1% of the private schoolchildren have it.

During the pandemic, 24.7% of the students could not study owing to lack of smartphones, 20.5% could not attend online classes owing to connectivity issues and 6.2% failed to attend classes as they did not have any internet connection.

This was revealed in the 15th Annual Status of Education Report (ASER 2020 Wave) released online on Wednesday. The survey was conducted in September and focused on children’s access to and use of learning materials and the impact of the closure of schools on them since March owing to the pandemic.

However, the state government has been offering classes through Doordarshan and the All India Rradio (AIR) to bridge the gap in learning through online classes between the students of government and private schools.

The survey revealed that 11.1% of the parents of students (10.2% of the government school students and 13.2% of the private schools students) bought a new phone for their wards since the lockdown was imposed. Of the parents who bought the new phones, 81.7% purchased smartphones. Among those with no smartphones in the household, barely 12.7% of the children have access to any other smart phone, the survey revealed.

As many as 50.6% of the children of private schools in the state received learning materials from schools, while only 18.5% of the children in government schools received study materials from schools, the survey added. Among the mediums used for education, WhatsApp was the most popular as 76.3% children received study materials there while 8.3% children got it through phone calls and 16.8% through personal visits. Among the students, 69.7% of the government schoolchildren and 88.5% of the private school ones received the study materials on WhatsApp, the study pointed out.

“The government has taken steps to bridge the gap in online education. It formed committees that will map and identify the availability of the resources already available on online platforms like MadhuApp, DikshaApp or portal, Khan Academy, Byjus. Wherever the gaps are identified, resource persons should be engaged for preparing online materials,” a senior official of the school and mass education department said.





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