Bhubaneswar: A recent survey has revealed that only about 6 lakh students have access to digital learning. This is contrary to the government’s claim that 33 per cent of the 60 lakh students in the age group of 6 to 14 years pursuing elementary education in Odisha are attending online classes.
Save the Children and Odisha RTE Forum conducted the survey titled ‘Paused Classrooms’, which was released on Wednesday.
The study is aimed at understanding the education scenario, particularly pre-school and elementary education during the COVID-19 pandemic in Odisha. It stated that the pandemic has not only slowed down the learning process among children but also created a digital disparity among students in urban and rural parts of Odisha. According to the study, the School and Mass Education department did not take into consideration the infrastructure and connectivity issues in rural parts of the state before launching the online education programme, reported The New Indian Express.
The study pointed out that the Odisha Shiksha Sanjog programme — aimed at e-learning during the COVID-19 pandemic — has been unable to cover even 50 per cent of the school students except in the Khurda district.
The School and Mass Education department last year launched the programme to engage students in the learning process through WhatsApp groups. Besides this, the COVID-19 pandemic the mother tongue-based learning has come to a complete halt for tribal children.
“No tribal student of primary grades is currently receiving learning materials in his/her mother tongue”, claimed the study.
According to the convenor of Odisha RTE Forum Anil Pradhan, online education was also a new concept for a majority of teachers who were technically weak.
“The online learning process has also been affected during the pandemic because teachers were not habituated to e-learning and often found it difficult to communicate with students. Hence, they were unable to conduct online classes regularly and properly”, Pradhan was quoted as saying in the report.