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    HRD ministry makes 1st attempt to know student access to net and computer

    Synopsis

    Only 24% Indian households have Internet access, there is no clear assessment yet on the subject.

    The HRD ministry is learnt to be making a first attempt towards assessing how many students exactly may be faced with serious disadvantages without access to devices and the net. This, it is felt, will help both the Centre and states come up with a better-targeted strategy.
    NEW DELHI: With no signs of schools reopening, the government is faced with the challenge of ensuring access to education to a huge number of students who do not have access to a computer or the Internet.

    The Union human resource development ministry has this week begun asking statesto compile data on the number of students who may not have access to computers or computer-like devices and the Internet, people in the know told ET. The move is learnt to have come after a nudge by the Prime Minister’s Office. The HRD ministry did not respond till press time Tuesday to ET’s queries.

    While a recent Unicef report said more than 270 million students in India have been impacted by the school closure due to Covid-19 and that only 24% Indian households have Internet access, there is no clear government assessment yet on the subject.

    The HRD ministry is learnt to be making a first attempt towards assessing how many students exactly may be faced with serious disadvantages without access to devices and the net. This, it is felt, will help both the Centre and states come up with a better-targeted strategy.

    Digital Divide
    Digital Divide

    Top officials from the ministries of HRD, telecom and electronics and IT are learnt to have been part of the discussion held last month on bridging the digital divide. It is gathered that directions were given to ensure Internet access and availability of devices at every panachayat office and government educational institution. While the existing Bharatnet scheme envisaged optical fibre access to every panchayat, it is yet to cover all areas.

    ET gathers that directions have been given to expand connectivity on fast track and within the next two months, so that children can avail of learning modules until schools reopen. The HRD ministry is also, meanwhile, working on guidelines for digital education with specific provisions for children without Internet and device access. It has advocated TV- and radio-based programmes beaming out at panchayat community halls, besides teachers addressing student queries on a weekly basis over the phone or WhatsApp.
    (Catch all the Business News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on The Economic Times.)

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    34 Comments on this Story

    Sheo Nandan Pandey34 days ago
    The internet facility was just one thing. There is then issue of operational dimensions. When the system did not work faultlessly in capital city of Delhi, what could be said about the households in exteriors.
    S. SUNDARARAMAN SRINIVASAN35 days ago
    The big bucks hi-tech tools & top brains... used for poll campaigns.. perception/image build up of top neta... even if half of it was applied in taking governance calls.. some foresight... digitization would have meant what it was supposed to be...? Here Modi Image Boosters get max. focus - nauseatingly again and again such image bloat / gloat sessions.. in dif. ways... have absolutely no bearing on ground realities.. bitter state of the economy & its worst off-shoots, much before the virus call here...? UNLESS IMAGE BLOAT/GLOAT SPREE ON MODIJI subsides... we can't expect much from the jumla BJP misrule.. 6 years already wasted.. without any reforms.. any field/any topic/any section of the society...MODI IMAGE BOOSTERS TAKE FRONT LINE FOCUS... how can our vast nation with so much hidden potentials progress in such Hero Worship Superman cult.. in distasteful repeated hammering- tearing the ear drums.. searing the retina.. of crores of citizens....who are looking for a break through from rotten/outdated systems which are under safe custody of Modi *& Co....????? They don't even know computer reach.. or what it takes towards on-line education - basics...???? GOK
    Hello35 days ago
    I read mechanical by choice became software engineer by job compulsion. That's what happens in india.
    The Economic Times