The minister’s numbers are gaining momentum amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent migration to online teaching.

Over 2.96 crore students in India do not have access to digital devices, Education Minister Dharmendra Kumar said while rAnswer to a parliamentary question posted by BJP Lok Sabha MP Sushil Kumar Singh.

According to data shared by the minister, Bihar ranks at the top of the state with over 1.4 million students who do not have access to digital devices, followed by Jharkhand with about 35 lakhs of such students. Tripura ranks the lowest of any state in India with 13,909 students without access to digital devices.

Why is it important? Since the pandemic began in March 2020 and the lockdown was announced at about the same time last year, see pSchools have largely been closed in several parts of India and have had to switch to online classes. More and more students are dependent on cell phones or laptops with Internet access in order to be able to attend classes. Lack of access to digital devices contributes to the growing inequalities in access to education that students face across the country. A report by the Ministry of Education had previously shown that last year only 22% of state schools had access to the internet.

Further figures from the Minister of Education

States where the following percentage of children do not have access to digital devices:

  • Delhi – 4%
  • Jammu and Kashmir – 70%
  • Madhya Pradesh – 70%
  • Punjab – 42%
  • Chhattisgarh – 28.27%

States for which no data was available on the number of children who do not have access to digital devices:

  • Arunachal Pradesh
  • Goa
  • Maharashtra
  • Manipur
  • Uttar Pradesh

Data for union territories such as the Andaman and Nicobar Islands were also not available, while the survey to collect such data is still ongoing in West Bengal, according to the Minister of Education’s response.

Only 2 in 10 schools have access to internet facilities: report

Another question from Congressman Lok Sabha, Hibi Eden, about the impact of digital education, the education minister said listed the number of schools in each state that have access to Internet facilities. Rajasthan ranked highest with 16,332 schools that had access to education, while Mizoram ranked lowest with 60 such schools.

According to a Report of the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE +) Last month, Out of more than 15 Lakh schools in India, only 22% of schools had internet access last year. In addition, only 37.13% of schools had working computer facilities. That The digital divide was more evident in the states, as most of the Union Territories performed well for both computer availability and internet access.

States with the highest percentage of Internet access:

  • Kerala – 87.4%
  • Gujarat – 70.76%
  • Punjab – 48.96%

Kerala and Gujarat were the only two states that had internet access in more than half of the schools.

States with the lowest percentage of internet access:

  • Tripura – 3.85%
  • Meghalaya – 3.88%
  • Assam – 5.82%

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