PATNA: At a time when online study has been the only option available for students owing to the Covid pandemic, only 14% of the school students in Bihar have access to computers.
According to the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) report released recently, less than one in five schools had working computers and only a limited number of them had internet connection. It is even more surprising to know that 73% students in neighbouring Jharkhand have had access to computers, the report said.
Right since the imposition of nationwide lockdown in March last year owing to the rise in Covid-19 cases, schoolchildren had to adopt the digital technology for pursuing education. The availability of digital education via live, synchronous teaching on apps like Zoom or through recorded lectures, emails, WhatsApp or educational apps were entirely dependent on whether schools, teachers and parents had access to the necessary infrastructure required.
Education minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary admitted that the state did not have the desired application of digital technology in schools. In an economically backward state, especially in rural areas, the children did not possess digital device for continuing with their online studies during the pandemic.
The minister said the government is already seized of this problem and had, some time back, requested the central government to sanction necessary funds under Samagra Shiksha Yojana for providing necessary digital devices like smartphones and laptops to the students and install good number of computers with internet connectivity in all the schools so that our children do not suffer.
Bihar Public Service Commission’s former member Shiv Jatan Thakur said it is really disgraceful for the state that 86% of its schoolchildren were deprived of the online education facility due to lack of digital technology. Consequently, a major percentage of the state’s human capital won’t be able to contribute their worth to the economic development of the state, he said.