Aren’t smartphones a luxury? Maybe even the internet!
Child Rights and You (CRY) conducted a survey among children of four southern states. This showed that 94% of the respondents do not have access to smartphones or the internet.
This is an important statistic with respect to education turning into e-learning today. The study was conducted in May-June. It covered 5,987 children. The information was collected through telephonic interviews. It covered Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The purpose of this study was to find the “internet accessibility” for children in the age group of 11-18 years. The CRY body said, “With schools closed and mobility restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CRY wanted to envisage the ground reality of the potential for online education.”
According to the study, most of the students in Karnataka had access to smartphones. Nine per cent of 1,445 respondents answered in the affirmative. In contrast, only three per cent of 1,740 respondents had smartphones in Tamil Nadu.
Another significant statistic was that the annual income of 95% of families is less than 1 lakh. This was crucial to point out the lack of resources and affordability as major concerns. Furthermore, this means that the smartphone is a luxury for two-thirds of these families.
Access to Smartphones
A small 6 per cent of children own smartphones. Whereas 29 per cent have to use their family member’s phones. Additionally, 55 per cent of the respondents can access smartphones only for three days a week or even less. While 77 per cent can access phone for less than 2 hours a day. Moreover, 94 per cent of children in the four states do not have access to either smartphone or the internet for online learning.
Increased Vulnerability of Marginalized Sections
The regional director at CRY South, Karthik Narayan, warned that the study shows children from marginalized sections are becoming more vulnerable. He explained the importance of education. While reminding how the online method is making it exclusive.
The Coronavirus Pandemic has forced schools and universities across the country to shut. However, to continue the learning process, online education is encouraged. This is problematic taking into view the accessibility of smartphones and internet facilities. If you are a student of DU, you are familiar with the struggle of online classes and exams. While this is a concern for students everywhere, it is mainly relevant to the Indian rural areas.