Survey on School Students: Economic Survey 2020-21 presented by the Union Finance Minster Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday stated that online schooling took off in a big way during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Quoting the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2020 Wave-1 (Rural), released in October 2020, the Economic Survey 2020-21 stated that the percentage of enrolled children from government and private schools owning a smartphone increased enormously from 36.5 percent in 2018 to 61.8 percent in 2020 in rural India.
It further recommended that if utilized well, the reduction in the digital divide between rural and urban, gender, age and income groups was likely to reduce inequalities in educational outcomes.
To facilitate learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Central Government was implementing several initiatives to make education accessible to children.
An important initiative in this direction was PM eVIDYA which was a comprehensive initiative to unify all efforts related to digital, online and on-air education to enable multi-mode and equitable access to education for students and teachers.
As many as 92 courses started which 1.5 crore students were enrolled under Swayam MOOCs which were online courses relating to NIOS.
To mitigate the effect of COVID-19 pandemic, Rs. 818.17 crore was allotted to States/UTs to promote online learning through digital initiatives and Rs.267.86 crore for online teacher training under Samagra Shiksha Scheme, the Survey stated.
PRAGYATA guidelines on digital education have been developed with a focus on online/blended/digital education for students who are presently at home due to closure of schools. The MANODARPAN initiative for psychological support has been included in Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.
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