LUCKNOW: Smartphones became the new classrooms for children as Covid pandemic led to the closure of schools.
ASER report points out a sharp increase in visibility of smartphones at homes in UP. Though the proportion of children from households with TV and motorized vehicles changed only slightly between 2018 and 2020, the number of them owning a smartphone jumped from 30.4% to 53.7% in the past two years.
And the rise wasn’t restricted to families sending their kids to private schools. Now, 44.9% children enrolled in government schools own a smartphone at home. Two years ago, smartphone was available with only 19.8% families of children enrolled in government schools. In families where children attend private schools, smartphones are available in 64.2% homes as against 38.9% two years ago.
Also, Covid pandemic had relatively little impact on children’s tuition. ASER revealed that 75% children got some help for their studies at home. More than half (58%) children got help from their parents who had studied upto class 5 or below. In families where both parents had studied above Class 9, support was received by 88.6% children, the report said. However, despite the best effort by the government, only 21% of all children surveyed in UP received any learning material or activities from their schools during the lockdown, as per the ASER report.
Traditional teaching-learning material like textbooks and workbooks were used by 52.3% and 33.1% children, respectively, of both private and government schoolchildren. Video-recorded classes were widely used by 21.6% children enrolled in private schools as against 12.2% enrolled in government schools. WhatsApp was the most common medium for receiving study material for both government and private school going children. For government school going children, personal visits or initiatives by teachers also played an important medium in receiving materials.
According to the report, schools not sending material was the main reason reported by 58.8% households, for children not receiving material. Interestingly, 60.7% children enrolled in private schools cited this reason as compared to 57.3% children enrolled in government schools.