The challenges with mobile learning in North-East India
As per the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) (Rural) 2020, only 52.4 per cent of government school students and 78.3 per cent of those studying in private schools in the state have access to smartphones.
“The ASER report was published after the first major study carried out across the country following the breakout of COVID-19. Many students don’t have smartphones. And even among the ones who have smartphones, many are not well conversant enough with the technology to attend online classes. Thus, they can’t access the learning materials being circulated online,” Trishna Lekharu, research manager at Assam chapter of Pratham Education Foundation, which compiled the report said.
Covering both government and private schools, the percentage of students having smartphones in their families in some other North-East states are 84.3% in Manipur, 81.8% in Nagaland, 81.1% in Arunachal Pradesh, and 72% in Meghalaya.
The survey, which was carried out in September, found that schools circulated most learning materials on WhatsApp.
Therefore, the learning process of students who did not have a smartphone or other devices was severely affected.
Even among those who had smartphones, the number of students who could access learning materials and logged in to attend classes was 71.3% in Nagaland, 50.1% in Arunachal Pradesh, 30% in Manipur, 28.3% in Meghalaya, and 24.9% in Assam.
Among them, the number of children who received learning materials and engaged in activities through WhatsApp was 93.7% in Arunachal Pradesh, 84.9% in Nagaland, 81.4% in Assam, 75.3% in Manipur, and 59.5% in Meghalaya.