The wake of the Global pandemic and its continuous growth by seconds around has now forced us to transform the centuries-old chalk talk teaching model to the one driven by technology. And now this is pressurizing our governments and policy makers to design a well-effective e-Learning platform in order to create a resilient education system.
Positive changes in technology to make life easier is acceptable as it creates opportunities out of the hurdles the pandemic has offered..but what happens when these developments are focused only on a privileged section of people alone?
Even though India is the second largest internet user base in the world and home to 630 million internet users, the reality of increasing digital divide will hit us in the face. Digital divide refers to the unequal access of Information and Communication Technology or unequal acquisition of related skills. Digital divide in India can be classified on the basis of many factors like gender, income, locations etc..which even shows the depth and dimensions of the prevailing social inequalities.
As India is a country where 66 percent of its people live in villages, this further enlarges its digital divide. The states like Bihar, UP and Orissa which shows poor Human Development indicators are way back in its internet use density. Remote mountainous regions of Himachal Pradesh, deserts of Rajasthan and forests of Madhya Pradesh also fall under the shackles of digital exclusion. The chains of patriarchal setup, lower literacy, financial dependence and no digital awareness of women too makes them stay back in gaining digital access. 70 percent of Indian internet users are male while only 30 percent are female users. Certain prejudices like digital empowerment will be a threat to social order and also adds fuel to this fire.
India, the country which lives under the illusions of; developing, fastest growing economy and the largest democracy of the world.., has exposed its rash inequalities and poor face during the phase of this pandemic already. And now the paths are leading to showcase the very pathetic situation of digital India.
It is a total blunder to introduce digital education overnight in a country where internet shutdowns are common, where even the government does not hold the records of internet shutdowns, where a complete state of Kashmir is held under lockdown for 300 days without internet and telecommunications, where there are no proper infrastructure to aid internet usage for the majority of people and where a huge percentage of people are daily workers and whom cannot afford the data charges as they are left jobless because of the lockdown. Such a situation will push us into the depths of ignorance as we fail to ensure the basic education. The result will be more suicides, more deprivation of rights and more uneducated citizens.
What we need at any cost is an inclusive model of digital education, a redefined and innovative aspect of e-learning where every student from every corner of this country gets access to education. Creating digital awareness and introducing kickstart programs to set up basic Infrastructures and provisions is the need of the hour. For justice delayed is justice denied.