Education plays a significant role in empowering people, as most people in India are aware. It not only opens up opportunities for people for future jobs but also helps develop their personality. While education is a basic right, a significant portion of India is currently facing illiteracy. India’s rural areas make up approximately 67% of India’s population, and many of these people are still illiterate. Due to the pandemic, the already plagued education sector in rural areas has turned even worse. Due to the contagious nature of COVID19, the pandemic has ensured that education is halted for these regions. Those living in such rural areas have not been as fortunate when it comes to resuming their education in the lockdown, like in the big cities.
Some of these problems can be solved by digitising the access to education. It might seem near difficult to manage this feat. Considering that COVID lacks a cure currently, the government will still have to prepare for holding exams in an online assessment mode. This issue holds significance because pausing education in rural areas can have ill effects socially in this uncertain future. Even if it is a pandemic blocking the way, education and examinations cannot be paused midway.
Keeping this situation in mind, the government should find pathways to solve this problem. At the same time, using online assessment examination company like Vensysco, that work as a test delivery provider, could help share the burden as well. An agency like Vensysco organises and manages examinations for exam authorities. They are well versed and also usually use homegrown IT solutions to conduct secure examinations. This is mostly useful when government resources are stretched thin and need to be supported by third party agencies. This solution is not only for government schools, or government-assisted schools of course. A rise in the number of private schools in rural areas shows popularity towards that medium. As such it is just as much their responsibility to avail test delivery services for their rural students.
Schooling Problems Faced in Rural Areas
In rural regions, school education is either attained through Government schools or aided by the Government instead. Being one nation, there is still an urban-rural divide, and education in these areas suffer for this reason. Urban education is known to have a better quality education that is not usual for rural areas. The education sector in these areas faces quite a few challenges. Few of the challenges faced by students from rural areas are as follows:
- Scarcity In The Number Of Schools – Transportation problems already riddle these regions. To add to this, there are a limited number of schools present in these regions. Both of these scenarios coming together, discourage parents from sending their children far away for schooling.
- Communication In English – The status of English being an international language increases its significance every day. Yet, rural schooling focuses on teaching the vernacular tongue. This results in poor skills in the language, and lowered interests in the science stream later in the future.
- Inadequate Learning Outcomes – The teaching quality in most rural schools isn’t as good as in urban areas. Either the teaching staff isn’t qualified enough, or there is a lack of teaching materials. According to the Annual Status of Education Report 2018, only 73% of 7th standard students could read a 2nd standard text, and only 44% of students from 7th standard could solve basic maths problems.
Students from these regions also usually do not have access to digital tools and are computer illiterate. As per the ASER 2018 report, 55.5% of rural students have never used a computer.
Solving the situation
COVID adds another layer of challenges for these rural students. There is not only a general lack of awareness which accounts for the dangerous rise in COVID cases in India but also a lack of dependable healthcare facilities in rural areas. A combination of these situations is a good reason why parents are discouraged to send children out for education. But there are still some solutions that can ease these problems, even amid the pandemic. Some of these are listed below:
- Setting Up Teaching-Centres – The government, with the help of volunteer teaching staff, can work to set up small teaching-centres. These centres will only cater to a small number of students from the vicinity. Setting up a few of these centres in a locality can ensure that every school-going child is going to continue receiving education. This will also make sure that social distancing norms are followed. These centres could also serve offline assessment centres organised by the government or other third party agencies.
- Digital Tools – While the cities have been blessed with digital technology assisting them with education, the rural areas haven’t been so fortunate. Students attending schools in villages do not get access to digital medium for easier learning. Making such tools as tablets accessible to children can allow them to easily access a lot of study materials without the need to buy any of them. This could help them with saving money as well.
- Expand Internet Reach – The internet opens up the door to the world. People in urban and developed portions of the world know how they can access any information from anywhere in the world. This makes it an important tool in promoting education. A laptop or tablet may help with education, but having an internet connection does a lot more for both students and teachers.
It is not only how much knowledge a student can have access to, but it is a good tool for collaboration among students. Helping expand the reach of reliable internet connectivity in rural areas can help out education by a lot.
Currently, India’s literacy rate is at 77.7%. While this is something to feel proud of, this also means that there are still a lot of young people in India currently who have not had any formal education. Unfortunately, the education system has not been able to help them. Gradually cities are expanding and rural areas are modernising. With that thought, one can hope that more people from rural areas will be able to see the light of education.