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Business News/ Education / News/  Half the students in rural India can access smartphones, but most use it for entertainment: Report
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Half the students in rural India can access smartphones, but most use it for entertainment: Report

Parents in rural India believe in providing equal educational opportunities to both boys and girls, according to a survey by the Development Intelligence Unit.

Rural Indian parents believe in equal educational opportunities for boys and girls, according to a survey by DIU.Premium
Rural Indian parents believe in equal educational opportunities for boys and girls, according to a survey by DIU.

Pan-India survey conducted by the Development Intelligence Unit (DIU) reveals that parents from rural communities firmly believe in providing equal educational opportunities to both boys and girls, irrespective of gender. The report, titled 'State of Elementary Education in Rural India - 2023,' was officially unveiled during the India Rural Colloquy - A Rural Renaissance in Delhi on August 8, 2023. 

The survey, a collaboration between Transform Rural India and Sambodhi Research and Communications highlights the progress towards gender-neutral education in rural India. The study encompassed 6 to 16-year-old children in rural areas across 20 states in India, and the findings showed that 78 percent of parents of girls and 82 percent of parents of boys aspire to educate their children to graduation and beyond. 

Promoting inclusive education

The report emphasizes on the importance of recognising and supporting these common and progressive aspirations of parents to foster an inclusive environment in education. Acknowledging and nurturing this positive trend can lead to sustainable opportunities for both boys and girls in rural India. "We hope that our policymakers, educational institutions, and other stakeholders will acknowledge these common aspirations to establish an inclusive environment that ensures growth and development for every child in rural India," said Javed Siddiqui, the Lead for Education at Transform Rural India.

Also read: Cost of education in India: Exploring expenses and inflation rates

Survey insights and other key findings

The survey gathered responses from 6,229 parents, including those with school-going students, dropouts, and children who had never enrolled in school. In addition to the encouraging aspirations towards education, the survey also shed light on other important factors in rural education:

Increased access to smartphones: Nearly half, 49.3 percent of students in rural India have access to smartphones. However, a significant portion, 76.7 percent of these students primarily use their phones for entertainment purposes, such as playing video games and watching movies. Only 34 percent of smartphone-accessible students use their devices for study-related downloads, while 18 percent access online learning through tutorials.

Also read: Online education is inadequate for reasons we have long known

Learning environment at home: The survey revealed that 40 percent of parents have age-appropriate reading materials available at home, beyond school books. Additionally, only 40 percent of parents engage in daily conversations with their children about their school learning, while 32 percent have such discussions a few days a week.

Reasons for dropout and out-of-school children: Among the parents of 56 students who dropped out of school, 36.8 percent mentioned that their daughters' dropout was due to the need to contribute to the family's earnings. For boys, the primary reason for dropping out was lack of interest in studies, cited by 71.8 percent of parents.

Parental participation: A positive aspect observed was that 84 percent of parents regularly attend parent-teacher meetings, demonstrating their active involvement in their children's education.

The India Rural Colloquy 2023, where the report was launched, serves as a platform for thought leaders in development, culture, business, and other fields to come together and find actionable solutions to rural India's challenges.

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Updated: 09 Aug 2023, 12:06 AM IST
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