Opposition MPs highlight digital divide among students during COVID-19 crisis in India
Members of Parliament of India Lok Sabha House of the People flagged out how the COVID-19 crisis unveiled a digital divide in India where some students do not have access either to the internet or other medium of learning aids, i.e. tablets and smartphones. ‘It should be a matter of great shame for us and even in my own state of Kerala, which is supposed to be an education beacon for the country, we had incidents like that of the death of a school topper, a class 10 student who hailed from a Dalit family in dire economic conditions. When classes were shifted online, her father was a daily wager and he had no wages coming in during the pandemic and the lockdown. They were unable to give her a smartphone to follow online classes,’ noted Congress member Shashi Tharoor. He further accentuated that the new National Education Policy (NEP) and any other government schemes should address the digital divide. In response, Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ highlighted the government’s endeavours to bridge the digital divide. ‘We have started One Class, One Channel to community channels initiatives,’ Pokhriyal noted.