Education these days, a digital divide


Since everything went online in 2020, education and learning has come within our comfortable reach which is our homes. But for many this digitalisation has made education inaccessible. 

“Migrant and displaced children already face a lot of obstacles in accessing classrooms, from issues while enrolling to coping up with language barriers” – UNICEF

In a diversity, where migrants who have no awareness regarding education and technology, also live migrants who are trying to learn more each day. 

Regarding the migrant communities in Bangalore, Simon who is the founder of DiyaGhar said, “People do not know the importance of education, they are unaware of the fact that education can help them and their children lead a better life”. 

When the pandemic hit India last year, the majority of migrants rushed back to their hometowns. “They exhausted all they had back at home”, said Simon who has been working for the communities settled in Bangalore. 

Hence when the second wave hit Indian states, a lot of migrants were left with no choice but to stay put in cities they were working. 

The World Bank has suggested that COVID-19 will push some 40 to 60 million people into extreme poverty, forecasting stark economic consequences.

These empty pockets that aren’t enough to satisfy one’s stomach, cannot be expected to switch to smartphones or online learning.

Pinky, a teacher at Diya Ghar started teaching migrant children in communities such as in Horamavu Bangalore. “We have to start from scratch as these children do not know how to hold a pencil”, said Pinky. There are communities in Bangalore where parents still do not know about the Anganwadi schools, which shows how important it is to first spread awareness about education, she added.

Where there are communities that lack knowledge about education and school, there are also communities that were sending their children to nearby schools before the Covid-19, like the bengali community in Thubarahalli Bangalore and few migrant families in Lucknow.

Though children in these families want to study and are determined to continue their education, schools are shut.

Dinesh Kumar Prajapati fears his child will forget whatever was being taught to him in school. He said, “Children do not study when the teacher is not in front of them, homework given through whatsapp messages is not education”.

He added that he is worried that his child might lose the interest in studies as most of the children do. 

His son Atharva Prajapati is 10 years old who plays with other kids in the community the entire day, according to his father he barely sits to study. 

Many parents like Shaheen Mirza want their children to study so they do not face difficulties like their parents did, but the lockdown and Covid-19 is making them fear if their children will ever be able to go to school. 

Since last year no public record has been made for migrants settled all over the country which makes it evitable for their problems to go missing on paper. 

A plea was filed in the Supreme Court by the Child Rights Trust which stated that “Migrant children affected due to Covid-19 are still working in brick kilns, stone crusher units, construction sites, rice mills, plantations and other sectors where children as young as 5 years lend a hand to help their parents earn their daily sustenance”. 

The plea filed through Rukhsana Choudhary brought the issue before the public, laying emphasis on the ignorance towards these migrant children who in many states don’t even have food to eat. The plea even showed how the most vulnerable are the ones nobody talks about. 

The global pandemic has pushed back economies, no wonder how back these migrants will be pushed to. Hence it has become important for the government to look into the issue because “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela.


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