66% of schools didn’t have internet access in 21-22 academic year: Report

In the 2021-22 academic year, the education system worked in the online mode in view of the Covid-19 pandemic

At least 55.5% of the 14,89,115 schools in the country did not have computer facilities, and 66% were without internet access in the 2021-22 academic year when the education system worked in the online mode in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, said a Union education ministry report has said.

The Unified District Information System for Education (UIDSE+) report, which was released on Thursday, is based on voluntary data from government and private schools. It said only 6,82,566 schools had computers in the academic year 2021-22 while 5, 04, 989 of them had internet connectivity.

The report highlighted the digital gaps among schools. It said only 2.2% of the schools had digital libraries and that only 14.9% of them had “smart classrooms”, used for teaching with digital boards, smart boards, and smart TVs.

The report highlighted 10.6% of the schools did not have electricity and 23.04% were without playgrounds. As many as 12.7% did not have libraries and reading rooms.

Only 26.96% of schools had children with special needs (CWSN)-friendly toilets and less than 50% had ramps with handrail facilities in 2021-22, the report said. Despite the lack of facilities, the enrolment of CWSN students increased by 3.4% in 2021-22.

The report said the number of Scheduled Caste (SC) students increases from primary to higher secondary. “It has gone up to 4.83 crore from 4.78 crore in 2020-21. Similarly, total Scheduled Tribe (ST) students have gone up from 2.49 crore to 2.51 crore and Other Backward Caste (OBC) students from 11.35 crore to 11.49 crore during 2020-21 and 2021-22,” the ministry said in a statement.

Additional indicators have been added to the UDISE+ report in line with the National Education Policy 2020. The report said over 2.47 million students have been identified as “gifted children” and 980000 have been provided with mentors.