Author: Kushagra Gahlot
Undoubtedly, the COVID 19 pandemic has disrupted the normalcy of citizens of India by causing the closure of business, economy, and more importantly the educational sectors. As the medium of education throughout India during the COVID-19 pandemic has been shifted through online mode by the virtue of google meet, zoom etc.
The sustenance of online education depends solely upon internet connectivity and electricity, as our society is divided upon the ‘have’ and ‘have nots’. As the ‘have-nots have been compromised of more of poverty or below the poverty line backward class citizen, majority of the occupation of blue-collar job and residing in rural parts of the country or as migrants and whereas, the ‘have’ which are compromised in the urban area population consists of a hierarchy of rich, upper and lower middle class and majorly occupation of consisting of white-collar job. In this following article, where I sketch the ‘have’ and ‘haves not ‘compare the digital divide which is created by neglecting several factors by the stakeholders including the union and state government towards the rural background by the various survey conducted by the groups and the consequence of digital divide in the rural background which are plunging the children into the darkness and derailing their future.
The digital divide can be termed as demographic or area which has access to sustainable digital infrastructure and that area that does not have the access to digital infrastructure
While the haves and haves are not only been divided and discriminated upon the wealth, social status, caste religion etc. the COVID-19 pandemic has underlined another discriminating factor which is the digital division which persists in greater inequality between the two sects of people in the society.
As per the survey taken by the ASER group in 2020, 11 per cent of schools are using online classes in both the private aided schools and government schools, while resting 21.5 percentage of children are been assisted through recorded classes and the lone enrollment of education under government school compromises of just 8.1 percentage, well this is are just the data of enrollment of kids under the educational system which are worrisome.
Who has the smartphone/ internet connectivity/electricity? As from the sceptical of the article where the division between the society i.e. the ‘has and ‘has not’. The people falling under the category of haves have the accessible amount of sustain and move forward in terms of education. But, the problem persistent to be towards the ‘have nots’, where the majority of the population resides in underdeveloped rural sects of the society, as India is of diverse rural location which has been neglected by the union and state government’s which have made them plunge into the darkness of illiteracy during the pandemic, According to the survey taken out by ASER report by education non-profit Pratham that stated that only 18 per cent of the household received electricity up-to 8 hours,33 per cent of electricity received electricity up-to 9-13 hours, 47 per cent received more than 12 hours. , the number of villages been electrified that can sustain the digital infrastructure is not sufficient enough to handle online education,
The next problem arises in terms of education is does the “Have-not” own a smartphone or computer? As smartphones and computers have become a necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic for every citizen of all age groups. Even for a child of age 10 years the family, the pandemic has made a compulsion for all families to have a computer or a smartphone for online education, but this problem does not persist to be in a family of a middle or upper class i.e. the ‘has but it’s looming towards the lower-income class i.e. the have nots. In a survey report named 2017-’18 National Sample Survey report on education, which states that only 24% of households have internet facilities in India, as for the rural population concern just over 15 % have access to the internet facilities, only 8% per cent have computer facilities in a family and 20% of poorest household only 2% have access to a computer and 8.9% without an internet connection.  even from this survey, the contention arises do they have enough income even to afford basic internet service or an educational environment for their children’s online classes. census of 2011, which projected that 37% of the rural population have a one-room house, which the child will not have an educational environment to study.
CONSEQUENCES OF DIGITAL DIVIDE
The figures portray the catastrophic situation of children who are neglected by depleting digital infrastructure and which are neglected by all the stakeholders, which could derail the education in the younger which are been faced by such dire and irreparable consequences for such negligence,
An Oongoingsurvey conducted by BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) a civic administrative body which was directed by Karnataka high court, found that about, 33,344 from the age of 6-18 aren’t able to access education, whilst about 1,26,245 children aged about 3-6 aren’t able to access to education in rural parts of Karnataka and while in the urban area 8,781 which aren’t able to access education in the urban part of the state. While this tells the situation of ane particular state, the number could be the whole country.
In the previous Lok sabha session July-august 2021, where it was informed that about 3 crore students across the country are without a basic digital device to attend an online education, which subsequently spiked the rate of the drop out of the schoolsthe diversity of our nation were there might also be one digital device but digital infrastructure would be incompatible. To make mend with the non-availability of teachers, internet, several governments have started broadcasting education through television which has also been considerably disastrous as only 1% per cent of the rural children tend to watch those lessons which are been broadcasted through television and mainly due to the reason poverty and non-availability of such devices.
The consequences of non-availability of basic digital infrastructure which is relentlessly affecting the children, such as in the survey called SCHOOL CHILDRENS ONLINE AND OFFLINE LEARNING or SCHOOL, which was conducted and found that at least 48 per cent of surveyed children in rural India were able to read till limited words, while in urban India was 42 per cent, 37 %of children are not at all studied and 19% of children aren’t studying in an urban area. This is a massive contrast between the numbers of rural and urban i.e. haves and haves not. 
From the above figures and data of the various survey, which reckons the depleting education system which is plunging the rural population into the darkness of illiteracy due to the negligence by the union and state governments to develop a sustainable digital infrastructure, which is resulting in an educational crisis and graver digital divide.
As its true education is a massive weapon which empowers the children to fight inequalities .discrimination and contributes towards the social development but due to the increasing of illiteracy and closure of the educational institution, even certain government’s promoted this student for the year 2019-2020 and 2020-2021, even after promotion such students will suffer due to learning loss in the last two years. As our educational institution and teaching faculty are also been taught to teach the pupils through systematic guideline’s and textbook, which could make it more chaotic for children as there would be no knowledge of education.
Wishlist’s our constitution of India under Article 21-A which underlines and guarantee’s that every child has the right to education and it mandates an obligation on the state to provide education, but due to the ongoing pandemic that has declared an unprecedented educational emergency, and neglection to act upon such serious issue which has created a catastrophic situation of education in the rural background which are the have not’s, which are the real victims of the pandemic in the society from migrants to education and neglecting them is resulting in a backward step for the development of India and it’s a high time to OPEN UP SCHOOLS and focus on our educational institution within the rural background which are the ‘HAVE NOTS’ by inclusive cooperation between all stakeholders, parents, as there upbringing and prosperity will develop India and children which constitute the backbone of every country.
 ASER report by education non-profit Pratham, Digital divide is stark, online education still far from reality (14th September 2021), https://www.livemint.com/news/india/online-education-still-a-far-from-reality-govt-school-enrollment-gains-amid-pandemic-report-11603898648072.html
What ASER says about quality of learning in India By Prakash nanda (15th September 13:30 PM),https://www.livemint.com/Education/UIIkNL0sCVkSppf6RW4FbN/What-ASER-says-about-quality-of-learning-in-India.html
 Houses, Household Amenities and Assets Data 2001 – 2011 – Visualizing Through Maps, DR. C. CHANDRAMOULI Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India(15th September 13:43PM), https://censusindia.gov.in/2011-Common/NSDI/Houses_Household.pdf
 33,344 children in 6-18 age group not going to school, says ongoing survey, Reported by SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, (15th September 2021,13:30PM), https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/33344-children-in-6-18-age-group-not-going-to-school-says-ongoing-survey/article35595502.ece
 3 crore school students don’t have digital devices, says government, (15th September 2021,13:54 PM)..
 Sagar Kulkarni, DHNS, Only 1% poor students in rural India watched educational TV: Survey(15th September, 15:12 PM)
 75% kids see literacy loss as most schools remain shut, says survey, Sanjeeb Mukherjee(15th September,15:45 PM), https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/learning-ability-of-75-of-poor-rural-children-hit-by-lockdown-survey-121090600568_1.html