Kerala has managed to keep up with the challenges in online education as it has turned out to be the state with the greatest technology access. Since the pandemic hit, the digital divide in India has restricted a lot of students from regularly pursuing their education. But, in Kerala, 70 per cent of parents of both younger and adolescent students believe that overall learning progress is the same or better than it would be in school, according to a survey conducted by UNICEF in their study, titled 'India Case Study: Situation Analysis on the Effects of and Responses to COVID-19 on the Education Sector in Asia'.
Kerala has been among the most proactive states in supporting students. It is the only state where everyone who was a part of remote learning believes that the government provided the remote learning resources. Moreover, 90 per cent reported that students speak with their teachers for coordinating online education, the UNICEF report further stated.
Kerala tops in terms of its literacy rate. Even during the pandemic, they managed to cater to the challenges in online education in the best way possible.
According to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) (Rural) 2021 report, 97.5 per cent of students enrolled have a smartphone at home while the overall average for India stood at 67.6 %. The availability of a smartphone increases the chance to be a part of online education. Access to the smartphone could be an essential factor in determining its impact on a child's education.
The ASER 2021 provided data for the accessibility of smartphones to children by categorizing it as "Yes, at all times", "Yes, sometimes" and "Not accessible". Along these lines, 76.2 per cent of enrolled students had access to smartphones at home at all times for Kerala, which was way higher than the All India average of just 27 per cent.
Since the pandemic interrupted learning, accessibility to study material and textbooks has been another issue after the digital divide. Since students were physically cut off from the schools, their study material was in question. However, 97.1 per cent of enrolled students had their respective class textbooks, according to the ASER report 2021. The All India average stood at 91.9 per cent.
Initiatives For Online Education
Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE) had regulated G-Suite online platform in 426 schools. The aim was to develop a Learning Management System (LMS) that could help in configuring classes and monitoring them. It was customized for the students for easy access and no issue of a security breach, as reported by India TV.
Earlier, KITE had developed the First Bell initiative, which had the Victers educational channel. The channel was started with the aim to provide online education to nearly all students. The channel has an average daily viewership of around 54 lakh on YouTube alone, as reported by The Hindu.
Talking about the classes streamed on the channel, K. Anvar Sadath, chief executive officer of KITE told The Times of India, "The classes are pre-recorded and after the classes are over it's the responsibility of the teacher concerned to get back to the students over mobile phones to clear whatever doubts they have." Moreover, different arrangements were made for students who missed the classes wherein they were asked to gather at common places to attend classes.
Kerala Local Self Government Department is also trying to provide laptops or smartphones for free to people who cannot afford them.