More students using smartphones for entertainment than study: survey

The survey revealed that 49.3% of students in rural India have access to smartphones but only 34% of that number use them for studies

August 08, 2023 10:50 pm | Updated August 09, 2023 11:47 am IST - New Delhi

Of the students with access to gadgets, 56.6% used the devices for downloading and watching movies, while 47.3% used them to download and listen to music, the survey said. File

Of the students with access to gadgets, 56.6% used the devices for downloading and watching movies, while 47.3% used them to download and listen to music, the survey said. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu

A pan-India survey of 6,229 parents of schoolchildren, aged 6–16, in rural communities across 21 States revealed more kids used smartphones for entertainment rather than for studying.

Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan launched the State of Elementary Education in Rural India report in New Delhi on August 8. The report was based on a survey conducted by the Development Intelligence Unit (DIU), a collaboration between Transform Rural India and Sambodhi Research and Communications.

Access to gadgets

The survey revealed that 49.3% of students in rural India have access to smartphones. However, among the parents whose children have access to gadgets, 76.7% stated that their children primarily use mobile phones to play video games.

Of the students with access to gadgets, 56.6% used the devices for downloading and watching movies, while 47.3% used them to download and listen to music, the survey said. Only 34% use the gadgets for study downloads, and 18% accessed online learning via tutorials.

The survey included responses from 6,229 parents, of whom 6,135 had had school-going students, 56 had children who dropped out of school, and 38 had children who had never enrolled in school.

It was further revealed that at least 78% of parents of girls and 82% of parents of boys wanted to educate their children to the level of graduation or above.

Students belonging to Class VIII and above had more access to smartphones (58.32%), while students in Classes I–III also had access (42.1%).

Questions on the learning environment at home revealed that 40% of the parents said that age-appropriate reading materials, other than textbooks, are available at home.

Parent participation

The survey showed that only 40% of parents have conversations with their children around learning in school every day, while 32% have such conversations with their children a few days a week.

The survey also sought to know the reasons for children dropping out of school from a subset of 56 respondents. 36.8% of the parents of girls who had dropped out said it was because they were needed to help out with the family’s earnings. Additionally, 31.6% of parents mentioned their child’s lack of interest in studies, while 21.1% believed that their daughters had to take care of household chores and siblings at home.

For boys, as per the survey, the key reason for dropping out from school was the child’s lack of interest in studies. 71.8% of respondents cited this reason, while another 48.7% said that the boys were required to help out in the earnings for the family.

On parent participation, the survey revealed that 84% of parents stated that they regularly attend parent-teacher meetings at school. The top two reasons for parents not attending meetings were short notice and a lack of willingness.

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