Internet access at 66% Indian schools, digital gap among various states: Latest U-DISE report

About 66 percent of schools in India have no access to the internet, with states such as Bihar and Mizoram having 92 and 90 percent schools in this category, respectively, according to a report by the Unified District Information System for Education plus (UDISE+) for 2021-22.

The report, a Ministry of Education initiative to collect data on schooling, shows that 80 to 85 percent of schools in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, West Bengal, Meghalaya, Odisha, Telangana and Tripura.

Delhi and Lakshwadeep each have 100 percent schools with functioning computer facilities and 97.4 percent schools with Internet access. Delhi is also the only Union Territory (UT) where 100 percent of its schools have internet connectivity. Other UTs like Chandigarh (98.7 percent) and Puducherry (98.4 percent) also score well in this category.

Kerala and Gujarat are the best-performing states in this regard, at 94.6 percent and 92 percent, respectively. Gujarat is also the only state in the country where more government schools have internet access than private ones. (94.2 percent and 89.6 percent, respectively).

However, the gap between state and private schools remains. While 59.6 percent of the private and free schools surveyed and 53.1 percent of state-funded schools had Internet access, only 24.2 percent of state schools had this.

The report adds that less than 50 percent of the schools surveyed had working computers, while only 20 percent had accessible working cell phones for classroom use.

The availability of smart classrooms is also low. Out of the 1.4 million schools in the country, only 2,22,155 have functional smart classrooms with digital or smart whiteboards used for teaching. Out of its 3911 schools, Mizoram has only 25 schools with smart classrooms. Tamil Nadu has zero schools in this category. Suggesting a big gap between different regions of the country, West Bengal has 99.99 percent schools with smart classrooms. Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat and Kerala also have more than 90% in this regard.

However, the report shows an overall increase compared to previous years. Although the total number of schools in India has decreased in the last four years from 15.51.000 in 2018-’19 to in 2021-’22, the number of schools with internet facilities has increased from 2.90.447 (18.3% ) in 2018–’19 to 5,04,989 (33.9%) in 2021–’22.