DIGITAL INEQUALITY AMIDST CORONAVIRUS

The coronavirus pandemic has forced many families throughout the world to opt for digital mode for work, education and socialization. Some families have accepted this change with ease. But some are struggling due to inequality in our society. The people who are from underprivileged sections did not have enough penny to afford these changes. More than 1/3rd of schools in India are operating without electricity, making e-learning impossible. Coronavirus has made digitalization a necessity rather than a convenience. Inequality was a major threat in India which is increasing every year. And Coronavirus has made this even faster.

The pandemic has accelerated technological change, some businesses are doing fine with online mode whereas some are struggling due to inappropriate services. Many workers have been using masks, physical distancing and many other measures to earn wages. Some children have been sent to schools to learn due to absence of appropriate services. While others remain at their homes learning from computers.

DIGITAL INEQUALITIES AMIDST CORONAVIRUS

Unfortunately, pandemic has widened the gap of inequality in terms of technological access. due to which digitalization is now seeing as form of social inequality that is increasing with time. Hence the people belonging to lower sections as well as middle sections are most vulnerable.

As we are living in a tech savvy society. During this pandemic employment, education and income is completely dependent on technology as well as Social standards are making a huge gap too. For instance, some families have only one laptop for their needs making difficult to use by more than one at the same time.

EVEN IN 2020, ACCESS TO INTERNET IS JUST A DREAM TO MANY OUT THERE

WHY THIS DIGITAL INEQUALITY?

  • Amidst the condition of loss during this pandemic, Corporate sectors are keeping those with proficient skills.
  • Technology does not support all instead it has become a tool to use by wealthy people only.
  • Automation is removing many jobs and demanding new skills in others resulting in selection of only few individuals having knowledge.
  • The habit of people having best is somehow giving chances to the big entrepreneurs to get richer removing new ones.
  • Low skilled jobs are taken away by machine and those who lack education to meet the demand for high skills loose their jobs.
  • Education gap = Income gap
  • Today’s dilemma “an extremely skill driven economy without skilled workforce”.

SO WHO ARE AFFECTED DUE TO DIGITAL INEQAULITY?

India paces up efforts to promote ‘digital India’ dream but, more than 70% of rural India do not have access to internet.

  • Broadband usage in rural India is limited to a mere 29.2% whereas urban broadband penetration is up to 93%.
STATESPERCENTAGE
BIHAR21.69 %
UTTAR PRADESH21.64 %
MADHYA PRADESH23.88 %
JAMMU & KASHMIR16.58 %
WEST BENGAL25 %
ACCORDING TO REPORT PUBLISHED ON 31ST MARCH,2020

Are the states which have least no: of internet subscribers.

  • India has one of the largest gender gaps in terms of technology access. Overall 21% women are internet users while 41% are men.
  • Many schoolgirls don’t have access to computers on a regular basis.

HOW TO TACKLE DIGITAL INEQUALITY?

  1. Widening broadband internet access to rural areas in all public places to counter back digital inequality.
  2. Schools and libraries should be provided with internet access.
  3. Reducing taxes on devices and internet data to make it available to everyone.
  4. Reforming education pattern with new technologies to make students proficient in skills can be surely count to reduce digital inequality arising.
  5. Education policies must be directed to reduce gender gaps in utilization and access to technology.
  6. Government collaborations with entrepreneurs giving students an idea about skill ship development in digital field.

I raise up my voice — not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard … we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.

MALALA YOUSAFZAI,ACTIVIST FOR FEMALE EDUCATION

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