Survey reveals students in rural India use smartphones more for games, less for grades

New Delhi: A recent pan-India survey has revealed that nearly half of the students (49.3%) in rural India own smartphones. However, a significant 76.7% of these students primarily use their phones for entertainment purposes, such as playing video games and watching movies.

The results additionally highlight that only 34% of students with phones use their devices for study-related downloads, while 18% access online learning through tutorials.

Conducted by the Delhi-based Development Intelligence Unit (DIU), an initiative of Transforming Rural India Foundation (TRIF) in collaboration with Sambodhi Research and Communications Pvt. Ltd., the survey targeted children aged 6–16 in rural communities across 20 states and union territories.

The report also found that Class VIII students boasted a higher smartphone access rate at 58.32%, in comparison to Classes I–III with 42.1%.

Parental engagement

Furthermore, regarding the learning environment at home, 40% of parents indicated the presence of age-appropriate reading materials beyond textbooks. Additionally, only 40% of parents engaged in daily discussions about school learning with their children, while 32% had such conversations only a few times a week.

Regarding parental involvement in their children’s studies, the survey revealed that 84% regularly attended parent-teacher meetings. The primary reasons for non-attendance were “short notice” and a “lack of willingness”.

Meanwhile, dropout rates varied based on gender. Among girls, 36.8% cited financial obligations for leaving school, while 21.1% indicated being tasked with household chores and sibling care. For boys, disinterest was the primary reason for dropping out, accounting for 71.8%. Additionally, 48.7% cited the need to contribute to family earnings.

The report also disclosed parents’ aspirations for their children’s education. Nearly 78% of parents with daughters and 82% of parents with sons expressed the desire to provide education beyond graduation for their children.

The report, titled ‘State of Elementary Education in Rural India– 2023’, was unveiled by Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan during TRI’s India Rural Colloquy in Delhi on Tuesday. Spanning 40 pages, the report is founded on an analysis of survey data from 6,229 parents, including those with school-going students, dropouts, and children who never enrolled in school.


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