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Not For Games And Reels, These Gujarat Youth See Smartphone As A Study Tool

| Updated: January 18, 2024 16:32

When the world is busy with Instagram and cat reels on smartphones, a group of teenagers in Gujarat’s rural Mehsana is using smartphones to tackle their studies.

The Annual Status of Education (ASER) Report 2023 – Beyond Basics, says the overall proportion of unenrolled youths aged 14-18 years in Mehsana is 22.7% while the proportion of boys and girls aged 14 to 16 who are not enrolled is 13.8%.

This proportion rises to 40% for boys and 38.3% for girls among those aged 17 to 18. Around 1,300 teenagers were surveyed in 60 villages of Mehsana for the report.

While 77% are enrolled in schools, nearly a quarter have already dropped out, with boys leading the numbers. When asked to read a Class 2 textbook, 87.3% teens managed the task, while 51% could perform basic division.

At the same time, 63% teens watched videos related to studies, exchanged notes on messaging apps while 93.6% used social media sites.

The 2023 survey also probed what activities teenagers are currently engaged in.

Do they have basic and applied reading and math abilities? Do they have access to smartphones? What do they use smartphones for, and can they do simple tasks on their smartphones?

Three-quarters of the surveyed teenagers could set alarms, browse the internet, and navigate Google maps. YouTube tutorials were their go-to, with boys once again taking the lead in digital mastery.

“96.6% youths had a smartphone at home and 97.1% reported being able to use a smartphone. This proportion among males was 98.6% and 95.6% among females.

Of those who could use a smartphone, 47.6% males had their own smartphone as compared to 22.3% females. Among all those who could use a smartphone, 62.9% did at least one education related activity in the week prior to the survey as compared to 93.6% who used any social media platform,” says the ASER survey.

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