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us apple developer accounts for sale(buyappleacc.com):\u0027Lost generation\u0027 fears as Covid locks out India\u0027s poor students

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MUMBAI, India — CS Satheesha spells out "A-P-P-L-E" into his phone as he teaches remotely from the only place he can get a signal — a treehouse in his back garden in southern India.

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In the Kodagu district of Karnataka state, eight-year-old Shreeshma listens to Mr Satheesha's WhatsApp voice notes on her mother's phone on her porch and repeats sentences such as: "This is a cat."

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But in a country where schools have been shut for over a year, one of the longest shutdowns in the world, she and her fellow pupils are among the lucky ones.

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According to Unicef, only one in four children in India has access to digital devices and the internet.

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Many families have sold belongings or taken out loans to buy smartphones for their children to continue their education.

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In some rural areas, kids have been trekking miles up hills and through snake-infested jungles to try and connect to their teachers.

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Welfare economist Jean Dreze said that the situation is bound to exacerbate the already "extreme inequalities" in access to education that reinforce India's class, caste and gender divisions.

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"By and large, privileged children are able to continue learning through online education. For poor children, however, online education is a fiction, and no other arrangements have been made for them in most states," Prof Dreze told AFP.

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DROPPING OUT

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Even before the pandemic, more than six million Indian girls and boys were already not going to school, according to Unicef.

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Almost 30 per cent of those who did go dropped out, with rates for girls and for children from the most marginalised communities higher still.

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The pandemic and the heavy blow to the Indian economy — and to the poor who have suffered most of all — have only made things worse.

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With breadwinners out of work, many families have had little choice but to make children drop their books to help make ends meet.

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Anecdotal evidence suggests that there has been an increase in child marriage — meaning one less mouth to feed — and trafficking too.

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The fear is that many children will not return to education even when schools eventually reopen, creating a "lost generation" of unqualified young people.

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"If they feel they cannot catch up, they're less likely to go back to school," said Mr Terry Durnnian, chief of Education, Unicef India.

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ONE PHONE BETWEEN THREE

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At 60 weeks and counting, only five other countries have seen schools shut for longer than India, affecting 320 million children, according to Unesco.

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The continued closures contrast with restrictions easing on most other areas of activity in India.

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Mr Bablu Baghel in Agra — home to the Taj Mahal — saw his monthly income of 20,000 rupees (S$363) all but dry up along with visitors to India's top tourist attraction.

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The taxi driver's three children have to share his mobile phone to remotely attend their classes. He cannot afford to buy another device.

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