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TWO SIDES

Educated Indians are both more hopeful and more hopeless about technology

By Aria Thaker

Indians with higher levels of education are likely to be both optimistic and pessimistic about technology, a Pew Research study shows.

India was also among the countries to be most divided by education level when it came to perceptions of technology, showed the study, the results of which were published yesterday (May 13).

For example, 39% of Indians with less education said access to technology has “made people more divided in their political opinions.” However, among the more educated, the figure was much higher, at 60%. This 21-percentage point gulf is by far the largest among the 11 countries Pew studied, with the next largest one seen in Kenya with 15%.

Views on misinformation, a particularly hot-button issue in light of its effects on the country’s ongoing parliamentary election, have a similar education-based gap. Up to 56% of those with less education said access to mobile phones, the internet, and social media had “made people easier to manipulate with false information and rumours.” Among the more educated, the figure stood at 69%.

The survey designated those without up to secondary schooling as having “less education” and those with a higher level of education has having “more education.” This was decided based on the UN International Standard Classification of Education. Pew Research conducted its research in 11 emerging economies, including Tunisia, Kenya, the Philippines, and Mexico, besides India.

Looking on the bright side

Yet, the more educated were also more likely to be more optimistic about technology.

Only 33% of the less educated in India thought technology had “made people more accepting of people who have different views,” while 48% of the more educated did so. This again showed India, along with Kenya, having the highest education-based perception gap among the 11 countries where the survey was conducted.

“Certain groups, such as those with higher levels of education and those who are social media users, are especially likely to note both the positive and negative impacts of technology,” Pew noted in a report.

A large gap was also found among views that technology helps people be more informed on current events: Only 59% of the less educated respondents said it did, while a much larger 77% of the more educated thought so.