SEATTLE — Education plays an important role in shaping a country’s growth and prosperity. The government of India has recognized the need to improve education, especially girls’ education in India, and has implemented initiatives and partnerships to focus on the issue. Studies have shown that by educating girls, India can reduce poverty and other social ills.
New Technology and Laws Improve Girls’ Education in India
One such initiative is the government’s Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (Save Daughters, Educate Daughters) program, which began in 2015 to address the issue of the declining child sex ratio (number of females per thousand males aged zero to six) across the country. This initiative works to stop female infanticide, increase the number of girls attending school, decrease school dropouts and implement rules regarding the right to education.
In conjunction with this, there are several organizations and NGOs working to provide education for girls through technology. India has welcomed the use of information and communications technology (ICT) in its education sector. The use of ICT by NGOs has brought about new hope for a better India.
Plan India Allows Girls to Access Education from Anywhere
One of the biggest challenges for girls’ education in India has been to keep students in school and improve their learning outcomes. As per the National Sample Survey Organization, an average of 326 out of 1,000 students in rural areas are dropping out, along with 383 per 1,000 in urban areas. Technology in education has provided new opportunities for girls in rural areas. ICT has transformed education in rural areas and keeps them from dropping out of school.
Plan India, a nonprofit organization that provides quality education in Delhi’s urban slums, sought to address this problem with its community Digital Learning Centres (DLC). The DLCs leverage technology to provide quality education to young women between the ages of 15 and 25 within their own communities, helping them overcome limited mobility, patriarchal and socioeconomic challenges.
“When I first joined, I had no idea of how the children would be able to interact with me from an isolated destination, but after learning the technology, I do not feel disconnected with the children who are sitting elsewhere. In one session, I am connected directly with 400 girls in 15 centers,” Sanjay Kumar, a math teacher at Plan India’s DLC, told YourStory. The initiative has witnessed around 5,000 young girls actively attending scheduled classes.
The project also aims to create awareness among parents about the importance of girls’ education and has educated nearly 30,000 parents and community members on the topic through meetings and counseling sessions. The Internet has changed the course of girls’ education in India, especially in rural areas. Parents are more willing to send their girls to schools that are equipped with computers. Technology has allowed girls to step out of their home and educate themselves without the threat of abuse or violence.
Khan Academy Improves Education Opportunities with Multilingual Offerings
One of the challenges of going digital in rural areas is adapting the content to the regional dialect. To address this, Khan Academy, an online video education service, has started providing its content in various Indian languages. In addition to its current offerings in Hindi and Bengali, Khan Academy entered into an agreement with the Karnataka government to recreate its content in Kannada for use in government schools in the state. It is also searching for content creators in Gujarati, Marathi and Tamil.
With organizations like Plan India and Khan Academy implementing these innovations in educational technology, there is hope for a better future for girls’ education in India. As technology continues to transform society, the leaders and the government are beginning to embrace the power of ICT to enhance girls’ education in India and make a difference.
– Preethi Ravi