In the current role, Priyadarshini manages the PR, Events, Marketing collaterals, website and online-web marketing.
'Digital is the new normal' – the statement aptly defines the present scenario. The pandemic has reiterated the importance of technology and digital platforms in helping people stay connected and providing students with uninterrupted access to education.
The rising prominence of digital has created a world without borders. However, there is also a realization that the majority population of India does not have access to modern-day technology and the internet. The numbers are further skewed against the Indian girl child.
The government has put in place initiatives such as 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' and Digital India to bridge the gap and educate the Indian daughters. But this alone is not enough. IT companies need to work towards a common goal of providing learning opportunities for the girl child through their CSR initiatives, making digital and inclusive education a reality.
The Digital & Education Disparity: A Reality in India
India has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing economies around the globe, but the lack of digital education for the girl child cannot be unseen. The digital disparity is among the many challenges faced by women, with females accounting for less than 29 percent of the total internet users in India.
The reasons for low digital literacy among women are numerous, the most prominent being cultural conditioning. Girls are often not allowed to access technology, resulting in a lack of self-confidence, illiteracy, low exposure, and limited social awareness. Additionally, due to poverty and lack of resources, they are unable to afford a computer and internet services.
With the nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19, schools have started engaging in academic sessions online. This opportunity to reconnect with studies has been welcomed by the students, boys and girls alike, in urban India. However, the school-going girls of rural India are still facing issues related to digital accessibility and connectivity, which is leading to dropouts. This has become a major cause for concern.
How IT Companies Can Help?
The IT industry has recognized the importance of education and digital literacy to empower the girl child. In the past, their CSR projects have been more focused on healthcare programs, community development, and skill-building initiatives. Now, many IT organizations are retracing their CSR funds and skillsets to promote digital literacy and equal opportunities.
Their focus has led to the evolution of education in India, with many IT companies implementing digital literacy programs designed specifically for female students. Some key examples of CSR programs that are changing the traditional pedagogy and empowering young girls include the development of smart classes and labs in government schools and the promotion of research-based skills using digital mediums.
Digital Education: A Necessity for Equitable & Safe Learning Environment for Females
Digital education can have an enormous impact in helping the girl child realize their true potential while keeping them safe from the dangers of abuse and exploitation. A major concern for parents living in rural and underserved sections of society is the safety of their daughters. Often, schools are not in the vicinity of their villages/homes and little girls have to travel long routes to attend classes, resulting in their families pressurizing them to drop out as soon as they enter teenage. Digital literacy and accessibility will provide the girl child a chance to study from the comfort of their homes and become successful in the future.
The promotion of digital education is creating leapfrogging opportunities for females, characterized by flexibility, convenience, and security. Online and video-based CSR projects are also helping girls get comfortable with digital tools and extract more value from them.
In a nutshell, education is vital for every child, regardless of gender and socio-economic background. As a socially responsible organization, it is important to leverage digital and create a safe and seamless learning environment for our future generations.
The IT industry has recognized the importance of education and digital literacy to empower the girl child