Speaking at the sixth edition of Google For India event, Sapna Chadha, Head of Google Marketing in India and Southeast Asia, announced Google’s partnership with Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Skill Education and Training. The partnership will enable over 1Mn teachers from 22K Indian schools to deliver blended learning that combines the classroom approach with online learning using free tools like GSuite for education, Google Classroom and more.
Further, to skill low-income communities who might not have access to devices and the internet. Google announced a new grant of $1Mn through its global distance learning fund. Using this grant, Kaivalya Education Foundation will work with Central Square Foundation and TeacherApp to train over 700K teachers over the next year. This training will help teachers to deliver virtual education for students to continue learning at home. Chadha also noted, for those without access to smartphones or the internet, TV, radio, and other channels will be used to reach children.
In an earlier conversation with Inc42, Vivek Wadhwa, distinguished fellow and professor at Carnegie Mellon University Engineering, Silicon Valley has also noted that students have easily adjusted to online education but the professors are the ones who have struggled — because they are not used to technology. But now they will have to learn and adapt.
Another major challenge in India’s online learning space has been the country’s vast digital divide. The disparity in access to the internet, electricity, and devices like computers or smartphones has emerged as the major reason for students unable to access online classes.
Chadha also acknowledged that there is much to do to bridge the digital divide and online learning should only be used to supplement information delivered in the classroom.
Following Chaddha’s address, India HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal said that Google partnership will help India in becoming a global centre of knowledge. He also added that Google should work on expanding its content library from eight Indian languages to 22 official Indian languages.
Coronavirus has given a boost to the popularity of both public and private edtech solutions. While edtech companies saw a significant rise in organic users, the government’s digital initiatives have also come to the forefront in this crisis. The MHRD has launched a slew of online learning initiatives under the National Mission on Education including the government’s online learning platform (SWAYAM), educational TV and YouTube broadcast (SWAYAMPRABHA), virtual labs, and more.
In addition to promoting digital education, Google has also announced $10 Bn digitisation fund for India. The fund will be invested in businesses, social impact projects and towards supporting the Indian government’s digitisation efforts over the next 5-7 years.