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Creating Opportunities through E-Learning

Mobile phones, the internet, and their applications like social media etc are a part of our lives from the start till the end of the day. It touches every aspect of society and changes it dramatically. But, there is one indispensable part of the society that has also been evolving with innovations and discoveries.

This new concept that is being tapped into is e-learning in the education sector. It is an effective tool for the development of the educational sector in India. E-learning is learning, utilizing electronic technologies to access educational curriculum outside of a traditional classroom. In most cases, it refers to a course, program or degree delivered completely online.

Sometimes, these classes take place live, the other times they are recorded and can be accessed at the convenience of the student.

A digital divide

Like all other changes, in this case, too urban areas were easily influenced and the people adopted new methods of learning. However, in the case of rural areas, it is not the same.

The first problem is the lack of internet service. Most rural India still does not have electricity or telephone lines to connect them with the outside world. Secondly, teachers of rural schools in villages and small towns receive low income so there is a possibility that teachers are unwilling to adopt new technology.

Apart from this one of the major reasons for rural India not adopting technology is poverty. Each household is equipped with only one smartphone. This needs to be shared among siblings and the family. In some households, the girl child is forced to drop out of school and focus on household chores. According to reports, during the first wave of the pandemic and its lockdowns, there was a sharp increase in child marriage numbers.

In some villages, owing to philanthropy and the support of NGOs many schools were able to provide the students with electricity and internet. However, there was no personnel to teach them how to use the device.

However, BharatCares, a non-profit organisation in India has prioritized empowering the underprivileged digitally.

Digital Learning Centers

Bharat e-Shiksha, a flagship initiative under BharatCares, aims to make quality education accessible to underprivileged students. It is currently being done through a network of Bharat e-Shiksha Volunteers (BEVs) and Digital Learning Centers (DLCs).

Under this initiative, teachers and students in remote and rural areas are supported with educational content-loaded smart TVs. This gives them access to mentored learning as well as digital devices.

The DLCs were launched in May 2021 and the organisation has conducted virtual sessions on topics like menstrual health, the importance of self-esteem, awareness on underage drinking, bullying, mental health, nutrition, and career development and so on. Through regular activities like book reading the organisation also hopes to impart life skills to the students.

The sessions aim to sensitize students from government schools beyond their academics and talk about topics that are taboo in Indian society. They also encourage STEM-based learning via labs and library models.

This will help them in the long run and think about career options of their choice. The program is currently targeted at government schools with a special focus on students between classes 6 to 10. They receive six hours of learning every day - three hours through smart devices and the other three through mentored learning.

To date, over 300 students have participated in the Bharat e-Shiksha program and benefited from the same.


Roshini Muthukumar

Roshini Muthukumar, a native of Chennai, started her career as a content writer but made a switch to journalism to pursue her passion. She has experience writing about human interest stories, innovative technology, entrepreneurs, research blogs, and more. Previously, Roshini has done internships with The Hindu, Metroplus and worked as a correspondent with The Better India.