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Will technology led education turn to be a new hygiene for rural India?
By Eureka Bharali, SiliconIndia
Bangalore: The technology embrace could be a new breather in India, where just 4.1 percent of the GDP is spent on education, to empower every child with a better future. A child who never had a touch with 'ABCD', today, educate masses through his documentaries on YouTube which he had created using Adobe tools, or a girl for whom school was mere a dream, today, sits in front of a Dell system and is on her path to be a lawyer.

The One-Laptop-Per-Child was the initial fuel for a future where every corporate have sharpened their lens to laser focus on the under-privileged. It's not mere distribution of books or schoolbags, as had the practice been really fruitful, the number of drop-outs definitely would have been much less than five million. Of the nearly one million public schools in India, less than 0.2 percent have any form of IT infrastructure or computer-based education.

Even in schools with technology resources, computer education primarily focuses on teaching 'computers' as a subject rather than as a tool for enhancing the quality of teaching and learning in classrooms. In such situations, there is hardly an opportunity to compete on equal terms with children from more privileged schooling. Hence, it's more about empowering children through technology. "At Dell, we are trying to contribute to India through our YouthConnect program, an initiative which is aligned with our business strategy of seeing a connected world," says Ganesh Lakshminarayanan, President and Managing Director of Dell India. Dell YouthConnect program is designed to support education and digital inclusion initiatives for under-served children, whereby three lakh youth and children in India are equipped with digital learning resources.

Learning is perpetual and it begins right from the day a child is born. The government did put in place the anganwadis but even today the number is just about 60 percent of the required number, which imply over-crowded anganwadis. As Ashok Kamath of Akshara Foundation says, "It's not just about using tools in terms of learning but also as a means to monitor and understand the process of learning." Akshara initiated a Preschool (Balwadi) Programme, an attempt to make pre-schooling more interesting for the under-privileged, monitoring each stage of development with the use of technology through proper maintaining of databases and they involve government bodies as nodal officers.

The Government too has realized the importance of technology monitoring and on the same note Wapmerr India pitched in with the government and implemented its 3D monitoring technology to monitor the functioning of the anganwadi centres. Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, "The school is the last expenditure upon which America should be willing to economize." This applies to India too.
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