The Indian population can be split into two: rural and urban. You are most likely a member of the urban population if you are reading this. The rural population is mostly dependent on agriculture for survival, whilst the urban population is dependent on businesses and technology. The living conditions and facilities offered in metropolitan regions considerably outweigh those in rural India.
This is particularly true in the field of education. Children in rural India typically lack access to school and may not have access to quality education at all. In this post-pandemic world too, rural India seems to have suffered the most in the worldwide catastrophe created by the Covid-19. Education in rural india is a catalyst for the nation’s economic and social well-being. According to the Annual State Education Repost (ASER) 2019, just 16% of students in class 1 in India’s 26 surveyed rural districts can read at the mandated level, and over 40% cannot even recognise letters.
Education in the rural regions continues to lag due to factors such as poor educational quality, ineffective teaching methods, and a lack of appropriate infrastructure and resources, among others. However, the recent rise in digital literacy has done wonders for rural areas. Through collaborative efforts, digital start-ups dealing with rural populations have stepped up to raise awareness, expand access, and provide the necessary infrastructure. The divide between India and Bharat, urban and rural, “haves” and “have nots” is narrowing, and digital start-ups are playing an important role in defining this new rural India. Here’s a list of such start-ups which are helping to narrow this gap:
ConveGenius is an Ed-Tech Social Enterprise founded by Jairaj Bhattacharya and Shashank Pandey with the goal of making education available to over 100 million impoverished children and closing the learning gap in India. The platform is accessible via a simple application such as Whatsapp. Aside from being cheap, services are also accessible in regions with limited connection via 2G/3G internet services.
Classle is a Chennai-based enterprise that was founded on a shoestring budget in 2009. It is an online social learning platform that has recently expanded to incorporate mobile services, particularly for students from rural India. The founder, V Vaidhyanathan, refers to his company as having two faces. On one hand, there is the individual student user, and on the other hand, there are the clients, or future employers for the students. It is aimed towards practical learning and assisting students in developing strong practical abilities.
The Pune-based startup was founded in 2012 with the goal of enhancing rural education by addressing three educational sector needs: value education, boosting employability and teaching professional skills in universities and colleges. Rajib Choudhary and Sonal Seth’s brainchild, Paathshala is a cloud-based learning platform that operates on an online and real-time support approach, offering grassroots level skill and competence development programmes and provides sustainable, scalable, and cost-effective consulting solutions to both the corporate and student communities.
The Odisha-based startup has been trying to improve the learning outcomes of adolescents from underserved communities. They employ low-cost phone and SMS technology to deliver free, interactive learning tools to families. ThinkZone;s learning methodology is centred on offering creative yet approachable solutions to K-12 students. ThinkZone was started in 2014 and presently operates in over 400 communities in Odisha. Along with its ‘School-in-a-Box; education solution, the platform also helps rural Odisha women entrepreneurs.
Learning Delight is an initiative that aims to change the educational quality by digitising schools in rural and semi-urban areas. It expands on the government’s efforts to encourage and promote technology use in Indian schools. Learning Delight, founded in 2010 by Harshal Gohil and Vandan Kamdar provide free access to its curriculum for kids in grades 1-8 via their mobile app. The business
chooses government schools with Computer Aided Learning programmes to assist instructors and students in connecting. It is currently prevalent in around 10,000 Government Primary schools of Gujarat.