We all know that the world today is connected largely through technology. The ability to code, and other information technology skills have become a very important talent in this technologically driven world, opening doors to innovative possibilities and employment opportunities - especially in developing economies like India. But there remains a digital divide, with underprivileged youth frequently not having access to technology skills and coding knowledge. What's the real scenario? What's the root cause of the problem? What are the implications and what are the solutions?? Read on to have an idea.
The Digital Divide in India
Amazing developments brought forth by the digital age have changed the way we interact, work, and live. However, a major discrepancy known as the "Digital Divide" has formed amid this quick technical advancement, emphasizing the disparity in access to digital resources and possibilities. Nowhere is this gap more evident than in India, a country known for its contrast and diversity. India's digital landscape is expanding as of 2021, however the digital gap is still a serious problem. Only 24% of Indian households have access to the internet, according to the 2017–18 National Sample Survey report on education. Just over fifteen percent of rural homes in India, wherein about 65% of the population reside in villages, has access to internet services. A little above 40% of urban homes fall into this category. These figures highlight the evident inconsistency in access to digital resources across the nation.
Understanding the Digital Divide
Basically, the difference between people who have access to digital technology and those who do not is known as the "digital divide." It includes having access to gadgets like smartphones and computers as well as having internet access, having a practical and basic working knowledge of digital technology, and having the necessary technical abilities. This gap has all-embracing effects, especially in a nation like India where socioeconomic development and technical advancement are intertwined.
Dichotomising the Discrepancies:
- Urban vs. Rural Divide: The disparity between urban and rural areas is one of the most significant features of India's digital divide. Improved infrastructure, deeper internet reach, and more readily available digital gadgets all benefit urban areas. Rural populations, on the other hand, suffer hurdles, such as poor connectivity and limited access to devices that prevent their placement into the digital ecosystem.
- Financial Hurdles: Access to digital resources such as smartphones, laptops or computers is quite largely influenced by socioeconomic position. Well-to-do families can afford internet access and equipment, but economically deprived people often feel themselves left out because of this.
- Usage Aspects: Digital literacy is a must in order to close the gap. If people are unable to use digital platforms comfortably, having access to technology is not enough. The divide is made worse by the absence of digital literacy programs in disadvantaged sections.
- Gender Inequality: Another reason for the digital gap is gender imbalance. Due to cultural norms, deficiency of opportunities, and limited exposure to technology, women living in rural regions often have limited access to digital resources.
Transforming Lives: Unravelling Potential through Technology Skills & Coding Education
Coding is a vehicle for change, and it has enormous potential to empower India's disadvantaged youth. A better future is being paved by initiatives by NGOs, governmental agencies, and private entities. By making them aware of the importance of technical skills and teaching young people how to code, we can bridge the digital divide and raise a generation of tech-savvy individuals who will further India's development in the digital era. Here is how coding can make the lives of the youth better and brighter -
- Digital Inclusion: By teaching coding and digital literacy to young people in rural areas, we can enable young people to actively engage in the digital world, closing the digital gap.
- Alternative job opportunities: Education in coding can provide job options outside of established areas. Coding broadens students' horizons by giving them the skills that could lead to alternate professions in technology.
- Innovations with a Social Impact: Information technology skills in marginalized societies can promote innovation with a social impact. Youth are instructed on how to use technology to address regional problems, building a sense of pride and responsibility in their areas.
- Global Prospects: Coding is global in scope. Many platforms offer coding knowledge in far-off areas, giving young people access to a vast digital platform. This gives them the ability to connect with the rest of the world and work together on initiatives that have a global impact.
How NGOs Create a Better Future for Youth by Promoting Coding and Fostering Digital Literacy
In a world where digital literacy is a necessary skill, NGOs serve as rays of hope, fostering the tech leaders and innovators of tomorrow. They tirelessly work to plant the seeds of a better and more promising future for children. NGOs are crucial in building digital literacy and promoting coding skills among adolescents, especially in marginalized regions, in the ever-changing and ever-evolving digital landscape. As change agents, they can have a major impact in ways such as:
- Developing Suitable Curricula: Many NGOs provide creative, specialized programs to make coding and digital literacy approachable and fun. They simplify complex ideas into manageable pieces, guaranteeing that even someone with no or minimal prior exposure to technology also understands the basics.
- Providing People with Access to Resources: Internet and computer access is often restricted for young people. NGOs close this gap by establishing hubs, clubs, and digital learning centres in rural areas. Many state governments in India also distribute low-cost computers to empower kids in rural areas and level the playing field.
- Interactive Learning: Many NGOs organize coding boot-camps and workshops that emphasize practical learning. Youth, by learning new technology skills in a practical way, acquire confidence along with theoretical understanding.
- Fostering Innovation and Problem-Solving: NGOs encourage young people to use technology and their creative thinking to address societal problems. Some also organize fun activities such as hackathons, coding challenges, and coding clubs to inspire young people to develop innovative concepts that benefit their neighbourhoods.
- Empowering Women in Technology: Many NGOs work to eliminate the gender gap in technology by providing specialized coding programs for female students. Girls may study and experiment with coding in a safe environment, thanks to NGOs, which encourages equality, equity and empowerment.
- Lifelong Education: Through participatory forums and online platforms, NGOs promote lifelong learning that let young people improve their coding abilities at their own pace, continuously preparing them for success throughout their lives.
NGOs that are coding the future of India through technology and innovation -
These organizations are making significant contributions to various sectors, using technology as a tool for positive change and societal progress.
- NASSCOM Foundation: New Delhi NGO NASSCOM Foundation is at the forefront of leveraging technology for social impact. Through innovative projects and partnerships, they empower marginalized communities with digital literacy, coding skills, and sustainable livelihood opportunities.
- India STEM Foundation: Gurgaon based India STEM Foundation is dedicated to fostering a love for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education among Indian youth. Through interesting workshops, fun competitions, and mentorship, they inspire the next generation of innovators and problem solvers.
- Pi Jam Foundation: Pune NGO Pi Jam Foundation from Pune empowers children with coding skills and other technology skills by providing them with inexpensive and easily accessible hardware and software. Their approach focuses on learning through teamwork, inventiveness and experimentation.
- Feminist Approach to Technology (FAT): Since its inception in 2008, this Delhi based NGO believes in using technology to challenge gender inequalities. They offer training, workshops, and resources to empower women with technical skills, advocating for a more inclusive and gender-equitable tech industry.
- EGov: This Karnataka based NGO, EGov, is a pioneer in e-governance solutions, aiming to make government services more accessible through digital platforms. Their initiatives contribute to transparent and efficient governance, benefitting citizens across India.
- GenRobotic Innovation: GenRobotic Innovation, located at Thiruvananthapuram, dedicates itself to designing and developing robotic and technological solutions for environmental and social issues. Their innovative product called Bandicoot, is used to clean manholes and many other activities.
- TIDE (Technology Informatics Design Endeavour): TIDE focuses on using technology to drive social and economic development in rural and underserved communities. Their projects are aimed at building technological tools for underprivileged children, especially at the primary level.
True societal and economic growth in India can be achieved only if the efforts are inclusive - comprising every section of the society, irrespective of caste, creed, economic background or any other factor that would discriminate against someone from the rest of the community. In today's world, which is driven majorly by technology skills, it is necessary to empower tomorrow's innovators with sufficient knowledge and skills.
At Give Discover, we are trying to bring NGOs that are working towards creating a better tomorrow under a single umbrella. From the aged who need medical assistance to the youth who can use coding and other tech skill to create a better future for themselves and the country!