By Rohit Paranjpe, CEO of Sugarbox
As we commemorate World Youth Skills Day, it is critical to reflect on the intertwined narratives of our youth’s potential and the role digital technology plays in its realization. Most of our journeys have been deeply intertwined with this narrative, navigating through the challenges and embracing the opportunities presented by the evolving digital landscape.
India’s youth, brimming with talent and potential, represent a cornerstone for the country’s socio-economic growth. However, a stark digital divide continues to thwart their access to quality education and digital learning opportunities. With around 70% of our youth still lacking essential Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills, the urgent need to bridge this digital divide is clear.
Digital media has transformed how we learn, work, and engage with the world, rendering digital literacy a fundamental skill for today’s youth. Nevertheless, challenges like limited access to technology and internet connectivity in remote areas, affordability, and a shortage of digital literacy programs persist. This has led to a considerable disparity in digital literacy rates among urban and rural areas, and among various socio-economic strata.
To unlock the immense potential of our youth, we must place a robust emphasis on mitigating these challenges. An integrated effort involving the government, educational institutions, technology companies, and civil society is critical to achieving this. As stakeholders, we must develop sustainable strategies to make digital education accessible and affordable for all, regardless of geographical or socio-economic limitations.
We must commit to playing our part in bridging this gap. We must lean onto the transformative power of technology to make education more engaging, accessible, and personalized. Innovative ‘cloud fragment’ technology, for instance, can help offer offline access to cloud-based applications, ensuring that learning continues uninterrupted, even in the absence of a stable internet connection.
Moreover, it’s essential to recognize that the impact of EdTech extends beyond school education, encompassing professional skill development, vocational training, and lifelong learning opportunities. By making these opportunities available to all, we can ensure that our youth are equipped with the necessary skills to thrive in the digital age and contribute meaningfully to the nation’s progress.
As we celebrate World Youth Skills Day, let’s reaffirm our commitment to bridging the digital divide and unleashing the potential of our youth. The road ahead may be challenging, but the opportunities are vast, and the rewards are profound.
By fostering a digitally inclusive society, we are not only preparing our youth for the future but also shaping the future itself. This future, I firmly believe, is one where every young mind is empowered with the skills they need to seize the opportunities that the digital world offers. It is a future where learning is truly democratized, and where the digital divide is a thing of the past.