Working Towards Digital Literacy for All Children in India by 2047

By Prof. S. Rameshwar Rao
17-Aug-2023 2:42 pm IST, New Delhi

Project 2047 at a Glance

In India, providing quality education for all children remains an immense challenge. As of 2014, there were over 334 million school-age children, but most of their families cannot afford adequate private education. This education inequality is one of India's greatest problems.

Project Objective

To reach all these children, COMPUTER SHIKSHA (CS) has launched "Project 2047" with the ambitious goal of providing computer awareness education to 100% of children ages 5-16 in India by the year 2047, the centennial of India's independence. The target is an estimated 250 million children lacking digital literacy.

CS MagicBox

The main avenue for Project 2047 is the "CS MagicBox." This device, provided freely to schools, can play CS's video-based computer literacy curriculum. 182 pilot schools have received the CS MagicBox as of July 2023, serving over 54,000 students in 16 states.

Pilot Project

The MagicBox contains the full computer course videos and allows assessment of students after each module. It also has tools for providing certifications for students who qualify. A helpline assists schools using the MagicBox and curriculum.

Results & Summary

Results from the pilot have exceeded expectations. The classes are active in all participating schools, with children excited to learn from the tailored videos. Over 75% of schools have arranged 2-3 computers to supplement the curriculum with hands-on practice. Impressively, exam results match schools with full computer labs.

Smartphone Process Developed by CS

To facilitate practice without computers, CS developed a smartphone utility that splits the screen. Students can watch curriculum videos on one half while practicing skills on the other. This innovation enables learning with only a magic box and basic smartphone, a breakthrough for reaching rural villages and urban slums lacking computer access.

Project Costs for first 3 years

The total cost for the first three years of Project 2047 is estimated at ₹12.13 crore, to reach 25 million children. The per child cost works out to ₹95. Extending the project to achieve full nationwide coverage of 250 million children by 2047 is budgeted at ₹2,372 crore.

Project Background

These costs are minimal compared to the importance and impact of equipping the next generation with vital digital literacy. As India continues advancing technologically, children lacking basic computing skills will be left ever further behind without this project.

India Numbers

Project 2047's origin traces back to CS interacting with school leaders from underprivileged communities. Though lacking computers, they desperately wanted their students to learn computing concepts. This surprising feedback from educators on the ground spurred CS to consider alternative delivery models.

Current Status at CS

The school leaders stressed that video-based learning would still be valuable despite the lack of hands-on practice. Retention from videos is higher than books. And it can motivate the ecosystem to eventually provide computers. They noted even most engineering students must first learn theory before practicing skills.

Rationale for this thought

A key challenge Project 2047 must grapple with is that at current rates, it would take CS over 1,370 years to reach every child in India! This underscores the need to expand Magic Box adoption exponentially faster.

Teacher training

There are also calls to carefully study outcomes and iteratively refine the curriculum and delivery model based on data. Some suggest supplements like having roving literacy vans with laptops provide additional access. Others propose partnerships with low-cost tablet makers or telcos providing cheap data plans for students.

Magic Box Adoption Rate

Teacher training to facilitate the curriculum is another area for growth. But the base model of video curriculum on the magic box has already demonstrated potential for dramatic impact.

Progress After 6 Months

In just six months, the Magic Box pilot has reached over 7% of Project 2047's phase one goal of 25 million children. With continued rapid scaling, achieving the full target of 250 million children gaining basic digital literacy via the magic box model appears within grasp.

Fulfilling the Vision

This would fulfill the vision of including all of India's next generation in the information age. Students excited by the CS magic box content will gain knowledge and skills to improve livelihoods and partake in technology-driven economic growth.

Grassroots Innovation

Project 2047 exemplifies how grassroots wisdom and community collaboration are invaluable when designing solutions for societal challenges. It is a model for pragmatic innovation to spread digital empowerment.

Rethinking Requirements

The CS magic box highlights that universal access to education need not always require the latest gadgets or infrastructure. Simpler technology paired with localized context and commitment can go a long way.

Empowering Communities

If Project 2047 achieves its aims, it will showcase how visionary social initiatives can help traditionally marginalized communities equitably join the digital revolution. The project represents a stepping stone on India's long road toward ensuring inclusive economic and social progress.

Whatsapp role in spreading fake news

School of Engineering

School of Law and Society

School of Humanities

Socrates for sophomores

Admission: 11 plus exams

Whatsapp University Eminence Award nominees

Whatsapp University students corner

Our friends

Our friends