The education sector in India has been making a progressive journey since the country’s independence. Fast forward to the present, India now boasts some of the best universities and colleges which comprise veteran educators and state-of-the-art infrastructure. However, despite being home to some of the best institutes, a considerable section of the population is still deprived of quality education. As of 2011, the literacy rate in India was 74%, with female literacy rate amounting to only 65%. If we are to reach our true potential as a nation, we need to ensure that every citizen has access to basic education, an objective we as a nation are still working on achieving.
Edtech as a solution:
The infusion of technology in educational solutions has not only given birth to a more robust education industry, but it has also made education accessible to a broader population, particularly women. In a country battling low female education figures, a plethora of edtech apps has opened up previously unexplored avenues for women who are eager to learn. By making quality education more attainable, it has enabled female students to educate themselves, thus making their battle against various social prejudices easier. Thus, edtech is slowly changing the female narrative for the better by liberating urban and rural women alike from the shackles which society has imposed on them.
Flexible learning for homemakers:
One of the most significant contributions of edtech tools has been on the spectrum of homemakers and mothers. Majority of their day is spent in managing their household chores, and taking time out for themselves is often the last thing on their mind. By gaining access to a platform that provides education from one’s home, women can now pursue courses that are of interest to them. Since fixed class schedules do not limit online learning, a full-time homemaker can now invest an hour or two according to the time that fits well into her busy schedule.
Each one, teach one:
Learning is always a two-way process, edtech not only allows women to study part-time, but they can also take online classes to teach part-time as well. This gives them lucrative remuneration, flexibility, and the fulfillment that comes with making a difference in other women’s lives. An empowered woman, after all, can empower other women. For example, a woman who has cracked a demanding competitive exam like the IAS can use edtech to inspire and train other women who aspire to do the same. Edtech thus enables women to invest in their personal growth while not making them compromise on the quality time spent with their children and family.
Bringing education to rural women:
One of the reasons behind low literacy rate in women is also because for many women, reaching the nearest center of learning translates to countless hours of travel. In this respect, edtech can play a defining role by bringing education to these women’s doorstep. Since it requires minimum infrastructure, many local NGOs are providing remote educational services through online learning. As a result, women in rural areas can gain as much access to quality education as compared to a woman in an urban area, a luxury which was previously unavailable.
Skill-learning and enhancement:
While the massive disparity in gender ratio at the workforce has been reducing, women are often left with no other option but to focus on personal commitments and give their professional lives a backseat. This results in a gradual loss of self-confidence, and a lack of belief in one’s abilities. However, with the advent of edtech, women can restart their careers and put their skills to use not just for themselves, but for the betterment of our education system as well. Technology in education has resulted in tremendous job opportunities, and several start-ups have come to the fore enabling women to take up exciting jobs and earn a living.
Empowering girls and women:
Edtech tools thus not only compliment and facilitate the job of an educator, but they also act as a beacon of hope to women in rural and urban areas alike. Online education empowers women to pursue the career they want to even in the face of difficult circumstances. For instance, it is now possible for a woman in a remote area to ace competitive examinations like CAT, GMAT, JEE, IAS. With numerous edtech startups, more women in India can not only gain access to education, but can also receive flexible work options as well as on-the-job learning. This makes it easier for them to make a meaningful impact in every social sphere while also imparting in them an overall sense of self-empowerment.
Technology is critical for moving the needle forward for women because it amplifies their voice. An increase in technological innovations coupled with the nation’s policies towards women’s rights can slowly but eventually nudge the Indian society towards equality, and in turn a better place for women.