National Digital Literacy Mission Summit
About the Summit
Formed as an industry social initiative and partners in the civil society, the National Digital Literacy Mission (NDLM), initiated in 2012-13, is a small step in the right direction. With a vision of ‘every household a digitally literate household’, and mission to make one person in each household literate, the mission on ground through the ‘Follow the Fibre’ (FTF) programme, seeks to create examples of learning and lesson from community experience and need in digital literacy. The Summit was the first kind of its effort towards showcasing NDLM achievements and how this programme can be taken forward. The Summit shared learning, challenges, issues and experiences on digital literacy.
- Showcased hands-on experiences from digitally literate adults from three (3) identified pilot village panchayats under NOFN plan;
- To build a strong case & compelling advocacy for maximizing adoption of wireless technologies for rural empowerment and enable delivery of content and services to reach masses;
- Using digital Panchayats to facilitate deployment of rural citizen services delivery through digital means;
- To link digital literacy and ICT skills including network and bandwidth with new opportunities for economic and social empowerment;
- Roadmap to generate social, cultural and economic advantages for every Panchayat with a two way information and content gateway.
The summit was formed in a discussion-oriented format sharing the case studies around wireless network deployment and operations in India. The objective of the Summit is to develop a mechanism for achieving the vision of the Ministry of Telecom on making the country digitally literacy by 2020. The Summit was chaired by Dr. Ajay Kumar, Joint Secretary, DeitY, Government of India and moderated by Mr. Osama Manzar, Founder & Director, Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF)
Chair & Keynote Address: Dr. Ajay Kumar, Joint Secretary, DietY (Department of Electronics & Information Technology), GoI
Moderator: Osama Manzar, Founder Director, Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF)
- Dilip Chenoy, CEO & MD, National Skill Development. Corporation (NSDC)
- Sandeep Aurora, Director – Marketing and Market Development – Intel South Asia
- Rita Soni, CEO, NASSCOM
- Dr. Sheela Taori, Educationist & Chairperson of LEARNINGMANTRA
- Manmohan Singh Thandi, Patron, Computer Shiksha
- R. Viswanathan, Chief Learning Officer, Avaikalam Solutions
- Chintan Raj, PM Fellow, Ministry of Rural Development, GOI
With the objective how to take this initiative forward, Mr. Manzar raised a question with Dr. Ajay Kumar, Joint Secretary, DietY what is the mission of the government in making the country digitally literate by 2020.
Dr. Kumar recommended to change the definition of digital literacy – that has to defined as per need i.e., farmer need to be trained on how to receive agriculture information and various government schemes on computer to make his livelihood better. He emphasized to achieve this objective; there is a need to have collaborative approach among NGOs, government, academia, private stakeholders, and individuals. At last, Dr. Ajay recommend that CSCs (Common Service Centres) can play an active role in making the country digitally literate as there are 90,000 CSCs across the country that can strengthen and improved further for achieving this goal.
Taking the experiences from ground, Mr. Manzar asked to share experiences from ground.
While Sharing how Chanderi has been now transformed as tourist hotspot.
In a reply to such experiences, Dr. Ajay Kumar added that courses provided by local University and other educational institutes can provide such courses free of cost to those students who are living rural areas.
Giving an example of Nagor village, tablets were given to group of 700-800 people to explore the internet usage. In result, panchayats were digitized, District Magistrate was able to recognize and promote the education within the region. Thus, such kind of examples can be replicated in other states and then later on it can be rolled out in the entire country.
Ms. Rita Soni, CEO, NASSCOM commended all the members from the panchayat across the country for their accomplishments in the field of digital literacy. She suggested 3 points to improve upon it. Firstly she said that Digital Literacy is bound to happen, with or without the corporates. Secondly, after having created such awareness we need to devise ways in which we can leverage this knowledge. Lastly she said that being able to use the judge mental aspect while using the internet was very crucial.
At last, Chintan Raj, PM Fellow at the Ministry of Rural Development emphasized that there is need to make it realize that digital education is part of livelihood and life. This realization can be attained soon when the educational programmes can spread in a uniform way with exponential escalation. He also recommended to have wider outreach model to spread out such awareness programmes, covering mostly rural regions of the country.
- Connectivity and technology reach along with devices will be futile if the push for locally relevant and created content and solutions are not augmented and promoted.
- Involvement of local content and service providers must be provisioned and promoted to provide digital solutions and services for the local community clientele.
- The PPP model of partnership must be accelerated and strengthened in such national endeavours such as digital literacy mission towards a formal national plan and action. The strengths in content, solutions, resource mobilization, training, affordable technology and devices as emerges from such partnership model needs more experimentation on ground in this literacy drive. An additional component of this partnership mechanism is the need to propagate and adopt the Public Private Civil Society (PPCS) partnerships due to the enormous community and implementation strength of civil society agencies.
- Digital literacy is the need of the hour. There is urgency to adopt a sustained campaign, advocacy, plans, and implementation of digital literacy drive right from the Panchayat level, Block, District, State to the National level. Role of the stakeholders can be allocated based on this distribution of literacy tasks and goals. Role of grassroots agencies and institutions like the government schools, community organisations, common services centres (CSCs) can be chalked out and allocated to sustain digital literacy drives.
- The last mile access and connectivity still remains a great development challenges in rural India as observed in the 3 FTF training locations. The NOFN is a noble initiative but it needs to be expedited and further decentralised to reach out to the unreached. Industry partners must be engaged to play a pivotal role along with government agencies such as Universal Services Obligation Fund (USOF) to expedite connectivity and access. The more the delay, the greater opportunities missed out for the millions of those living on the edge.
Digital Empowerment Foundation
Digital Empowerment Foundation, a Delhi based not-for-profit organization was registered on December 2002, under the “Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860″ to find solutions to bridge the digital divide. With no political affiliations, it was founded by Osama Manzar to uplift the downtrodden and to create economic and commercial viability using Information Communication and Technology as means. It was actively started in the year 2003 after the founder director left his software company to seriously pursue the aims and objectives of Digital Empowerment.
Intel, the world leader in silicon innovation, develops technologies, products, and initiatives to continually advance how people work and live. Founded in 1968 to build semiconductor memory products, Intel introduced the world’s first microprocessor in 1971. The mission is to create and extend computing technology to connect and enrich the lives of every person on earth.