Google’s philanthropic arm Google.org on Thursday announced grants of $8.4 million (Rs 54.09 crore) to four Indian NGOs over the next two years to help them expand their efforts to improve the learning experience for students in the classroom.
These grants are part of a global $50 million commitment that aims to help non-profits apply tech-based learning solutions.
The recipients of the grants include Learning Equality, Million Sparks Foundation, Pratham Books StoryWeaver and Pratham Education Foundation.
"Our approach is to find the most promising non-profits and put the best of Google to work and help them close this gap," Rajan Anandan, Vice President (South East Asia and India), Google, told reporters in Delhi.
According to data from the Ministry of Human Resource Development, there are 260 million children enrolled in nearly 1.51 million private and government schools at primary and secondary levels across India.
In the National Policy of Education Report 2016, poor learning outcomes have been attributed to serious gaps in teacher motivation and training.
Lack of access to relevant educational material, tools and aids that enhance the classroom experience are some of the other areas that must be addressed.
Various studies have also shown a decline in learning levels among school students. Less than 43% of Std 3 children can read a Std 1 level text while less than one lakh schools in India have just one teacher, the report said.
“We believe technology can help bridge the gap, it can get more books to students, more lesson plans to teachers, and classrooms to kids who can’t get there themselves,” said Nick Cain, Programme Manager, Education, Google.org.
Pratham Books, which has created StoryWeaver, an open source technology platform for translating books, received $3.6 million.
Pratham Education received $3.1 million for their Hybrid Learning Programme to empower students to use self-driven, tablet-based curricula to learn outside of the classroom.
Million Sparks Foundation that developed ChalkLit, a digital content platform and social community for teachers, received $1.2 million.
Learning Equality received $500,000 for India as part of the $5 million across India, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa. The organisation aims to take digital content offline for students without internet through their open source software Kolibri.
The grants will focus on quality learning material, providing better training and support to teachers and supporting students beyond classroom learning, Google.org said.