The coronavirus pandemic has converted education systems around the world to adopt a virtual system to replace offline and classroom mode of education. Resulting from forced closure of schools, colleges and educational institute, education systems around the world and in India have been forced to equip and improve their infrastructure to welcome a new wave of the education system in the world. Paving the way for a smoother virtual education system, tech giant Google announced its partnership with the Government of Maharashtra that will aim to help millions of students and teachers to avail themselves the benefit of the virtual educational environment.
Tapping into the world second largest internet market, Google will invest $10 billion dollars to ensure that 23 million students and teachers access this platform for absolutely free. This follows closely to a survey undertaken by Google to analyse teachers’ interests towards digital learning and it was proven that about 1,50,000 teachers and more had signed up for the program in less than 48 hours. Maharashtra is one of the worst-hit states of India by Covid-19, and with no choice in their hands, schools had been forced to shut down since March 2020.
“All of us had questions regarding the future of education. We have come to a step closer to answering these questions due to the pandemic,” said Uddhav Thackeray, chief minister of Maharashtra.
Education Minister of Maharashtra, Varsha Gaikwad, said that this step will benefit the government and provide aide in their mission to equip 1,90,000 schools with technology. She added, “Our goal is to make Maharashtra the most progressive state in education by making effective use of online resources, platforms, bandwidth and technology, using the power of the internet to reach out to the masses and bridge the gap in education.”
This pandemic has fuelled the success of several digital learning start-ups like Byju’s, Facebook -backed Unacademy, Vedantu and Toppr among others. Google is providing a range of services to teachers and students, like G Suite, Google Forms for quizzes, Google Classroom, Google Meet, and a Teach from Anywhere hub for Marathi educators.
“Our teachers and schools have the huge responsibility in shaping the future of our new generation, and we continue to be honoured to play a role in offering digital tools that can enable more teachers to help even more students stay firmly on their journey of learning, during these times and beyond,” wrote Sanjay Gupta, country head and vice president of Google India, in a blog post.
Recently, Google had also partnered with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to provide educational aid to over 1 million students in 22,000 schools in India. Google’s philanthropic branch has granted $1 million to Kaivalya Education Foundation (KEF) to provide underprivileged children with education from Google. Facebook, too, had partnered with CBSE to launch new curriculums pertaining to digital safety, online well-being, and augmented reality for students and teachers.