Bridging the rural literacy gap
A recent article by Stanford economist Scott Rozelle revealed that 80% of urban Chinese students have access to the internet, compared with 2% of their rural peers. The gap, he says, threatens to leave too many children behind and jeopardises China’s economic future. He called this to be the greatest digital divide of any country in the world and also cited the example of how test scores of students learning Mandarin through computer games and software rose sharply by the advent of computers in rural schools. Within 10 weeks, test scores rose on average from the equivalent of a C+ to a B. The results eventually led to a 10-year-plan laid out by the government that calls for every student in China to have access to the internet. Closer home, in Mumbai to be precise, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation found that students in its schools with internet access outperformed those in other BMC schools without internet access. Clearly, technology is not just a differentiator but also an enabler when it comes to driving positive outcomes in areas such as education, health, financial inclusion, governance, etc.
Personally, I believe that India’s demographic status as a young nation is a double-edged sword. While corporate India looks at the bottom of the pyramid as a potential market, other segments look at this demographic
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