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#InternationalLiteracyDay2021 Narrowing the digital divide: What does that mean?

UNESCO celebrates International Literacy Day every year on the 8th of September to raise awareness of the importance of literacy and to look towards possible concerns. This year the theme of the International Literacy Day is, "Literacy for a human-centered recovery: Narrowing the digital divide"  

During the initial stages of the pandemic, the world saw a drastic downhill globally in the literacy rate, with over 773 million youth and adults being affected disproportionally in terms of literacy.  Youth and adult literacy, however, were not a matter of concern or even included in the initial plans of salvaging the situation during the pandemic in many countries. 

While often forgotten or disregarded, literacy is one of the most vital elements of an individual or society to live a decent life that they value and appreciate. Here comes the initiative of UNESCO, an eye-opener to re-emphasize the importance of basic literacy skills.

The theme of 2021- "Literacy for a human-centered recovery: Narrowing the digital divide", is premised mainly upon two base points:

  1. Lifelong learning
  2. Narrowing the digital divide

Both of which are the main components of the fundamentals that BitClass is built on.

Lifelong learning = Human-centered recovery

With the world adapting to the Pandemic in drastic ways, it has also meant that newer and better skills are expected from individuals doing any job in any walk of life. What becomes imperative in this scenario is for individuals to keep up with the times and constantly keep learning and honing their existing skills while adding more to their arsenal.

Some learn to upskill, some learn to find a better job or switch career paths, some learn because they are passionate about a particular subject and some learn because they just want to learn new things. Not only must specific skills be learned today, one must learn how to utilize the skill and build a career in today's digitally driven world. 

This brings forth the dire need for innovations and improvements in technologies aimed at making education, skill-building, and constant learning easy and accessible for not just the students learning them but also enable individuals with existing skills to teach their specific knowledge. In the long run, this would enable them to build a career not only for themselves but also for their learners who can spread their knowledge further down the line.

The key task that remains is for both private platforms as well as the Government to keep investing more and developing digital ecosystems that can create affordable and effective education and training programs at a larger scale.

What is the digital divide?

Digital divide refers to the gap between those with regular, effective access to digital and information technology, and those without this access. It encompasses both physical access to technology hardware and, more broadly, skills and resources which allow for its use.

Bridging the Psychological Gap = Narrowing the digital divide

India has already made a big leap in the digital revolution, as the aggregate number of internet users in India exceeds the aggregate number of internet users in some developed economies. However, despite this progress, India’s digital divide has remained deep and persistent.

While bridging the digital divide structurally (i.e the affordability of the devices and internet connection) falls on the ruling government, we can nevertheless try and bridge the gap functionally. Providing an online experience that is as similar to the offline experience as possible, at a rate as minimal as possible and in a way that is as accessible as possible. By this, the psychological void is satiated even when the physical distance is maintained. 

To provide a learning experience like no other is to provide a platform to teachers who have not only honed their craft but also who know how to deal with uncertain times and adapt to technology. And for students, it is to be able to offer the chance to learn anything from their fingertips, with a basic smartphone and an internet connection. In this effort, we present to you, Bitclass Launchpad. To help, enable and empower anyone with a specific skill to become a Teacherpreneur without any prior teaching experience or technical know-how where the ultimate goal is to make the process of teaching as easy for teachers as possible and the process of learning as accessible for students as possible.

Conclusion

A national and global digital revolution will benefit when technologies and governments collaborate to narrow the digital divide and make literacy readily available for everyone. The importance of global digital collaboration has become greater following Covid-19, which has shown how interconnected we have become as a global society.

This International Literacy Day, help someone make a difference in other's lives by sharing your knowledge or be that someone who nudges them towards learning something new.

Stay curious and keep learning!

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