With so many science and engineering professionals emerging from India, it’s easy to forget that much of the country is trying to bring quality education to millions of students in rural areas.
While nearly every kid in rural villages is enrolled in school, only 71 percent can be found in a classroom on any given day, according to the most recent Aser Annual State of Education Report. What’s more, roughly half of all India’s kids are reading below their grade levels. And dropout rates are high, with 29 percent of children leaving before five years of primary school, 43 percent before finishing upper primary school and 58 percent before graduating high school.
The Government of India is facing the challenge through innovative programs, such as Digital India and the National Digital Literacy Mission, that aim to offer digital curriculum in cities and villages where educational opportunities are limited.
As part of this effort, HP today committed to deploy 48 IT-enabled digital inclusion and learning labs to isolated and disadvantaged villages across the country.
The HP World on Wheels initiative is expected to touch nearly 6,400 villages and help 15 million people over the next six years. The program targets primary, high school and college-aged students, with additional programming opportunities for adults and community members of all ages. In its first year, HP WoW will cover eight states: Uttrakhand, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, and Gujrat. Rajiv Srivastava, managing director, HP India, announced the new commitment on stage at the Global Citizen Festival in Mumbai in front of a crowd of some 150,000 people.
“As we work to create technology that makes life better for everyone everywhere, we recognize a big gap remains between those who have access and those who do not," said Rajiv Srivastava, Managing director, HP India . "It's our imperative to bring quality online education, entrepreneurship training and access to essential citizen services to people – right where they are.”
Inside a learning lab
Each solar-powered, digital inclusion and learning lab seats 20 students and comes stocked with the latest HP computers and printers, as well as online access to digital literacy and IT training programs.World on Wheels is new, but it isn’t HP’s first effort to improve digital education in India or around the globe.
HP Future Classroom is delivering skills training to students and job seekers in India - all in a space the size of a shipping container. Each classroom is equipped with HP hardware supported by a suite of software solutions that students and teachers can also access at home, via the Internet.
Worldwide, more than 600,000 people have tapped into HP Future Classroom programs for practical skills to land jobs and build businesses.
In addition to World on Wheels and Future Classrooms, HP also stepped up its commitment earlier this year to help Syrian refugees start new lives by announcing new Learning Studios in Jordan and Lebanon. The company had already deployed Learning Studios at 60 locations in 10 countries, but these were the first dedicated to helping refugees.
Core curriculum for both initiatives is supplemented by HP LIFE, a program of the HP Foundation that includes 25 free, online learning courses focused on essential business and IT skills.