About Digital Literacy

The three Rs of education, namely Reading, (W)Riting and (A)Rithmetic which were all the rage in the 1960s are now passe. They have to be joined by a fourth pillar, namely Digital Literacy to function in this technology driven world. With the launch of the Digital India Initiative, wherein the government hopes to make entire India ready for the digital economy boom, Digital Literacy for all becomes critical.

The National Digital Literacy Mission is a far-sighted, dynamic and integrated platform of digital literacy awareness, education and capacity building programmes that will help rural and the underserved communities fully participate in the global digital economy.

The NDLM mission statement clearly mandates training 250 million people translating into making one person per household digitally literate. Once one person in a household is digitally literate, he/she can help train the entire family. It is assumed that the beneficiaries are the number of households targeted and not just individuals, therefore making for a completely digitally literate India by 2020.

The NDLM curriculum is a digital literacy curriculum wherein beneficiaries are trained on all digital devices, specifically, computers and mobile phones. Once trained, the beneficiaries will be able to send emails, connect on social media, buy from ecommerce websites, and will even know how to use Internet to avail various government services such as registering for Aadhar cards, ration cards, PAN cards, and others. The learner is able to use these smart devices to make better informed decisions for his livelihood, health, finance etc. and avail all the newly announced Digital India services by the government.

Pune City Connect has raised its hand in ensuring that Pune reaches this target in the next 4-5 years, becoming the first completely digitally literate city of the country. That is to say, atleast one person in every household would be digitally literate by 2020. Early estimates suggest that there would be ~4-5 lakh digitally illiterate households in Pune. We hope to train an average of 1-1.5 lakhs every year for the next 5 years, for which the strategy is as follows:

1. Leverage the existing ecosystem for imparting Digital Literacy

There is a supportive and ready ecosystem for anyone wanting to contribute to Digital Literacy whether in terms of the digital curriculum, a cook book for running of the NDLM centres, an existing network of on-ground NGO partners who can do the day-to-do implementation and finally standardized assessments and certifications from the Department of Electronics and Information Technology. NASSCOM Foundation (NF) is the industry partner to the Government of India to accomplish the first phase goal for NDLM or 'DISHA' by together making 10 lakh individuals in India digitally literate in the coming few months. In this capacity, NF acts as a one-stop shop for corporates who would like to contribute, and is leading the 100% Digital Literacy mission for Pune.

2. Open ~100 "Digital Literacy Centers" in the next 3 years

Corporate Pune is being mobilized to support the movement for opening up of Digital Literacy centers. These centers will be opened within slum communities and also in PMC schools. PMC has already granted permission for school centers to be used for training students during the day, and the surrounding community dwellers in the evenings. The idea is to ensure close access to a Digital Literacy Centre, for all individuals across the city. On-ground implementation partners will mobilize communities all over to create awareness and ensure participation in the course

3. Engage in a "Each One Teach Two" volunteer teaching campaign for individual citizens

Pune is a city with youth forming a major part of the population, many of whom are students or already working in the IT sector. The Pune City Connect hopes to create a mass scale citizen movement wherein all citizens will be urged to download the Digital Literacy curriculum on their mobile devices, and subsequently use the same at their own pace and time, to teach a minimum of two citizens who are not digitally literate.

There has been an outstanding response to the NDLM centers that have been opened so far with community people lining up to participate in the course. Many of the graduates have already experienced betterment of jobs, thanks to the course. Pune City Connect believes that bridging the digital divide has high potential for acceleration of the reduction of the gap between the rich and the poor and is committed to the cause of Digital Literacy.