By Pushpavathi K
With the evolution of technology, digital skills have become indispensable to face the ever-evolving challenges of the 21st century.
S M Sehgal Foundation is implementing a program called “Sakshyam” in partnership with Guru Krupa Foundation to bridge the digital literacy gap among students in rural India. The program focuses on teaching the basics of computer use and the responsible use of digital resources and online communication, as well as life skills such as decision-making, English communication, and social media savviness. The program targets Class IX and X students in the Government High School in Rajenahalli village of Kolar, Karnataka.
The curriculum includes the basics of computers and use of digital resources, including how to identify relevant videos and images, fact-check information, understand bias in language, participate in online communities, evaluate online resources, and distinguish real news from fake news. Youth also learn life skills that increase their confidence, empathy, responsibility in decision-making, English communication, and social media savviness. An inspiring story of how the program has helped a student and their family is a good example.
Chandan’s family of four owned two acres of land, which was not enough to support them. His father leased out the land to cultivate tomatoes, but due to a heavy rain and diseases, there was crop loss. Chandan, who was attending the Project Sakshyam classes, learned about the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bhima Yojana (PMFBY) crop insurance scheme that provides financial support to farmers whose crops have been destroyed. He informed his family about the scheme, and his father took the necessary steps to apply for compensation and, with the help of the gram panchayat, his father was able to avail the benefits of the scheme.
His family was grateful to receive some money back through the scheme and thankful to S M Sehgal Foundation for offering the program.
(Pushpavathi K is a digital literacy instructor in Kolar, Karnataka, with S M Sehgal Foundation)