New Delhi: Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google, announced on Thursday grants of $ 8.4 million to four NGOs in India that offer technology-based learning solutions.
The NGOs include Learning Equality (USD 500,000), Million Sparks Foundation (USD 1.2 million), Pratham Books Story Weaver (USD 3.6 million), and Pratham Education Foundation (USD 3.1 million).
They will receive the grant for two years to expand and scale the work they are doing. These grants are part of a global USD 50 million commitment that Google.org has made towards supporting non-profit entities that are building tech-based learning solutions.
"These grants will be used to scale existing initiatives to reach more children and build more innovative and engaging tech-based learning solutions to close the gap in learning and academic opportunity," Google vice-president South East Asia and India Rajan Anandan said at an event here.
Various studies show a decline in learning levels among school students.
While data indicate that there are about 260 million children enrolled in schools across the country, there are studies that show that many children in fifth grade cannot read a second grade text or solve a two-digit subtraction problem.
In the National Policy of Education report 2016, poor learning outcomes have been attributed to serious gaps in teacher motivation and training.
Lack of access to relevant educational material, tools and aids that enhance classroom experience are some of the other areas that must be addressed.
"Google has never taken a conventional approach to solving problems and neither does Google.org. Our approach is to find the most promising non-profits and help them close this gap," Anandan said.
Google will offer mentorship as well as access to its products to help these NGOs.
"We believe that technology can help bridge the gap, it can get more books to students, more lesson plans to teachers, and classrooms to kids who can't get there themselves," Nick Cain, programme manager (education) at Google.org, said.
The grants in India will focus on three areas - making available learning material that overcome language and connectivity gaps, providing better training and support to teachers and supporting students beyond classroom learning.