eVidyaloka, an educational social enterprise with a vision to enable quality in education for the children of rural India, had organized Rubaru 2021, the annual summit of eVidyaloka which aims to promote the spirit of rural-urban connection. The event saw rural and urban India coming together to celebrate the successes of the past year and to mark the completion of 10 years of the eVidyaloka journey.
The event was graced by Sri Suresh Kumar- Education Minister, Government of Karnataka, as the Chief Guest and Sri Tejasvi Surya- Member of Parliament, Government of Karnataka, and Chief Patron of eVidyaloka Prof V. Krishnamurthy, Ex-Dean, BITS Pilani, who appreciated eVidyaloka’s efforts towards educating rural India and the concept of “Loka Sangraha” - a construct of leadership for welfare of the world. The Keynote speakers were Sri B S Saluja, Vice President, Corporate Services, LTI and Sri ArindamBanerjji, EVP & MD, Well Fargo.
While Sri BS Saluja, reflected on the partnership which has grown from partnering with eVidyaloka from 5 schools in one state to 95 schools in five states across India. He also spoke about the benefits of the program from the Corporate perspective where a skilled Rural India is a ready pool of talent for the Corporate World. The sentiment was echoed by Mr. Arindam Banerjee, EVP & MD of Wells Fargo who mentioned that community upliftment and investments in the community will help the Corporate world in the long run, so supporting such initiatives was more important than just a “good to do” initiative.
In keeping with the challenges of the past year and the completion of 10 years of eVidyaloka, the panel discussions revolved the understanding the challenges of online education, the impact of technology to scale educational initiatives & building a future-ready system by multiple stakeholders participating in solutions, and the impact of online learning on children. The first session of the panel consisted of Mr Harish Krishnan- MD, CISCO Systems India, Mr Raghavendra K- Global HRD Head, Infosys BPO, Ms Sapna Chadha - Senior Country Marketing Director, Google India & South East Asia, and Ms ShipraSharma- CSR & Sustainability Director, LTI was moderated by Mr V Ramkumar, Member - Board of trustees, eVidyaloka to discuss the impact of technology on education.
Speaking about the panel, Sri Ravichandran Venkataraman, Chairperson of eVidyaloka Trust, eVidyaloka, said, "The entire session was very insightful with stakeholders from various folds of the ecosystem who threw light on the efforts that need to be put in to help make quality education accessible to the students, irrespective of their geographical diversities. The need for depth in our educational program came to light. The importance of looking at social impact as core to business was highlighted. As a conclusion, we were left with a pertinent point on whether we have harnessed technology in education well enough and the need to look beyond the obvious solutions in tech for education.”
The second session of the panel discussions, which was graced by Ms Shaheen Mistri- CEO, Teach for India, Mr AbhinavMathur- Founder, Million Sparks Foundation, and Mr ArunNalavadi- Executive Director, Magic Bus India and moderated by Manisha Natarajan, a renowned journalist and public speaker, spoke about the impact of online learning in children. The panellists stressed the need to create joyous learning experiences and to recognize the stress factor that comes with online learning for children. Focus on soft skills in online education was discussed at length and a consensus was reached on a blended learning approach, technology enabled online teaching and option of offline learning through app as the way forward for the future.”
Adding to this, Mr. Venkat Sriraman, Founder and Member, eVidyaloka Trust, said, "What started as an endeavour to provide quality education for children in rural India with a pilot project in one school in rural Tamil Nadu has now reached the length and breadth of the country. Our movement gained huge momentum with the passion of 2500+ volunteers who teach students in seven different languages which help deliver quality education to over 20,000 children across 11 states in India with 1 million+ child learning hours per year of quality education. Rubaru 2021 marks the culmination of our signature events - i) National Science Innovation Challenge which a unique event celebrating the spirit of connecting students from rural and urban India who came together with an innovative solution for challenging problems, and ii) Vgyana - an online interactive quiz for students. With renewed vigour to fight this great digital divide plaguing our country with innovative and local solutions, eVidyaloka is on a crusade to ensure that no child is left behind in their right to education.”
The event ended with a tribute to Mr SP Balasubrahmanyam who was an avid supporter of eVidyalokaand our vision.
eVidyaloka was founded in January 2011 by Satish and Venkat, colleagues at Microsoft India, with the passion to bring volunteerism and technology together, to enable quality education for the most deserving children of remote and rural villages of India. After a pilot of the idea on the field for two years, the journey was set in motion with full-time employees since May 2013. Since its inception, this model has reached and empowered more than 20,000 children across 245 villages spread over 11 states in India - Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Kerala. Over 95% of students continue their education through the 10th and 12th grades, signalling a lower dropout rate in schools that adopt the eVidyaloka model. The organization has been funded by contributors such as HP, L&T Technological Services, and Infosys, all socially conscious titans in their industries.