Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” and rightly so. The importance of education in today’s world is immeasurable. Especially with the ongoing global crises, the world desperately needs educated individuals who can contribute to bringing about positive changes.
Education is undergoing a transformation as of late. The pandemic has necessitated certain changes that have altered the interaction between students and teachers. The closing of schools and universities has resulted in classes being conducted online, which has its own set of challenges. In a country like India where a considerable digital divide exists, widening gaps have appeared between the haves and the have-nots.
Vodafone Idea Foundation
A keen contributor towards eliminating this divide is the Vodafone Idea Foundation, the CSR wing of Vodafone Idea. In 2017, the Foundation created India’s largest multi-lingual online scholarship and assistance platform – www.learningwithvodafoneidea.in. The portal contains information on various scholarships for both students and teachers, worth over Rs. 15,000 crores.
The onset of the pandemic called for an adaptive approach that would still benefit the teaching community and the students as they continued to hold classes on the virtual platform. Thus, VI Teachers’ and Students’ Scholarship was born. The inaugural year saw 200 teachers and 2,500 students receive financial support from the scholarship program.
This year, 110 teachers from 22 states and 1,000 students from 19 states across India have been declared winners. Every teacher received an amount of Rs. 1 lakh, with the students receiving Rs. 20,000 each. The distributed scholarships will go a long way in addressing various challenges faced by teachers and students when it comes to access and availability of necessary resources to conduct virtual sessions.
Transitioning overnight from a brick-and-mortar to a digital platform has been taxing on both teachers and students. Conducting immersive and educational sessions on a digital platform is not an easy task. Recognizing the added financial constraints associated with e-learning, the VI Teachers and Students’ Scholarships were drawn up to address such issues.
One can hardly predict when things will go back to normal. However, one thing is for certain – virtual learning is here to stay. Educators and students will have to continuously adapt to the new normal as and when required. Efforts by corporates like Vodafone Idea to ease the transition through scholarship programs are definitely a step in the right direction.