Event date: 27th November 2021
EdTech is commonly understood as a necessary tech transition for school education. However, millions of workers in informal sector, either learning on job or joining the labour market through vocational training institute too need EdTech for advancing skill and career propositions. There is increasing informalisation of work specially in post covid times. The Future of Work will be more and more supported by technology, either as means to fulfill work and/or as site of work. Workers need constant upskilling or reskilling to survive in job market. EdTech could be a gamechanger here, crucial and necessary to leverage technology to remain relevant in the rising digital economy.
However, there are issues of accessibility, availability and affordability in using EdTech in informal economy. There is also the issue of accessibility to such solutions for further marginalised groups such as women informal workers as they are less likely to own gadgets and also face time and knowledge poverty due rampant patriarchy and triple burden. Additionally, education and awareness level are found to be poorer in case of women and other genders.
With these concerns in mind, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, India Office jointly with Centre of Excellence for Digital Transformation, IFHE Hyderabad organised a one-day Symposium on Digital Transformation of Informal Sector- Challenges and Opportunities for EdTech at IFHE Campus in Hyderabad.
The symposium was attended by representative from government departments on tech education, educationists, academia, for profit and not-for-profit organisation working on EdTech with informal workers, startups in EdTech and students. Mr Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary, Industries & Commerce (I&C) Department, & Information Technology, Electronics and Communications (ITE&C) Department, Government of Telangana presented the Keynote address and talked about the efforts made by Telangana government in ascertaining digital inclusion of marginalised groups. He emphasised on the need for collaboration in this regard, with participation of crucial stakeholders such as industry, government and informal sector.
There were three impactful panel discussions focused on i) EdTech for informal sector from education perspective including content, certification, skill assessment, trainers etc. ii) EdTech for informal sector from technology perspective including match making algorithm, data, hardware, payment, content delivery, affordability, accessibility etc and iii) EdTech for informal sector from enabling ecosystem perspective including entrepreneurs, investors, regulators, recruiters, educational institutions, users etc.
Mandvi Kulshreshtha is Program Adviser of the Economy of Tomorrow project at the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung India office in New Delhi.