AIF's Digital Equalizer (DE) program is a computer-aided learning program that is bridging the education and digital divide in India, and preparing tens of thousands of children to compete in the digital economy. Targeting children in grades 6 and above, AIF supports a DE school for 3 years and prepares it for self-sufficiency after this period.
DE imparts computer and internet education to subject teachers and students through project-based learning techniques. The program is tightly integrated with the school curriculum thereby improving subject matter expertise through the use of technology. To date DE has covered 24,000 teachers and 750,000 children in 2054 schools across India.
Despite its unprecedented growth, India faces daunting challenges in the provision of equitable, quality education that prepares its youth for participation in the Digital Age. For the vast majority of children from economically disadvantaged communities, the barriers for access to quality education, and hence participation in the global knowledge economy, are very high. Of the nearly 1 million public schools in India, less than 0.2 % have any form of IT infrastructure or computer-based education. Even in schools with technology resources, computer education primarily focuses on teaching "computers" as a subject rather than as a tool for enhancing the quality of teaching and learning in classrooms. Introducing a well-coordinated ICT program in a school goes beyond providing computers and internet. Education models that are innovative, cost-effective, scalable and sustainable are needed to inspire students, persuade parents and communities to keep children in school, and engage governments for the long-term. The central piece in the school ecosystem is the teacher. We believe that it is critical to empower the teachers through whom the benefits can be effectively transferred to the students.