Digital tools can transform lives of under privileged students: Adobe India MD

Digital tools can transform lives of under privileged students: Adobe India MD Ashok Kumar/ OneWorld South Asia

Dr Naresh Gupta, Senior Vice President, Adobe Systems and Managing Director, Adobe India, tells OneWorld South Asia, how digital media can transform the lives of underprivileged students in the developing countries.

How can internet better serve the cause of neglected students?

Internet can be used as an affective medium to serve the cause of underserved students, who are unable to afford basic standard of living and education. It is an interactive tool, and provides excellent resources for students to discover and explore various topics. It allows these students to communicate and collaborate with similar students from around the world, who have so far been unreachable to them.

Now, even the children of slum dwellers, for instance in a Delhi suburb, can learn how children of similar profile in Africa are dealing with common issues such as pollution, child labour and so on. Therefore, if used effectively and programmatically, Internet is a tool which help can transform the lives of under-served students around the world.

How do digital skills mean more value for the developing countries?

Developing countries, like India, are grappling with a challenge of liberating education for underprivileged. Unfortunately, education in developing countries still remains a basic requirement for the upliftment of downtrodden in a society, and hence is of paramount importance. The cost of developing education system in these countries could be really high, but with digital tools, the cost of high-quality education can be brought down significantly.

Also, it is a fact that human capital is the single-biggest asset for developing countries like India and China. And, with the wide-spread proliferation of digital devices and platforms in these countries, the more our population, especially the under-served are equipped with digital skills, the more it would manifest itself as progress for the nation as a whole.

How will it make a difference if educators are empowered to use digital media?

By teaching with a wide variation of media, educators can familiarise students to cultural differences, communication pathways and share ideas with encouragement towards a broader outlook. It’s more vital that educators rather than thinking about the risks and recreational applications, should consider opportunities and learning when covering digital media.

Digital media attracts more students due to its innovation, encourages learning due to extensive information updates, and is less time consuming or requires fewer set-ups in comparison to traditional learning. Enhancing educators' skills and resources help in developing teaching strategies that incorporate cutting-edge digital tools.

How does Adobe endeavour to use digital media in empowering under-served students?

Because of the lack of access to appropriate technological resources, most of the young people are not able to reap the benefits of 21st century education. Moreover, their educators are not equipped or supported to use technology to enhance learning.

Adobe Youth Voices is the Adobe Foundation’s global philanthropic initiative that empowers youth from underserved communities with digital media skills, so that they can comment on their world, share their ideas and take action on issues that are important for them. By harnessing the energy and insight of youth in the age group of 13–18 years. Adobe Youth Voices aims to assist youth, globally, in expressing themselves through documentary videos, photography, print media, radio diaries, animation, Web communications and other media.

All over the world, including in India, a huge number of young people leave school for economic and social reasons. Adobe Youth Voices affirms the potential of underserved youth and provides them with breakthrough opportunities to persuasively express their ideas. Not just that, Adobe Youth Voices also provides youth with a worldwide audience to hear what they have to say.

How will Adobe’s partnership with Discovery Education bear fruits for the under-served children?

The Adobe Foundation and Discovery Education partnership is aimed to provide curriculum and resources to help educators weave digital media making into their teaching practice. Equipped with this curriculum, educators will be able to provide young people with critical technology skills to help the latter in efficient communication of their ideas.

How can critical technology skills help the young people to realize their full potential, and help them better in shaping up their career?

As the future is all about technology, it is important for today’s generation to be well-equipped with critical technology skills to be successful and future-ready. Even organizations are promoting digital workplaces, where work largely depends on the usage of various technologies.

For the youth, who are not so technologically advanced it is of utmost importance that they are given the requisite infrastructure and ample opportunities to gain technology skills.

The Adobe Foundation had recently partnered with Discovery Education to empower educators in helping students gain critical technology skills.