New Delhi: IIT Delhi and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF) have come together to bridge the increasing digital divide in education for students from economically weaker backgrounds and support them to complete their education amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
About the Project
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected education globally with many governments around the world temporarily closing educational institutions to contain the spread of virus. IIT Delhi also mandated that the remainder of Semester II (2019-20) and Semesters I & II (2020-21) will be run online.
While this provision was the only realistic option in the current situation, it was estimated that a small, but significant, number of students would find it unaffordable to own required facilities like high-speed internet connection and/or device such as a computer, smartphone, or tablet for the online learning.
To support such economically weaker students, IIT Delhi took initiative to ensure that they have devices like laptop, smartphone, tablet and high-speed internet connection. It also actively sought support from philanthropic foundations to bolster this effort.
The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation came forward and funded the Institute’s initiative to support the students amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prof. V. Ramgopal Rao, Director, IIT Delhi, said, “IIT Delhi, as a student-friendly institution, believes that students in need must get all the necessary support. In several discussions in the Covid-19 working group and other forums, it was proposed that we support as many students as possible to overcome the challenges they face due to the pandemic. This partnership with MSDF has enabled our students to get the required support during these difficult times. We are grateful to the MSDF team.”
“One key learning we’ve had during the pandemic is that lack of access to a device can be the biggest hindrance to continued learning. Our partnership with IIT Delhi is anchored around our core principle of Everyone Deserves Opportunity, and that resources should not limit the success of students who have displayed academic excellence and tremendous grit in securing their seats at a premier institute like IIT Delhi,” said Ms Geeta Goel, Country Director, India, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.
Prof. Anurag S. Rathore, Dean, Corporate Relations said, “Since the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the normal lifestyle of people across the globe, the virtual world has come to the rescue and these collaborations will have immediate impact on the students allowing them to continue their classes virtually and keep up academically during this disruptive time”.
“COVID has placed students under all kinds of pressures ranging from lack of personal space, strain on their mental and physical well-being, economic distress to personal losses. Through collaborations like this we hope to ease some stress and help in bridging the digital divide,” said Prof. Reetika Khera, Associate Dean, Students Welfare, IIT Delhi.