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India

The Context
With a population of over 1.3 billion people, India is a large South Asian country. In India, there are four stages of education: primary, secondary, higher, and vocational.

In India, primary education is free and mandatory for all students aged 6 to 14. Although the language varies by state or region, many schools teach in English, Hindi, or a regional language. Secondary education is divided into two levels: lower secondary and higher secondary. Lower secondary is four years long, while upper secondary is two years long. Students take the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) or Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) test after upper secondary education. Universities and colleges, both state and private, are part of higher education in India. With over 800 universities and over 40,000 colleges, the nation has a large and well-developed higher education system. Vocational education encompasses technical and vocational training intended to prepare students for particular careers.

Despite recent progress, India’s education system faces many challenges. These include unequal access to education, a teacher shortage, and a lack of funding in many schools. The government has implemented policies to handle these challenges, including expanding digital education and increasing education funding.

Overall, education is viewed as a critical component in India’s development.

ST Foundation’s Presence
The DU Program was launched in 2003 with the support of the Greater Noida ST plant and its volunteers. Its aim was to provide new educational opportunities and resources that were not available locally. Over time, the initiative expanded, reaching more people across the country. This success and the potential for further growth led to establishing a local, independent legal entity, ST Foundation India, which started its operations in 2018.

From its inception, the program offered various standard courses such as Introduction to  Computer Basics (ICB), Tablet for Kids (T4K), and Advanced Courses. These foundational courses laid the groundwork for further educational development. As the program progressed, particularly during the pandemic, it evolved, introducing innovative educational initiatives. One notable addition was the Tablet for Seniors (T4S) course, aimed at helping the elderly stay connected in an increasingly digital world.

By the end of 2023, the courses were operating smoothly, benefiting over 141,000 individuals since the program’s beginning. These efforts underscore the program’s commitment to enhancing educational access and proficiency among diverse population segments, demonstrating a flexible approach to evolving educational needs.