Education

IIITH and Agastya collaborate to bring digital technologies for rural school children

The partners will jointly identify problems in the grassroots that can be addressed by solutions based on emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, language technologies and computer vision
IIITH and Agastya collaborate to bring digital technologies for rural school children
IIITH and Agastya collaborate to bring digital technologies for rural school children (Representational Image: Shutterstock)

International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad (IIITH) and Agastya International Foundation are collaborating to create solutions that will bring innovative, high-quality and high-relevance learning and training to economically disadvantaged school children. The partners will jointly identify problems in the grassroots that can be addressed by solutions based on emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), language technologies and computer vision. The objective is to enable those on the wrong side of the digital divide by leveraging cutting-edge research.

The partnership is set up under the aegis of the Raj Reddy Centre on Technology in Service of Society at IIITH. This centre is an initiative of IIITH to enable research and emerging technology-led solutions for grassroot education and public health, with specific emphasis on the rural population. The centre will pursue two broad directions for high societal impact: Innovations in rural education along with Innovation in healthcare for the bottom of the pyramid.

Agastya International Foundation is a non-profit organisation based in Bangalore, nurture creativity and build confidence among economically disadvantaged children and teachers in rural India. Founded in 1999, Agastya runs hands-on science education programmes in rural and semi-urban regions across 14 Indian states. 

IIITH and Agastya collaboration on research and development of specialised solutions and tools, aiming at enhancing the learning experience of children and teachers through the latest technologies. The centre will focus on areas that include vernacular language tools which will provide interactive knowledge access to students with minimal resources, improved teaching tools, gamification of learning through animations, interactive experiments, augmented reality models, and measuring learning effectiveness.

Highlighting the collaboration, Prof. Ramesh Loganathan, Chair – Outreach Committee, International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad said, “IIITH has always had social good as a key outcome of all research from the institute. This collaboration with Agastya Foundation and NGO Navam makes this possible in a very fulfilling way. Clear and present problems addressed through emerging research-led technology, deployed and value realised on the ground. We are very excited about this collaboration.” 

Speaking on the initiative, K Thiagarajan, COO, Agastya International Foundation said, “Agastya has been pioneering hands-on and experiential-based pedagogy in building curiosity, creativity and confidence in school children. This collaboration with IIITH will help us increase our digital reach and richness manifold. Ubiquitous learning, sharpening of our pedagogy and being prepared for future uncertainties or pandemic situations are some of the expected outcomes from this collaboration. Looking forward to leverage technology leadership of IIITH.” 

Raj Reddy Centre on Technology in Service of Society at IIITH aims for a strong national and global impact on society through technology-based solutions. The centre will take a bottom-up, problem-centred approach to leverage research and technologies in solving societal problems. It will identify a few socially relevant themes and take up projects in them to create a sequentially linked amplification of impact. It will take a wholesome view to the problem addressing all aspects, technology and otherwise, through to realising value on the ground.

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