Google, one of the largest technology companies globally, said in 2020 that it plans to invest USD10 billion over five or seven years in India as part of an effort to increase the adoption of digital services in the key overseas market.
Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Google, announced the launch of Google for India Digitization Fund — a program through which the company will invest in India's digital ecosystem.
“We’ll do this through a mix of equity investments, partnerships, and operational, infrastructure, and ecosystem investments. This is a reflection of our confidence in the future of India and its digital economy,” he said during the announcement.
Google for India Digitization Fund
Google's fund is aimed at helping Indian customers receive more information and affordable access to the internet in their language. The fund will be used to develop new products and services in various fields, including health, education, and the environment, and will empower small and big businesses.
Investments in the education sector
Among Google's initiatives for India's education sector includes a partnership with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), an Indian government body that oversees education in private and public schools in the country, to deliver a “blended learning experience” across 22,000 schools in the world’s second-largest internet market.
Google also said that it would help train more than 1 million teachers in India and offer a range of free tools such as G Suite for Education, Google Classroom, and YouTube to help digitize the education experience in the nation.
In the past, Google has already provided free education tools to a range of schools in India, including Podar, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Nehru World, and GD Goenka.
To push for digitization, Google has identified three challenges in the education system in India: poor quality of digital content in Indian languages, a lack of readiness among teachers to use digital tools, and difficulties faced by students in gaining access to devices and the internet.
Google.org, the Search giant's philanthropic arm, also donated USD1 million to Kaivalya Education Foundation (KEF), a foundation in India that works with partners to provide underprivileged children with education opportunities.
“Using these funds, Kaivalya Education Foundation will work with the Central Square Foundation and TeacherApp to train 700,000 teachers to deliver virtual education for vulnerable students so that they can continue learning at home,” said Sapna Chadha, senior marketing director at Google India and Southeast Asia.
Image credit: iStockphoto/Umesh Negi