TED NewsDesk, Chandigarh. A couple of friends, Vivek Rathore and Jagrit Gupta have developed an online learning platform which will provide learners with online courses and other skills in their vernacular languages. Through this, the duo hopes to increase the employability of non-English speaking learners who don’t get access to new skills and technological learning tools due to the linguistic barrier.
Shubhe, the platform will, “Create localised content (videos, case studies, assignments etc.) with the help of industry experts, and offer it in the form of free and paid courses to help develop job-oriented technical skills among Indian youth,” according to Jagrit Gupta.
As per Vivek Rathore,
“Like Deepak, there is 400 million youth in India, who are in the age group of 16 to 28 years. More than 80 per cent of these youth are non-English speakers and have internet access. I feel the internet can open up the pool of opportunities to our youth. They are smart and intelligent, but due to language barriers, they are still struggling to learn the new-age skills to get their first job.”
In a report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), out of 10, 9 consumers use the Internet in Indian languages. Due to the Coronavirus, the online- learning industry will flourish to 1.96 billion dollars shortly. According to another report by KPMG and Google, almost 9.6 million consumers of online education will increase by 2021. If this is the future, then India should be able to provide quality education and skill development to non-English speaking learners.
The shift to online education is quite noticeable during the pandemic as we see conventional education and skill development courses shift to online. Since most of it is in English, learners with non-English background find themselves unable to access value education in vernacular languages.
The learning platform introduces three basic types of courses, the initial free courses, Micro courses to acquaint students with particular tools like photoshop or Facebook marketing, and Learning Tracks varying from six months to one year which provides help with employment profiles. With the use of these tools, a learner can enter the job market confidently and acquire skills that will help them in the long run.
Shubhe also includes training for freelancers. The Indian job market has seen a boom in the freelancing sector recently with more than 20 million freelancers working currently. ASSOCHAM published a report informing that the freelancing economy is seeing an annual rise with 17 per cent, and will reach $455 billion by 2023. In two years, Shubho aspires to build a network of almost three million consumers; it is planning to introduce 100 learning tracks and 500 micro-courses in many more Indian languages.
“Our future ideas include offering B2B subscription plans, a fully AI-based guided learning experience and a dedicated job board to our users so that they can get work right from our platform. Our vision is to empower the youth of our country to earn a better livelihood by learning the skills of their interest.”
India’s linguistic diversity provides it a complex social dynamic where vernacular languages and non- official languages often get sidelined due to a lack of support from the state. It creates a somewhat impassable chasm between English and non-English speakers, which in turn, lessens the chances of employment for the often underprivileged, vernacular speakers. Platforms like Shubhe are necessary for facilitating a change in the direction we approach online learning and skill development. More such platforms are needed to bring about a noticeable difference, only then can India become country equally accessible to all its citizens.