Hackers invent tech solutions to support women's education
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Let's face it - female literacy in India stands at just 65.46%, as per 2011 census compared with the world average of 79.7%. The school dropout rate among adolescent Indian girls is equally high, at 63.5%. This means that most girls going to school right now will gradually fallout from the education fold and may get into employment or family life even when their education takes a toll.

In order to change the scenario a bit, some 25 Bengaluru-based techies have come up with technology-based solutions to support education for women. These include providing access to online educational materials for girls, including a need-based helpline with information on their rights, building capacities of tutors in Kishori Sanghas and linking these groups to assist each other academically.

The techies were part of a two-day hackathon Hack4Her, which was organised by Women Education Project (WEP), a notfor-profit organisation, and Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK), a social hackathon, in Bengaluru recently. The event was aimed at addressing poor literacy and high school dropouts among girls in the country.

"The female literacy rate in India is 65.46%, according to the 2011 census, while the world average is 79.7%. The school dropout rate among girls is as high as 63.5%. This hackathon enabled us to use technology-based innovation to give every girlchild her right to education," Suraj Kumar Jana, founder of Opencube Labs and a Hack4Her participant, was quoted as saying by The Times of India.

Apart from coming up with a platform for online access to study material and a peer-support group of tutors for academic assistance, Hack4Her saw a range of technology-based solutions, including tangible platforms that could nurture skills of girls as well as speak of their capabilities, along with bringing in a change in mindset to provide better institutional infrastructure.

"We plan to create an online platform where girls can learn about subjects such as health, finance, civic and environmental science, among others. The programme would be such that users can log in from any part of the world," Jana told The Times of India, adding: "We have come up with a web portal for peer-to-peer skill sharing among women. For example, if a girl has skills in computer programming and wants to learn south Indian cooking, she can learn it from her peers while sharing her knowledge with them."

By Kunal Doley