Tech giant Amazon Web Services (AWS) will support Indian education start-ups and non-governmental organisations to bridge the learning gaps in the sector. AWS is collaborating with the public sector to drive economic development through infrastructure investments, job creation, and education in communities across the world and India.
“We are at a very early stage of how the cloud can be truly put to use in India’s public sector to create positive citizen impact through government transformation, accelerate healthcare outcomes, bridge education gaps through edtechs, enable start-up innovation, and support non-profit organisations,” said Max Peterson, Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector, AWS, to Business Today.
As the Indian government has multiple mission mode projects focused on solving many stated and unstated problems in areas, ranging from banking to land records to healthcare and education, Peterson said that AWS is helping the government to make India digitally inclusive.
AWS has dedicated programs such as AWS EdStart and AWS Start-up Ramp to accelerate the public sector initiative in India.
“An example here is how AWS EdStart – our start-up accelerator program for edtechs – enabled upGrad in its early days to reduce the initial costs of building on the cloud, and deploy those funds to other strategic areas such as product and curriculum development. Today, upGrad is not only among India’s largest edtechs, but is upskilling more than two million registered learners in over 100 countries,” said Peterson.
“A key priority for us is to continue with the dedicated programs and initiatives that enable and accelerate the larger ecosystem that drives public sector innovation. We see the opportunity to help more startups build capability and accelerate their innovation that could serve segments in the public sector such as education, space, agriculture, healthcare, smart cities, smart infrastructure, government services, and non-profits,” said Peterson.
Indian NGOs are also are utilising the scale and functionality offered by AWS. For instance, ShikshaLokam is a philanthropic organisation that works with various state governments and local NGOs to provide capacity development to school leaders such as principals.
“It provides open-source technology solutions such as courses, videos, quizzes, workbooks, simple observations, and school assessments, which educators and NGOs can use to design programs at scale.
“ShikshaLokam chose AWS to host its open-source Sunbird data center infrastructure management solution, and to build its digital platform. Reliability and scalability are among the key requirements of their digital platform, and ShikshaLokam has experienced higher uptime since beginning its journey with AWS in 2019,” said Peterson.
“Today, ShikshaLokam works with more than 10 NGOs across eight states in India, and has empowered more than 150,000 public education leaders through its on-demand digital learning and improvement programs,” he said. AWS, Peterson said, recognizes that technology innovation is outpacing skills, and that one can truly realize the power of technology only if there is a skilled workforce to harness it.
Recently AWS announced the collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to deliver cloud and ML skills at scale through thousands of AICTE-affiliated colleges.
“We are working closely with the government and education institutions to develop a future workforce that has cloud and machine learning (ML) skills,” said Peterson. Expenditure on education in India, for example, was below 3.5 percent of GDP in 2020–2021, compared to a global average of 4.2 per cent.
“Improving access and quality of education is a priority for rapidly growing nations like India. However, the human and financial resources required to achieve this can be scarce, given competing interests for a share of shrinking national budgets,” said Peterson.
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