A country’s economic progress is mainly judged by the overall education delivery systems and its influence on shaping a literate society. We are now living in a digital world and India is a reflection of that digital progress. Our country’s students are aware of e-content and e-learning methodologies that have aided in better curricular learning and applications. But all this progress is quite limited to urban communities. How much of these curricular assisting digital learning technologies are accessible to students in rural communities? Quite a number of startups have taken initiatives to address this accessibility challenge to quality education and have explored on technologies and devices to take internet-based educational models to rural India. One such initiative, VoicenData explored is Chhota Internet.
Amtrak Technologies’ Founder Sandeep Arya’s spin out is Chhota Internet, which was first launched in 2017 in Rajasthan. The company launched Chhota Internet as a Content Access Management Device (CAMD). The CAMD is a plug-n-play application which allows users to access pre-loaded content and works with smart devices like laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
Sandeep Arya brought out this device bearing potential objectives. The device has been primarily designed to provide a practical solution to address the shortage of good teachers and provide access to quality education in remote areas of the country by delivering easy and free content access to the best digital education tools. It is committed to building communities, teaching, and learning, by focusing on educational programming, coordination, monitoring, and evaluation.
Chhota Internet is designed to provide a cost-effective, readily scalable solution to the challenges that rural India faces pertaining to internet connectivity and access to quality education. It delivers a comprehensive solution, which ensures against internet access and heavy data charges. Interestingly, it also enables information/content distribution on Wi-Fi enabled handheld devices and allows viewing of video content without any buffering.
Chhota Internet is designed to provide a cost-effective, readily scalable solution to the challenges that rural India faces pertaining to internet connectivity and access to quality education.
Chhota Internet – Creating a fillip in educating rural India
Amtrak Tech has a reputation for selling indispensable products to the telecom industry. Over the years, the team at Amtrak had studied the internet selling market and analyzed a great need to place a product in the rural areas for creating a digitally empowered generation.
Elaborating on that need Sandeep Arya, shares, “Amtrak has brought to India the latest and the cutting-edge technologies for the benefit of the various government, defense and corporate entities. While Amtrak helped connecting institutions, it was observed that there was a huge digital divide between the urban & rural areas. Hence, we envisaged a product that has applications in a rural educational setting. The idea was to reform the rural education sector with an active focus on coordination, monitoring, and evaluation. Thus, was born Chhota Internet. Today, we have managed to achieve a unique technology offering with Chhota Internet. Schools can now open doorways to information, knowledge and allow access to increased learning opportunities beyond the classroom digitally.”
CAMD is probably the answer to enabling rural India to be a part of the Digital India movement. There is a persistent desperate need to provide regular internet connectivity without any hindrance in the rural areas. Through Chhota Internet, Arya and his team were able to provide a surplus illimitable free content access to rural users. The device is capable of delivering content like e-books; audio-based lectures without the need of internet. This content delivery model had a direct influence on easing the burden of heavy internet data charges and could turn textbook-based classroom education into an interactive session as well. It further enables education authorities to deliver accountable education by streaming content that aids and nurtures classroom learning, and allows for the monitoring and evaluation of the student’s progress.
The device enables the students to learn from the best teachers across the country and also gives them access to e-content, read e-Books, watch YouTube and much more
The device enables the students to learn from the best teachers across the country and also gives them access to e-content, read e-Books, watch YouTube and much more without having to depend on the internet while overcoming the issues related to internet-speed, cost and cybersecurity.
Arya further explains saying, “Technology and Innovation in education is defined as an array of tools and models that help in better understanding and teaching-learning process. Chhota Internet is a solution developed to revolutionize the traditional education system, and to address the challenges that rural India faces, such as access to quality content due to lack of internet penetration, shortage of quality teachers, and tracking the teaching-learning outcomes. It is a step aligned to the ‘Digital India’ movement, with an aim to empower and encourage students in rural India to gain knowledge through digitalization of education. The aim of Chhota Internet is to provide education to every child in the rural and semi-urban areas of the country through a digital medium and to break the barriers of the rural-urban divide. It also aims to create an ecosystem of opportunities and access to knowledge for the underprivileged children with a vision to help them participate in the Digital India Revolution without banking on internet connectivity.”
Another attraction point about Chhota Internet, worth sharing, is its ability to provide rich and diversified content in regional language for the students to access without any internet connectivity. It empowers the students to access content as and when required, exactly from the point they had left off. This versatile device works on two-way cloud syncing of data, where the students access the data offline within the transmitting radius of Chhota Internet and vice versa.
The product is strategically priced at Rs. 75,000. Although, the pricing would vary and would depend on 3 variable factors such as (a) Number of consumer users; (b) Storage space; and (c) Wi-Fi area to be covered.
This versatile device works on two-way cloud syncing of data, where the students access the data offline within the transmitting radius of Chhota Internet and vice versa.
During the course of interaction with Arya, another revelation on Chotta Internet’s ability was known. It is not only targeted to empower educational institutions but also agriculture, skills, Panchayati Raj and much more. As an ICT-based platform, Chhota Internet helps to aggregate agriculture communities as well. It provides service support to producer communities and agriculture businesses (agriculture buyers, sellers, service providers, and government institutions) creating an impact in boosting the efficiency in the agriculture value chain.
Partnering State Governments for rural education
Chhota Internet was first launched as an innovative solution in 2017 in Rajasthan. Since then, it has been effectively helping students in that geographic region to experience digital education. Apart from Rajasthan, the Governments of Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, have also associated with Chhota Internet for the dissemination of education through digital technologies.
The district of Ghaziabad, under the basic education department, has initiated the process to install Chhota Internet’s Content Access Management Device (CAMD) for learning in 197 of its upper primary schools. the state of Maharashtra has planned to adopt Chhota Internet as a technological solution to provide quality education and a better future to the students of upper primary schools.
Arya, adds to details on State Government partnerships, “The organization has been able to create a positive environment around Chhota Internet-CAM device due to its successful implementation in Rajasthan which has led to CAM device being recommended in the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan guidelines as one of the recommended technologies.”
Innovating for future
Arya has chalked out the future of Chhota Internet. He says, “We are planning to come up with three more models to impact the classrooms independently and to facilitate teaching-learning through teacher-controlled learning pattern for the students. Further, the company is planning to adopt the CSR models as well to penetrate to the grassroots. The company has got plans to get into the commercial private space in the second half of the next financial year. We are planning to partner with various Education and IT sectors. We are also looking at partnering with the SAARC & ASEAN countries such as Afghanistan, Laos & Cambodia, where we have already initiated preliminary discussions.”
Proving its forte with future-ready solutions, Chhota Internet is expected to live up to its potential to offer innovative technologies to empower students in rural India. VoicenData will look forward to tracking and updating about this company in the coming days.