The Amazing Inclusion Story Behind India’s Digital Transformation

As a young woman living in a rural area of Karnataka, a state located in the south-western region of India, Manjula Naganur knew that education was critical to achieving her dream of a career in government administration. After completing the training and education courses at Code Unnati, he joined a fintech company, and is now pursuing his postgraduate studies.

“I gained a greater understanding of what organizations expect from job candidates,” Naganur said. “The courses in software development, marketing, communications, English, banking and problem solving have provided me with valuable knowledge to excel in a competitive market, giving me greater career opportunities.”

Manjula Naganur is among the more than one million students educated at Code Unnati since SAP Labs India launched the program four years ago. So far, it has trained more than one million students aged 10 to 16 years in digital literacy; 65 percent of these children and adolescents were girls.

Partnerships scale equitable digital empowerment

Code Unnati is one of SAP’s Global Corporate social Responsibility (CSR) partnerships, in this case, supporting India’s digital readiness commitment. SAP Labs India works with partners in government, as well as in the non-profit and private sectors, including customers and education, to bridge the immense digital divide between people in the country’s urban and rural communities. In addition to a digital learning curriculum, the program offers students the opportunity for internships and employment at SAP.

“We have an incredible opportunity to help transform India from a developing economy to a developed economy,” said Sindhu Gangadharan, senior vice president and CEO of SAP Labs India. “We are driving significant commitments to support the digital priority mindset that is reflected in numerous government initiatives. Code Unnati fosters digital literacy among young people and equips them with employable skills for workforce preparation, particularly beyond large metropolitan areas.”

A total of more than 6,000 young people have participated in the vocational curriculum, which includes learning future IT skills such as science and data analysis, and next-generation technologies such as AI and machine learning. Most importantly, an average of more than 40 percent of program graduates get jobs after completing the program.

Responsible and inclusive use of technology

Code Unnati reflects almost every commitment of the Indian government to “digital readiness for the next billion”, in particular talent development, increased investment in research and development, innovation for both India and the world, and inclusion. The National Association of software and services companies (NASSCOM), is among the groups leading this initiative, collaborating with the government and companies such as SAP.

“We want to leverage technology as best we can to solve some of India’s biggest challenges,” said Debjani Ghosh, president of NASSCOM. “As we incorporate technology into almost everything we do, it can become an equalizer, as long as we start at the design stage to make sure it is truly inclusive across all sectors, regardless of rural or urban areas, gender, culture or religion.”

Digital literacy for India’s specific needs

Although India is transforming digitally like the rest of the world, the magnitude of its revolution is much greater in scale and scope compared to many other regions. Ghosh said talent development is one of the government’s highest priorities, helping to build the population’s digital skills through public-private sector partnerships that provide training and education, mentoring, and internships.

“Whether you call it a challenge or an opportunity, India has an incredible diversity of socioeconomic levels, cultures, religions and languages,” he said. “We are committed to partnering with government and companies like SAP to build and foster ecosystems that use accelerators, mentors, hackathons and other opportunities to drive the IT charter for India.”

Community-wide purpose plus business benefit

More than anything else, Code Unnati reflects a commitment to business with a purpose that positively impacts people’s lives.

“It’s not just about incorporating technology into almost everything we do to make things easier and more personalized, but also about building and using technology responsibly,” Ghosh said.

Democratizing technology education is also central to SAP’s mission, helping organizations become smart enterprises using the company’s enterprise technology platform. Leading Code Unnati with funds and resources from customers, partners and its own employees, SAP is also at the forefront of India’s mission to provide disadvantaged students with digital skills for their future as well as that of India.

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