December 2 is known as World Computer Literacy Day, in response to research by NIIT suggesting that the majority of computer users around the world were men. This day thus reiterates the importance of computer literacy among women, children, and the economically backward.

The scope of computer literacy has expanded as well and has revolutionized the realms of education, medical science, entertainment, financial institutions, and various other industries. This is one of the reasons why without adequate computer skills, employability will remain a challenge.

At the core of unemployment, the issue is skill gaps that render even educated youth unemployable. Essential computer skills have become one of the main qualifying criteria for employment in almost every industry. There is also the stark reality of the digital gaps in rural India where even basic computer literacy may be hard to find.

The pandemic has shown us how underserved rural populations are when it comes to digital and technological access. Most of the students in rural India could not access online education during this time. Even today, many rural schools lack basic infrastructure and for them, internet connectivity and computers remain out of reach. We cannot afford to let an entire generation grow up without computer literacy and must ensure that when we speak of demographic dividend, we are not just citing numbers but investing in our human capital.

Computer literacy among women will empower them to be financially independent and Digital parity is essential for women and girls not just at the school and college level but also for them to explore employment and entrepreneurial opportunities. Computer skills can also help women to start their own businesses via digital platforms from the confines of their homes. Or to take up online courses. When women get equal access to technological resources, it empowers not just them but also has a positive impact on society and the economy.

With this in mind, in May 2020, Visionet Systems India launched the free-skilling programme, ‘Unnati for India’ because we felt the need to create the next generation of technologically skilled professionals. We also wanted to encourage more women to join the employment stream. The idea is to bridge the skill and digital gaps among underserved graduates, undergraduates and diploma holders.

Alok Bansal is the MD of Visionet Systems and Global Head of BFSI Business. Views expressed are personal.

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