New Delhi, 07 April 2021: Minister of State for Education,  Sanjay Dhotre addressed at the consultation meeting of Education Ministers of E9 countries on E9 initiative: Scaling up digital learning to accelerate progress towards SDG4 on 6th April, 2021. Education Minister of Bangladesh, Ms Dipu Moni, Deputy Secretary General, United Nations, Ms Amina Mohammed, Education Ministers from the E9 countries and officials from the United Nations, UNICEF and UNESCO attended the meeting. E9 Countries include Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

Speaking on the occasion  Dhotre said that Covid 19 pandemic has hampered education the world over. Imparting education to such a large number of students in India was indeed a challenge. Dhotre was happy to share that by using diverse modes like digital, television and radio, Government of India not only ensured quality education for all, but also ensured that our children don’t lose an academic year. He also shared that during this pandemic, Ministry of Education successfully conducted the largest entrance exams of our premier engineering and medical courses for almost 2.3 million students which has set an example for other countries to reflect upon for safe conduct of examination.

The Minister further said that in line with the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi we have extensively made use of digital tools. One Nation-One Digital Platform -DIKSHA, One Nation-One Channel programme of -SWAYAM PRABHA, SWAYAM MOOCS and radio broadcasting were used to take education to the remotest part of the country. The online education was imparted to differently-abled children, he added. Dhotre informed that with the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat, our government launched PM e-VIDYA to provide multi-modal access to education which benefitted nearly 250 million school-going children across India.

Dhotre stated that the pandemic has demonstrated amply that digital and multi-modal education is a must to ensure affordable education for all. This requires strengthening digital infrastructure, developing tools and digital skills. It also requires teacher training, data security and privacy, funding, and assessment tools. He informed that in India Government is setting up National Digital Education Architecture to deliver a ‘digital first’ approach to support teaching and learning.

Dhotre urged that it is time to work collectively and in solidarity to create an efficient ecosystem for digital education. The Minister thanked the UN, UNESCO, UNICEF and Government of Bangladesh for providing this platform for collective deliberation and look forward to working with my E9 colleagues to further this cause.

The initiative aims to accelerate recovery and advance the Sustainable Development Goal 4 agenda by driving rapid change in education systems in three of the 2020 Global Education Meeting priorities: (i) support to teachers; (ii) investment in skills; and (iii) narrowing of the digital divide.