Is Digital Literacy the need of the hour?
It’s been a while since I visited my bank branch since I carry out most of my transactions online. Today, I had to visit my nearest public sector bank branch for some query where I noticed that the ATM stall outside the bank was completely refurbished. There used to be 2 ATMs and a deposit machine. Now it has 3 ATMs, a cheque deposit machine, and Passbook printing machine. While I was standing in the queue, I thought about the history of the banking system. How my parents’ generation used to spend a few hours in a bank every month to take care of their finances and now the system has become very much convenient and efficient with very little human interaction saving a lot of time for the public.
A big thanks to Technology for helping us get to this position. Yes, I do agree that some malfunctions are happening due to technical glitches, but any developing system will face some trouble and as the technology matures in a few years, I hope we will have a very reliable banking system.
But, a few questions arose in my mind during this thought bubble.
Do you think that these advancements are being utilized by everyone in society?
If we are having so many advancements, do you think that in a few years we will be able to close all branches (save costs for banks) and rely fully on online banking?
Is India ready for such a system?
Well, my answer would be No, not yet. I’ll explain below.
While people from urban areas who are literate and are from privileged backgrounds can easily access these advantages, the rest of the public is still used to the conventional banking system. Most of the people from ages above 40 and less literate still prefer going to the bank. Remember that some people still depend on others to fill the bank forms.
India is still in the process of achieving a 100% literacy rate. To access the above-said advancements, we need to simultaneously increase digital literacy in our country.
We need to equip people with basic knowledge of the digital world. It’s not just about teaching people how to use digital gadgets, but also help them understand the functions behind them in a simple way.
It will help them not just in banking but also in their day-to-day life. We could prevent many online fraudulent events from happening in such instances. Just like how you teach children to live in the real world, we would be helping them understand the digital world.
The post-pandemic world is going to be highly dependent on digital technology. Hence, I feel it’s the right time to address this issue in our society.
So, who is going to help in achieving this?
Of course, the 1st step should be taken by the Government of India. India is still not prepared for Digital education which was seen during the pandemic. Remember that digital skills are not taught in any school curriculum. Very basic computer skills such as MS-Office related tools are only being taught in government schools. But with so much internet dependency, digital literacy is the need of the hour. So, digital literacy should be added immediately into the school curriculum. The students need to be trained to use the internet for :
- Finding and consuming the correct information from the internet
- Creating digital content
- Communicating and sharing digital content
And also we need to teach them the ethics behind the usage of the internet.
But, not everything can be completely done by the government alone. The private players can chip in with some of their expertise in that area. It can be done by CSR activities from large IT players who have a massive number of employees with excellent knowledge of the digital world and share it with the next generation of people.
So, if we can successfully achieve digital literacy, schemes like Digital India can become a huge success and push us towards becoming a developed country in near future.
Hope it was a good read. Do think about this in your free time and start creating awareness about digital literacy!