Google said today that the search giant has partnered with Harastra, one of India’s largest states, to provide its digital classroom services to tens of millions of students and teachers to further boost Internet education in the world’s second-largest internet market. The company recently announced plans to invest $10 billion in India and, in partnership with local governments, will provide Google’s education services free of charge to 23 million students and teachers.
Thursday’s announcement follows a recent Maharashtra government survey in which teachers were asked to be interested in digital classroom alternatives. Google says more than 150,000 teachers have signed up for the project in less than 48 hours.
Maharashtra is India’s worst hit state, with more than 460,000 confirmed cases. Like other regions, Maharashtra complied with New Delhi’s blockade order at the end of March, prompting the closure of schools and other public places across the country.
“We all have a concern about the future of education. As a result of the outbreak, we are one step closer to answering these questions,” Maharashtra Chief Minister Udhav Thackeray said in a statement. Maharashtra Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad said the partnership with Google would help her department roll out technology solutions to about 190,000 students.
“Our goal is to make Maharashtra the most progressive state in education by effectively utilizing online resources, platforms, bandwidth and technology, using the power of the Internet to reach people, and to bridge the education gap,” she said.
COVID-19 has put many industries in trouble and accelerated the development of start-ups operating digital learning platforms in India. Since March, start-ups such as Byju’s, Facebook-backed Unacademy, Vedantu and Toppr have amassed tens of millions of new students.
Google is offering a range of services for students and teachers, including G Suite for Education, Google Forms for testing and testing, access to Google Meet video conferencing services and Google Classroom, which enable educators to create, revise, and organize assignments and communicate directly with students.
The company says it also provides educators with The Marathi,a language popular in Maharashtra.
The company has accelerated its partnership with educators in India in recent months. Last month, Google announced that it had partnered with the Central Council for Secondary Education, india’s government agency for the supervision of education in private and public schools, to provide its educational products to more than 1 million teachers in India’s 22,000 schools. The foundation also announced a $1 million grant to the Kaivalya Education Foundation (KEF) to work with partners to provide educational opportunities for poor children with Google.org, Google’s charity.
Facebook, Google’s global rival, also partnered with CBSE last month to launch certification courses for students and educators in the country on digital security and online well-being, as well as augmented reality.