Osama Manzar - Founder & CEO, Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF)

Leader Talk

December, 2020

Osama Manzar is a global leader on the mission of eradicating information poverty from global south using digital tools through Digital Empowerment Foundation, an organisation he founded in 2002. He is a social entrepreneur, author, columnist, angel investor, mentor, and sits on several government and policy committees in India as well as some international organisations working in the areas of Internet, access, and digital inclusion. He has instituted 10 awards recognising digital innovations for development in India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.

“We believe that content created by the masses is always more important than content created for the masses.” – Mr. Osama Manzar

In an exclusive interview with TechConnect, Mr. Osama Manzar walked us through the exciting journey of Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) and how it all began. He then went on to share about digitalization across India. He explained the idea behind the initiative, Gyanpedia, which focuses upon facilitating learning and sharing, thus boosting e-learning and e-education processes. While talking about challenges which impact access and use of digital content, Mr. Osama said –

“The major challenge in using digital content is access or connectivity itself. The biggest hurdle is non-consideration of digital infrastructure as a basic necessity and the lack of its correlation to education.”

Furthermore, he elaborated on organizational goals and projects like Digital Daan and GOAL (Going Online As Leaders) programme. He also highlighted how and why all EdTech organizations as well as the government should have more focus upon enabling connectivity and access to devices, space, training and capacity building in rural India. When asked about the NEP 2020 and its impact on bridging the existing digital divide, Mr. Osama said –

“Considering that the digital divide is a massive issue and the NEP 2020 broadly allows education with diversity, now it is very conducive to use digital infrastructure for enabling alternative education system instead of conventional education. The teacher-student kind of education and curriculum-based education has not done well for our country. What we need to figure out is how to take advantage of the NEP as an approach to openness and use digital infrastructure as the basic tool. NEP says that the foundational pillars of the system is Access, Equity, Affordability, Quality and Accountability. Out of these, Access, Affordability and Equity should be worked upon extensively.”

To watch the complete interview, click below

Disclaimer: Views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the article belong solely to the person interviewed and not to TechConnect or EdIndia and its employees unless explicitly stated.

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