In a bid to address the education gaps in rural India and also strengthen its vernacular offerings, search giant Google has launched a personalized reading tutor app ‘Bolo’ to help children improve their reading skills.
According to the company, the application has been designed for primary grade students. The app which is powered by Google’s speech recognition and text-to-speech technology comes with a built-in reading tutor named as “Diya”. The software tutor is designed to encourage, explain and correct the children as they read out loud.
Google has been piloting Bolo across 200 villages in Uttar Pradesh over the past few months with the help of research company Aser. The pilot results showed that 64% of children witnessed an improvement in reading proficiency in just three months.
With promising results, Bolo has now been launched all over India under an open beta program. Google will also be working with four nonprofit partners — Pratham Education Foundation, Room to Read, Saajha and Kaivalya Education Foundation – a Piramal Initiative, who will ensure that the service reaches to all the children in the country.
Increasing penetration of internet and smartphones have led to a rise in the number of edtech startups in India. According to Inc42 Datalab’s estimates, around 3,500 startups are working to develop the education space in India by creating content in various formats and languages to help students learn at their own convenience.
However, not much has been achieved in terms of addressing the gaps in the education space especially in rural areas where internet reach is lower.
According to ASER 2018 report which conducted a survey on 596 districts in rural India, of all students enrolled in fifth grade in rural India, only about half of them could confidently read a second grade textbook.