India’s digital infrastructure is slowly coming to life, and there is no doubt that the country is rushing toward a digital-first economy. And as we are inching closer to achieving the goal of a fully digital economy, the need is to ensure citizens are both responsible as well as aware about the threats online.

Thanks to an initiative by Google and National Council of Educational Research (NCERT), students across the country will now learn how to become responsible digital citizens. Google and NCERT have signed a pact to integrate a course on ‘Digital Citizenship and Safety’ in information and communication technology curriculum.

Google For India 2017 event

The integrated course will be implemented in more than 1.4 million schools across the country from next academic session in April 2018. Under this curriculum, the students (from Class I – Class XII) will be taught how to remain safe on the internet. The schools will also implement structured classroom modules to teach the students about social, ethical and legal aspects of internet safety.

The curriculum is designed keeping four themes in mind:

  • Being Smart
  • Being Safe
  • Being a Digital Citizen
  • Being Future Ready

Union School Education Secretary Anil Swarup said, “Internet can be used phenomenally in helping us, it has a potential of damaging the social structure and damaging an individual. It is extremely important for us to understand how can we keep ourselves safe.” He also said that the safety awareness programme with Google could be scaled by training teachers on the latest development on the internet space.

Talking to DNA during the official announcement, Sunita Mohanty, Director, Trust, and Safety, Google India said, “The curriculum is structured to match the intellectual and curiosity needs of the different age group of the children. For example, in lower classes, students will focus on engaging with technology and learning the use of basic digital tools. In middle classes, students will be introduced to basics of the internet, concepts of account safety and distinguishing good content from bad.” She also noted that Google will not charge anything for the training.