Education is the process of acquiring knowledge and skills through studying and following a systematic set of instructions. It is considered as one of the ‘nine pillars’ that would transform India. With the emergence of Digital India, a floodgate of opportunities have opened up for the expansion of this sector. Technological intervention is contributing to the changing face of various reforms in education. The fast paced and dynamic nature of technology has advanced nearly every vertical of our day-to-day life. From simplifying complex processes to connecting with people in seconds, the education sector has also reaped the benefit of technology.
Challenges in the Indian Education Sector
Academic landscape in India is regionally disproportionate. The teaching methodology used is traditional and incompetent by the modern standards of education. It does not accomplish the student requirements, affecting the need of quality education.
The education system lacks an integrated and long-term approach of combining education to real life and work life. That bridge is still to be filled. This would mean a fresh approach to the syllabus and activities of learning through interdisciplinary content. This will make students relevant.
We need to follow an approach to build the citizens of tomorrow in our nation. All approaches of syllabus, content, teacher training and facilities are to be built and guided accordingly.
Technological Intervention in Education
Education sector in India has long anticipated a reinstitution in the academic amends to meet the growing demand for an education system that is accessible to all. Children and youth of India have become increasingly technology-driven, administering a considerable potential and exposure to imbibe and learn using digital media.
- Online learning management system
The growth of Internet users in India is expected to reach 700 million by 2020 and likely to replace China to have the second largest number of users after the US. As a result, several colleges and universities in India have integrated online Learning Management System or LMS platform into their web portal. Students can quickly register or login for an easy access to the course material, take tests, attend live classes with teachers and go through the pre-recorded lectures multiple times. Although the concept of LMS is not widely used because of the lack of infrastructure in many poor parts of the country, government is providing computers to remote areas and creating data, which is easily accessible.
For many students, especially those in rural and remote areas, online and distance learning can offer access to courses, subjects, and teachers they might otherwise never be able to find. Such opportunities can also benefit advanced and highly motivated students and those with unusual schedules and travel requirements.
- Learning through mobile apps
The number of mobile Internet users will prospectively cross 300 million by the end of 2017 since India is also the world’s third-largest smartphone market with the number of users estimated to reach 369 million by 2018. This reveals a strong opportunity to deliver e-learning content through mobile applications. These educational mobile apps are available on every smartphone software from Android to iOS. App developers are constantly upgrading and creating hassle free, focused and dedicated applications for studying of particular subjects like grammar, physics, chemistry, mathematics and so on. The aim is to simplify complex concepts with easy to understand illustrations and animations, puzzles games etc. The prices of tablets and smart phones have become affordable to people from villages and remote areas as well and thus, they can make use of these apps to learn and hone their skills.
- Classroom based learning
Today in many schools, colleges and universities in India, technology has become an integral part of classroom based teachings. Nowadays, instead of blackboard, projector screens are used for teachings. PowerPoint presentations are explained to students to experience a different kind of set up in today’s technology based classroom. Gadgets like tablets and laptops are used to take down notes. Illustrations, animations, graphs, videos in different languages are used to represent a complex concept for a better understanding.
- Distance education
Perhaps the most trending technology in education, distance learning is a process of learning through online access with abundance of course details and syllabus. Students can directly get in touch with their teachers and mentor via e-mail, chat, or phone call. Since India is a developing nation, students and working professionals in remote areas are the core benefactors of this technology, as it gives them the flexibility to learn at their own time.
The changing academic scenario of education demands for prompt technological infrastructure. Improved and quality education must be ensured with technology driven education systems. It is important to introduce computer based learning system at the junior level so that the students become computer savvy from very young age and are confident of using Education Technology, when actually needed. Besides, teachers are at the forefront of student’s educational experiences, and it’s now incumbent on them, as well as parents and school administrators, to provide children with the guidance and technical skills they need to succeed in their connected future. Through the use of technology, as both a learning tool and a subject matter discipline, there are a number of new ways that teachers can inspire students to learn.
Time has also come to start recognising the online education and certifying them with industry acceptance. If any additions are to be done to make this happen, so be it. With a country of 65% people under age of 35, just makes us almost the youngest country which needs to be well educated in urban and rural areas. With infrastructure in education sector, in rural areas, not being utilised to fullest, way to go would be digital torch bearers in each rural locality spreading light to many around.
Inputs by Alok Jha, Managing Director, Cyberplat India