Q) “India is far behind some developing countries where digital education is getting increased attention.” Discuss the potential for digital education in India. Also examine the challenges in strengthening e-learning in India.
The coronavirus pandemic has shuttered educational institutions across the globe. Closure of schools, colleges and universities, shutdown of routine life of students and teachers, disruptions in education and the education ministry remaining incommunicado, have created an unprecedented situation and thrown many unexpected challenges to administrators, educators, teachers, parents and students.
Potential of digital education in India
This is an ideal time to experiment and deploy new tools to make education delivery meaningful to students who can’t go to campuses.
- It’s a chance to be more efficient and productive while developing new and improved professional skills/knowledge through online learning and assessment.
- The use of technology in education is resulting in different concepts in the system, for instance the move from teacher-centric education to student-centric education.
- Virtual classrooms and various online tools today allow us to make the engagement between the teacher and students as close to a real, in classroom type experience, as possible.
- These tools can also make the teachers and parent meetings as well as staff/management meetings more time and cost saving while providing the necessary interactivity.
- It is also a fact that technology-based education is more transparent and does not make difference in front vs back benchers or girls vs boys.
- State governments and private players have regularly been publishing information on various initiatives undertaken by ministries like MHRD, Department of Technical Education, NCERT and others to support and benefit youth/students.
- India is far behind some developing countries where digital education is getting increased attention.
- In countries where e-learning is popular, students have access to various online resources such as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) which help students, teachers and professionals upgrade their skills.
- The major challenge in EDTech reforms at the national level is the seamless integration of technology in the present Indian education system, which is the most diverse and largest in the world with more than 15 lakh schools and 50,000 higher education institutions.
- Further, it is also important to establish quality assurance mechanisms and quality benchmark for online learning developed and offered by India HEIs as well as e-learning platforms (growing rapidly).
- Many e-learning players offer multiple courses on the same subjects with different levels of certifications, methodology and assessment parameters. So, the quality of courses may differ across different e-learning platforms.
- Democratization of technology is now an important issue, comprising internet connectivity, telecom infrastructure, affordability of online system, availability of laptop/desktop, software, educational tools, online assessment tools, etc.
- Since our education system has not trained our teachers and students to think creatively and manage in a crisis situation, and has underplayed the importance of e-learning, they are unprepared for the transition from the classroom to online.
Going forward, the use of technology in teaching or recruitment will lead to a new era wherein the best of faculty will be available from across the globe to students.