From challenges comes opportunities…
The pandemic has created a lot of challenges for the Indian education system and brought to forefront the digital inequalities that exist. From 300,000 preschools, 1.60 million K-12 schools – over 300 million students are managing and struggling to learn from homes. As highlighted by Dr. Sanjay Kumar Mallick, educationist, schools across cities and towns have fared well in conducting online classes, they have adapted to this adversity and adopted technology to facilitate learning.
For the private schools which are around 4,50,000 across the country and account to impart learning to 119 million students, innovative digital learning products are being implemented. The pandemic has been tackled with change, flexibility and versatility by edtech entrepreneurs.
But the majority of government schools (1.20 million) have been unable to maintain and impart digital learning. The digital divide being that only 8% of households with young members have access to internet and computer device (desktop, laptop, tablet) (National Sample Survey 2017-2018). The lack of infrastructure in terms of electricity, connectivity, deficits in per capita income has had an impact on learning in rural households. Along with the learning gap the educational environment is plagued with dropouts which the government plans to address with back to school programmes.
Online learning will continue to grow with high quality content, use of immersive technologies, adaptive assessments, insights, personalized education etc. The EdTech Industry in India has seen growth and acquisition and is estimated to be $3.5 billion by 2022. The tech based solutions have seen a massive shift in attitude and have been adopted not just by students but also institutions. Byju’s, India largest EdTech company recently acquired Aakash Educational Services Ltd (AESL) which provides curriculum-based coaching for K-12 students and test preparatory services for various competitive examinations at a $950 million deal.
A blended learning is embraced opening up new opportunities for technologies imparting education. It is commendable that various government bodies and educationists across the country are working towards finding ways and means to help students continue their learning process while they are safe and secure at home. Dharmendra Pradhan, the new Union Education Minister, has said that his focus will be on time-bound implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP) to achieve its key objectives in a stipulated time.
Keep reading and keep safe….