Ayra Mahajan is a 10-year-old girl, studying in a renowned school in the bustling city of Mumbai. Ayra attends school from 8 AM – 2 PM, and post her return, has a long line of after-school classes. From tuitions in Maths & Science to Vocabulary classes for English & Hindi, over and above extracurricular activity sessions that include Art, Theatre and Dance. While some may argue that it’s good to keep a child constructively occupied, other schools of thought also suggest that with the mounting pressure on today’s young minds, by the time the child is in her early 20s, she would be mentally burnt-out.
According to a report by The Cambridge International Global Education Census, Indian school students take the maximum number of tutorial classes with 74per cent of them choosing extra lessons in mathematics. It also found that only 3per cent of Indian students play more than six hours a week. The pertinent question, therefore, is why is there a need for an Indian student to supplement his or her school curriculum with extra classes?
To answer this, we need to go back to the source: the school. Is the education system flawed? Are the teachers not qualified enough? Or is the curriculum too elaborate to finish within school hours? While all these factors contribute to the cause partially, it is actually the quality of learning that is largely at fault. This is because in a majority of Indian schools – both government and private – the entire teaching focus is not on ensuring high-quality learning, but to simply help students crack exams. As a result, the proportion of children in classes I-V who receive some form of private input in their schooling (private school, private tuition or both) has increased from 38.5 per cent in 2010 to 42 per cent in 2011, 44.2 per cent in 2012 and to 45.1 per cent in 2013.
Digitization is the Way Forward
The quality of education provided to children in India is on a downward spiral, according to the Annual Status of Education Report 2016 (ASER). India aims to make the most skilled workforce in the world and though governments have sworn to make education accessible to all and the enrollment of children in schools in the country is as high as 97per cent, when it comes to quality of education being provided in these schools, it is well below average. One way to uplift the quality of education is through digitization. Here’s why:
- Encourages Self Study: Digitization allows for personalised learning because students can use their choice of digital devices. The academic potential, strengths and weaknesses and learning pace of every student can be catered to. It also opens up communication channels, allowing students to get more attention as well as enabling them to track their coursework progress and identify areas of improvement.
- Access to Higher Education: Digitalization opens up higher education to people who wouldn’t be able to afford or access it otherwise, such as people living in remote locations. Similarly, digitalization, through online learning makes it possible for students to access their sessions when they want and learn at their own pace.
- Improves understanding: Virtual Reality tools and videos can be used to help students use e-learning platforms on multiple mobile devices to interact directly with study material. For educators to it is a boon, as Augmented Reality can help teachers and trainers in explaining and performing tasks.
Digitization offers fluidity to the Indian education sector by becoming a supplementary arm of the system that is available to all students, according to their individual needs. While the traditional education system has a uniform approach, e-learning and digital education tools can be customized and moulded as per the student’s capability, interest and understanding, to better imbibe the nitty-gritty of a subject.
With technological advancements taking place in education globally, there is a crying need for the Indian school system to become more dynamic and adapt and incorporate technology to generate more impactful means of learning. This infusion of technology needs to start at the grass root level, given that the majority of India’s population lives in rural and semi-urban areas, as it is only then we can work to eradicate problems like high dropout rates, illiteracy and lack of quality education in our country.