The Edtech (Education + Technology) industry in India has risen rapidly in recent years, particularly during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The traditional, one-size-fits-all educational paradigm has long been an annoyance to educators, parents, and students. Edtech, however, offers individualised instruction and gives pupils a wide range of interactive learning possibilities.
However, barely one in four Indian pupils has access to digital learning. Even while edtech options for virtual learning are expanding, millions of families can still not afford them for a variety of reasons.
In India, what way does ed tech matter?
Learning that is Interactive and Innovative:
Online lectures, multimedia images, and interactive features enhance student engagement and provide a visual way to reaffirm concepts.
The fact that there are many motivated entrepreneurs who use a multicultural approach to meet the requirements of a varied population and create creative goods and techniques is another factor contributing to India’s edtech development.
On-Demand Learning is Required:
Students who struggled with the strict timelines of the traditional school system may now receive a top-notch education from home. Candidates for competitive exams, in particular, frequently juggle employment and education at once.
Class times are rarely coordinated with their employment schedules. With on-demand training, the odds are in the students’ favour because they may now access courses and study materials whenever they want, anywhere, and through any media.
A single professor could only manage a class of 100 pupils in the past.
EdTech gives teachers the ability to reach a huge student base.
There is no longer a requirement for a physical location where professors and students may congregate for class sessions.
Personalized advice is given to students based on information about their prior performance and learning habits.
Care might be given to students who require additional assistance and would benefit from a slower learning pace.
Eliminate Age Barriers:
People of any age may study at their own speed, without restraints, and without sacrificing other obligations that weren’t possible for them at the time thanks to online programmes and courses.
Fair Chances and Lower Pay-Wall:
The edtech sector in India has the potential to gradually close the quality of education gap between the affluent and the poor, improving prospects of success for Indians from all socioeconomic backgrounds.
o Students may bypass the paywall separating them from premium instructors thanks to the affordability of edtech, and the virtual aspect of this learning removes geographical restrictions.
What Problems Do EdTech Solutions Face?
a minimal practical connection to learning:
In addition to theoretical study, subjects in science and technology also include practical laboratory sessions, dissertation projects, and field visits.
Online education drastically restricts this area of learning.
Enhancing Social Skills Only Limitedly:
Education involves more than simply imparting subject-specific knowledge; it also involves cultivating social skills and good sportsmanship among the students throughout time.
Children’s holistic development may be hampered if they only receive their education online, and many may struggle later on in both their professional and personal life.
Lack of Digital Infrastructure:
India has a diverse population in terms of geography and culture, but it also has a vast socioeconomic gap, which is reflected in the unevenness of its digital infrastructure facilities.
Power outages and poor or nonexistent internet access are two main obstacles preventing the spread of online education at the grassroots level.
Gender Inequality Is Growing:
The gender gap may widen as a result of online education.
In a recent survey of 733 students in government schools in Bihar, only 28% of the girls reported having smartphones at home, compared to 36% of the boys. • However, it was discovered that girls spent disproportionately more time on housework than boys, which frequently overlapped with the time these lessons were broadcast.
The market for digital education is expanding, and Edtech businesses may use various sorts of commercial fraud to draw customers.
Most lately, concerns about deceptive advertising and unethical business practises have surfaced.
According to the Department of School Education and Literacy, ed-tech businesses are preying on disadvantaged families by enticing parents with promises of free services in exchange for signing the Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) Mandate or enabling the auto-debit function.
Concern about Educator-Learner Adaptability:
It’s normal to use the internet for amusement, but it might be difficult to use it for online classes.
Teachers might not be skilled at producing digital content and efficiently delivering it online.
It is also unreasonable to suddenly expect pupils to adjust and for them to upgrade.
What recent grassroots innovative educational technology programmes exist in India?
- For students in grades 9 through 12, Assam’s online career advice site is improving the transition from school to job and further education.
- Himachal Pradesh’s HarGhar Pathshala provides digital education for children with special needs; Jharkhand’s DigiSAT is leading behaviour change by strengthening parent-teacher-student links; Madhya Pradesh’s DigiLEP is delivering content for learning enhancement through a well-structured mechanism with over 5 50,000 WhatsApp groups covering all clusters and secondary schools; and Kerala’s Aksharavriksham initiative is focusing on digital literacy.
What should the next step be?
Closing the Digital Gap:
To increase online learning, it is critical to close India’s current digital gap.
A good move in this regard is the Government School Transformation Programme Odisha, which is part of the 5T programme (Transparency, Teamwork, Technology, and Timeliness leading to Transformation) of the Odisha government.
Policy for Inclusive Education:
The necessity for inclusive education policy during the epidemic is acknowledged on a worldwide scale.
The formation of a nationwide informal and voluntary network of teachers known as the Discussion Forum of Online Teaching (DFOT) is a good step in this direction. o The development of online resources, training programmes, and innovative schemes is essential for making online education more effective, accessible, and safe.
the use of cutting-edge technology:
Artificial intelligence (AI) and other cutting-edge technology might create new opportunities for creative, individualised teaching methods that cater to various learning styles.
IIT Kharagpur and Amazon Web Services worked together to create the National AI Resource 6 Platform (NAIRP), which has the potential to track eye movement, motion, and other factors for improved teaching and learning in the future.
In the direction of “What is Told is What is Sold”:
In addition to emphasising openness and cautioning against deceptive advertising from edtech businesses, a suitable process for monitoring malpractice and time-bound grievance redressal is required.
Hybrid Learning Mode:
The learning problem in India cannot be resolved by edtech alone. Online and offline learning should be balanced; it should not be used to replace professors in educational institutions.
Major online competitors Byju’s and Unacademy have experimented with hybrid or offline learning strategies.
Online education offers numerous opportunities for both students and teachers, but it may also exacerbate social disparities in India. We must make sure that all of our policies and actions are inclusive when it comes to online education. India, with its clear vision and honest efforts, will pave the path forward.