Technology In Education: Still A Quick Fix Or Moving Towards Becoming A Habit?

Edtech has the potential to eliminate the inequities in the existing system of education in India.

The idea of a “new normal” suggests that the pre-pandemic normal was old. Old, outdated, and out of sync with the changing realities of a digital-first age. In that sense, the viral outbreak did not introduce new problems in how the world functioned; it merely highlighted and exacerbated the inequities that already existed in it.

Take the example of India’s education system, for instance.

Following the initial lockdowns implemented to curb the spread of the infectious disease, schools and colleges were shut down and students, like the adults, were forced to stay at home. Against this backdrop, even as technology enabled students to study from home, the digital divide that already existed disproportionately affected people from the less privileged socio-economic background, especially those living in remote and rural regions.

Therefore, even after the vaccine is administered successfully, falling back into the old way of doing things will not involve an improvement of any kind. True progress can only be achieved by proactively addressing and resolving the challenges and inequities that have plagued India since its Independence.

Fortunately, new-age edtech players quickly addressed this need-gap using innovative methods, such as allowing such students to continue their learning through channels such as WhatsApp.This forward movement symbolizes the most crucial lesson from the last 12 months: digital technology should be used to overcome the challenges pervading the conventional modus operandi that the viral outbreak has thrown into sharper relief.

Unlocking the future of India’s education sector through edtech

The world was already advancing towards a digital-first future. The viral outbreak has only served to catalyze this development by bolstering the people’s reliance on the internet and digital devices to maintain continuity. A few months into the pandemic, all educational institutions across the world, from Oxford University to government schools in India, were leveraging technology to enable teachers and students to connect with each otheroutsidea physical classroom.

Before the pandemic, the reality of such a shift was confined to the imagination of a distant future. Today, it has become an irrefutable part of our 'new' reality.

What this tells us is that our vision of a progressive world can indeed become a reality – all we need is powerful enough collective will to accelerate the progress.It is also true that this is easier said than done: it took a pandemic for us to switch to digitally-enabled remote models of conducting business anddelivering education.Why? Because human beings are creatures of habit and, in line with the first laws of motion, the momentum of habit remains unchanged until and unless a strong enough force acts upon it.On the flipside, history is witness that, despite initial resistance, technology does indeed end up driving significant changes inhow human beings live and interact with each other.

This is where the state governments can step into the picture to lay the foundations of a brighter future – andrecent developments suggest that this is already happening. For instance, the reforms proposed in the latest National Education Policy draft have already announced thatthe Government’s vision of a progressive education system is aligned with that of the digital-first future envisioned by leading edtech players.

Edtech has the potential to eliminate the inequities in the existing system of education in India. It can equip schools and colleges across the country with the necessary tools and resources to provide personalized and blended learning to students across the socio-economic divide, empowering them to learn at their own pace.The blended learning model combines data-mined insights with conventional pedagogy to create a more progressive curriculum aligned with the latest industry best practices, thereby making students industry-ready. It also enables teachers to make the learning process more interactive and fun while focusing on the individual needs of each student.Edtech, therefore, holds the key to unlocking the holistic development of young Indians.

The time has come for us to recognize the advantages of technology in optimizing the quality and accessibility of education in India. The country needs to move beyond considering digital learning as a temporary patch to the pandemic-induced disruption within the education ecosystem. Embracing the benefits offered by digital technology can help us evolve as a society and integrating these developments to unlock a more progressive and prosperous future for every last Indian. All that is needed to turn this possibility of ‘can’ into a tangible reality is the ‘will’ – the government’s, the individual’s, and the industry stakeholders’.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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