Technology Is The Hero Teachers Deserve, And The One They Need Right Now

From being a supplement a couple of decades back, private tuition centres have today become the backbone on which parents manage their expectations.

Photo Credit : Ritesh Sharma,

In a country where students are flooded with mobile learning apps and cheap data to back them up, we often wonder why do we even need classrooms right now. Isn't it astonishing that technology hasn't been able to co-exist with the teachers, let alone replace them? Behind it is a core way of learning deeply rooted in our culture. India is a land where the Guru-Shishya relationship has been revered and savored for ages. 

Our childhood tales tell us of a disciple who cut his thumb as a token of gratitude for a teacher who didn’t even teach him directly. They speak of a societal structure where kids, in their infancy, were sent to far-off campuses to learn for the next fourteen years, cultivating their lifestyle as their Gurus suggested. They tell us much more. 

Come the 21st century, and we see a reflection of the same culture. India is one of the most competitive educational landscapes in the world. It already boasts of 300 Mn school going students, the largest in the world. The success ratios in the competitive entrance exams put the concepts of probability to shame. Why parents are so averse to try any new solution with their kids when it comes to the academic curriculum is no mystery. 

The inherent risk of their kids lose out on an opportunity is high enough to create a mental barrier in their mind, especially towards technology powered self-paced solutions. The public school system is still not at par with the first world, resulting in the rise of private schools as well as the after-school private tutoring segment. As a result, over 71 Mn students opt for after school tutoring every year. More importantly, almost 89% of it happens to supplement their school curriculum.

Hundreds of thousands of hyperlocal learning centres across the country fuel this learning in after-school classes with a better-than-school teacher-pupil ratio. From being a supplement a couple of decades back, private tuition centres have today become the backbone on which parents manage their expectations. Since these set-ups are fairly recent and not institutionalized, there exists a lot of information asymmetry within them. And this is where technology becomes a superb enabler. Good teachers with great technology is an alchemist's dream.

As a basic building block, they miss a platform structured around classroom communication. Most of the real learning of a kid happens while they’re revisiting the concepts or practicing the variants at home. If we study the learning behaviour of k-12 students deeply, this is where they need their tutors and peers the most. The information asymmetry needs to be plugged at such moments.  

From an after-school educator’s point of view, redressal of doubts is just one of the many things that they undertake to supplement their direct teaching. Right from message alerts to managing their content needs sans tons of paperwork to charting the need-gaps of students, they are in acute shortage of operational resources. The resulting information asymmetry cuts down their efficiency and places them in a world where they can track their food, but not their pupil. 

Somewhere down the line, it’d be interesting to explore the domain of proctored peer to peer learning, because that is where students share common interests. Such modules typically foster accelerated learning and sprout up shared interest in students. There is an acute focus on how we can leverage technology to enhance collaboration and derive group learning outcomes. At the end of the day, every child is chasing their learning curve. And the probability just becomes higher if they find their teachers, peers and parents contributing to it than just monitoring. 

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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