Will Digitalization Benefit Education System?

The pandemic was also a boon for many ed-tech companies, enabling e-learning and providing engagement opportunities for students and educators.

We were all aware about ‘change’ being part of life but then 2020 happened. In the rapid and long reaching changes that impacted our businesses and daily lives, we learnt that work from home is a way of life and unlearnt what it takes to ‘get an education.’ Not a popular opinion, but thank you, pandemic, for hastening this process!

Amidst the setbacks during COVID-19 lockdowns, the education system needed to act fast to safeguard students and educators and enable remote or distance learning programs to continue with academic curriculums. But the closing of academic institutes and enabling of e-learning was easier said than done. It took much institutional and state support and availability of Internet technology for many entities to create online ecosystems.

The pandemic was also a boon for many ed-tech companies, enabling e-learning and providing engagement opportunities for students and educators. But even though it seems like we have managed to adopt a newer and sustainable approach with digitalizing the education system, the question remains: Will digitalization benefit the education system in India?

Advantages of a digital education system

1. Personalized learning

With physical classrooms no longer the norm, a digital education system has the potential to enable personalized learning for students. Though it will be initially tough for the educators, they can create customized learning programs for students, based on their learning speed and ability. Thus, they can assist students to learn and develop individually, without the pressure to catch-up with the rest of the class. It has also reduced the barrier of distance and travel for students.

2. Expanding beyond the curriculum

Digitalization has opened doors of opportunity for students to learn and know about subjects beyond academics. With digital tools and an insatiable appetite to learn, students and parents are exploring skills and perspectives from around the world like never before, and there are no physical textbooks and workbooks around.

3. Enabling self-learning

The sheer curiosity to explore, with having a plethora of information and knowledge just a search and click away, will motivate students to self-learn and discover topics that interest them as individuals. The availability of Internet and technology will encourage students to self-learn and more importantly, self-motivate and self-assess. Digital learning education system has also changed the outlook on education from traditional inquiry-based learning.

4. Higher engagement

Our ‘classrooms’, ‘textbooks’ and teachers have integrated a wide variety of learning material and learning methods. The limitless availability of interactive content, video and image formats make learning enjoyable for students across all grades. There is a great technological upskill for all - teachers, students and parents.

Disadvantages of a digital ecosystem

1. Lack of connectivity

Pockets of India are thriving in an era of high-speed Internet and technological advancement, but there are millions of others who don’t have the bandwidth or infrastructure such as laptops. This is ‘the’ major issue of digitalizing education in India – the path to equipping all students and educators in the country with the necessary tools and technology is long and arduous.

2. Skill gap

Before we enable students to explore the varied learning opportunities with a digital system, it is important to train the educators in driving a digital learning program. Traditionally, educators in India are familiar with classroom techniques and thus, they will need to be trained to conduct digital learning and execute engagement programs. And while the learners may upskill themselves technologically, cyber threats cannot be ignored.

3. Low socializing

Schools and educational institutes have been a place to learn as well as meet peers and build social relationships. With digital learning students will lose on the opportunity to socialize with others, and this may affect their social relationships. This might affect their ability to interact with people offline and build relationships. More screen time and less socializing may also lead to aloofness and social anxiety in students.

In a nutshell, there are several benefits of a digitalized education system and there are disadvantages which can be addressed with government support, training educators and parents, and enabling tools to reduce screen times for students. That said, there are some things which cannot be sufficed by a digital ecosystem, such as social relationships and human connections. Technology is a tool to enhance education, not replace the human ability to teach and learn.

The digitalization of the education system in India will definitely benefit the students and educators in the country. And we have seen it succeed in the pandemic, however, what the country needs, is a hybrid ecosystem, inculcating the power of technology along with the positives of a classroom learning.

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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