Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

Ed-tech in India

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ShaGun platform

Mains level : Paper 2- Technology based learning in India

The article suggests a policy formulation for future of the learning with the adoption of technology.

Learning crisis facing and finding solutions through technology

  • India was facing a learning crisis, even before the Covid-19 pandemic, with one in two children lacking basic reading proficiency at the age of 10.
  • The pandemic worsened it with the physical closure of 15.5 lakh schools that has affected more than 248 million students for over a year.
  • With the Fourth Industrial Revolution — the imperative now is to reimagine education and align it with the unprecedented technological transformation.
  • The pandemic offers a critical, yet stark reminder of the impending need to weave technology into education.

Is India prepared for integrating technology in learning?

  • India’s new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020envisions the establishment of an autonomous body, the National Education Technology Forum (NETF).
  • The NETF will spearhead efforts towards providing a strategic thrust to the deployment and use of technology.
  • India is well-poised to take this leap forward with increasing access to tech-based infrastructure, electricity, and affordable internet connectivity.
  • Flagship programmes such as Digital India and the Ministry of Education’s initiatives, including the Digital Infrastructure for School Education (DIKSHA), open-source learning platform and UDISE+  will help in this direction.
  • However, we must remember that technology cannot substitute schools or replace teachers.
  • It’s not “teachers versus technology”; the solution is in “teachers and technology”.
  • In fact, tech solutions are impactful only when embraced and effectively leveraged by teachers.

Four key elements for ed-tech policy architecture

  • A comprehensive ed-tech policy architecture must focus on four key elements:
  • Access: Providing access to learning, especially to disadvantaged groups.
  • Enable: Enabling processes of teaching, learning, and evaluation.
  • Teacher training: Facilitating teacher training and continuous professional development.
  • Governance: Improving governance systems including planning, management, and monitoring processes.

Ed-tech ecosystem in India

  • With over 4,500 start-ups and a current valuation of around $700 million, the ed-tech market is geared for exponential growth.
  • There are, in fact, several examples of grassroots innovation.
  • The Hamara Vidhyalaya in Namsai district, Arunachal Pradesh, is fostering tech-based performance assessments.
  • Assam’s online career guidance portal is strengthening school-to-work and higher-education transition for students in grades 9 to 12.
  • Samarth in Gujarat is facilitating the online professional development of lakhs of teachers in collaboration with IIM-Ahmedabad.
  • Jharkhand’s DigiSATH is spearheading behaviour change by establishing stronger parent-teacher-student linkages.
  • Himachal Pradesh’s HarGhar Pathshala is providing digital education for children with special needs.

Way forward

1) Short term policy formulation

  • In the immediate term, there must be a mechanism to thoroughly map the ed-tech landscape, especially their scale, reach, and impact.
  • The policy formulation and planning process must strive to:
  • 1) Enable convergence across schemes– education, skills, digital governance, and finance.
  • 2) Foster integration of solutions through public-private partnerships, factor in voices of all stakeholders.
  • 3) Bolster cooperative federalism across all levels of government.
  • Special attention must be paid to address the digital divide at two levels: access and skills.
  • Thematic areas of the policy should feature infrastructure and connectivity; high-quality software and content; and global standards for outcome-based evaluation, real-time assessments, and systems monitoring.

2) Long-term policy measures

  • In the longer term, as policy translates to practice at local levels a repository of the best-in-class technology solutions, good practices and lessons from successful implementation must be curated.
  • The NITI Aayog’s India Knowledge Hub and the Ministry of Education’s DIKSHA and ShaGun platforms can facilitate and amplify such learning.

Conclusion

With NEP 2020 having set the ball rolling, a transformative ed-tech policy architecture is the need of the hour to effectively maximise student learning.

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