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.
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.
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.