Education Technology and the Urban-Rural Dichotomy
Education plays a crucial role in shaping principles, influencing human lives, and changing global societies, which enables us to shape future communities that are inclusive and equitable. Technology has tremendous potential to better prepare students for the future of work, improve productivity, and enhance social cohesion.
The National Education Policy 2020 (NEP) with its aim to make India a global knowledge superpower has some fundamental changes with technology being a key driver and weaving through the implementation of the NEP would be the next big challenge that we should triumph over with indigenous technologies being at the forefront.
The biggest and most crucial challenge remains the urban-rural dichotomy that daunts our current education landscape, and addressing this issue is highly critical in driving the execution of NEP. As a next step, technology intervention in areas such as low-cost hardware, media consumption tools, easy access to the internet along with other intervention areas mentioned in detail below, will contribute to powering the new education economy for our nation’s growth.
The following broad sectors and technology intervention areas can support driving the NEP with a well-defined, accessible, and robust segmentation to formulate data-driven intelligence to power decisions –
- Knowledge and Management - Advancements in artificial intelligence, open research-open access journals, peer to peer Q&A platforms
- Education Management - Education management platforms-automating workflow, alerts and providing dashboard-like data visualization, learning environments, classroom technology, admissions platforms
- New Delivery Models - Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), proprietary online, virtual learning labs research, and development center, boot camps for skill development
- Experiential Learning - ER-Extended Reality refers to virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR), games and simulation, STEAM and coding
- International education - Discovery, language learning, and testing
- Learning Support - Teacher resources, internet connectivity gap (rural areas), tutoring, test preparation, assessment
- Assessment and Verification - Portfolio creation and tracking, career planning, credentialing
- Workforce/talent and Wellness - Capability development, social and emotional learning (SEL) skills tech for teachers, tools for wellbeing pulses and dashboards for students and teachers, wellbeing pulses support, support material for improvement in case of an existing mental health problem, tools for attributes of open pedagogy, workforce data and analytics
- Skills and Jobs - Apprenticeships, gigs - these platforms provide discovery, matching, and quality control to support connection and transaction between ‘gig’ workers and those who need a project or task completed
Note: These areas could further be divided according to different categories such as Pre K, K-12, Higher Education, Skills
The government is already progressing in the right direction with initiatives such as Diksha, e-Pathshala, National Repository of Open Educational Resources, Swayam, etc. but there is a long way to go.
The pace and mode of impact of these initiatives must radically reshape the main facets of our education system.
Building on our goals from the National Education Policy 2020 would take some game-changing technical breakthroughs to change the way we are taught, and eventually recognize the impact this will bring.