Digital divide, educator development: The challenges awaiting attention in 2021 | India News
MUMBAI: The year 2020 has revolutionized the education sector around the world. The pandemic shook both educators and the student community, the unemployment rate stood at 27% in India, restoring the importance of skills development. The Indian education system is finally ready for its digital resurgence. Today, as the nation prepares to step into the ‘New Beginning’ of 2021, the ecosystem must step up to help overcome the enlisted challenges that await the education sector.
Lack of student perspective
Covid-19 has played a crucial role in highlighting the digital divide in India. It is feared that the lockdown will lead to an increase in dropout rates among students residing in rural and semi-urban areas. Despite the increase in wireless users in recent years, semi-urban and predominantly rural India is miles behind in its online presence (27 subscribers per 100 people in rural areas, according to the 75th National Survey of India Samples). This adds to the existing challenges of unbalanced access to basic education infrastructure in the form of teachers, classrooms, study materials, and teaching pedagogies. Educated employment is another major issue facing India and which the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP) aims to address by focusing on skill development, entrepreneurship, critical thinking, problem solving, and knowledge relevant to the industry. This problem arose because we have neglected the development of professional aspirations and we have limited ourselves to evaluating the power of students’ memory. NEP allows educational institutions to act as a bridge between students who are potential employees and companies, potential employers.
Lack of teaching resources
As stated in a Niti Aayog report published earlier this year, a single teacher can handle more than 100 students in rural areas as a result of a shortage of trained teachers. Jharkhand state faces a ~ 40% teacher shortage, as are other states such as Rajasthan, Odisha, and Madhya Pradesh. The shortage of trained teachers is another problem according to data from the Ministry of Education 2015-16 which revealed that 1.1 million of the 6.6 million teachers employed at the primary level were not trained.
The pandemic highlighted some of the deep-seated issues, such as lack of exposure to necessary teaching tools, engaging learning strategies, and industry-relevant curriculum faced by teachers across India as they struggle to broaden horizons. of their students’ learning. And if that wasn’t all, COVID-19 has further disrupted the form of teacher-student interaction, from the four walls of a classroom to fit a 13-inch screen.
These challenges need a multi-stakeholder approach to address them efficiently and effectively. The players of the digital platform have a key role to enable transformation in 4 areas:
Building digital twins and harnessing artificial intelligence: Building experiential learning platforms that help increase student engagement that resemble physical platforms is the need of the moment. It will help create a familiar atmosphere for the learner and allow educators to maintain necessary decorum (eg multilingual virtual classroom platforms). This also includes construction applications that offer alternative models for laboratory learning and professional trades. Learning platforms can also be supported by AI for hyper-personalization of learning. This will aid in the overall transformation of the learner’s engagement and experience, making learning more relevant, engaging, and accurate. Although investments are being made in the infrastructure for it, emphasis should be placed on improving accessibility, scale, standardization and affordability. These platforms have an important role to play in reducing dropout rates among disadvantaged students residing across the country.
Aggregate Partner Ecosystem: Digital technologies should act as a convergence point that attracts numerous stakeholders in the field of education, playing different roles such as infrastructure providers, content providers, professional guides, etc. These companies are playing a key role in offering an end-to-end service. , ensuring that issues are addressed holistically with technology as an enabler. By. For example, one of the solutions for the digital divide could be the availability of low-cost educational devices capable of operating in a non-network setting. Language is a major barrier in providing quality education in rural areas.
Enable the transformation of the educator through educational leadership: It’s time for core educators to take the lead, understand the nuances of a digital school, and step up as digital leaders. This is a change management program and will prepare institution directors to lead this change. Next, we should focus on transforming educators; this would normally include innovation in the teaching space to promote effective learning outcomes. A comprehensive program should help teachers and instructors redo and learn new skills for digital education. Policymakers can collaborate with deep technology platform providers to explore new ways of teaching, learning, and assessment to drive 21st century skills.
User experience with service delivery integration:
A unified end-student experience is the result of the makeup of educators, infrastructure, hardware and software services. Simultaneously, it results in the integration of various teaching-learning elements. This would require technical support to incorporate multiple pedagogical elements such as games, assessments, practical components, seamlessly into a learning path. Typically this also includes providing industry-relevant certification courses. These courses play a key role in skill development and should be used as career guidance tools.
The pandemic has fueled the spark of digital platform ideas in India. The industry has the potential to grow on a global scale. Players of the digital platform have a critical role to play in strengthening the mission of digital India and going further. But this will only be possible if obstacles in the education sector are transformed into opportunities and platform actors act as catalysts for social change in the Indian educational scene by closing the digital divide.
(The writer runs the cloud education platform at Tata Consultancy Services)