The recent results of the school boards of UP and Maharashtra, for instance, point to the failure of students in their mother tongues—10 lakh students in Hindi and 2.5 lakh students in Marathi.
There has been a significant change in the education system over the last 10 years as per the indicators available, such as enrolment levels, completion rates and physical infrastructure available in the primary, secondary and higher education systems. While we have started taking positive strides in some of the quantitative parameters, the more worrisome factor is the quality of output of the education system.
The recent results of the school boards of UP and Maharashtra, for instance, point to the failure of students in their mother tongues—10 lakh students in Hindi and 2.5 lakh students in Marathi. In the current year, 150 schools in UP have reported that not a single student has passed and the success rate in Maharashtra SSC Board has dropped to 77%.
These instances highlight the fact that with the growth of student enrolments, it has been a challenge to keep pace with the required number of qualified faculty and providing customised attention to students to groom them well from the early stages.
It is being increasingly recognised that the vast scale and the magnitude of challenges faced in the education system can be addressed only with the help of smart edtech solutions. With significant investments in hardware and connectivity being made in the academic institutions and teachers slowly getting comfortable with them, it is time to focus on developing edtech solutions that address the specific needs of Indian schools and children. Starting with Google changing the way we seek information, MOOCs and You Tube channels are now enabling schools to use blended learning models in order to access freely available content and integrate them with classroom teaching thus enriching the learning resources for students. Adaptive learning, simulations and game based learning can supplement text books. In the days to come, visual data could replace text data and thus facilitate active engagement with the students, parents and other stakeholders.
Schools and teachers need to be encouraged to move away from ‘one size fits all’ approach and nurture creativity, problem-solving capability, flexibility and collaboration thus helping them overcome the limitations of their immediate environments. Using AI and analytics, enabling teachers and education policymakers to get better insights about their students and being able to outline learning paths based on personalised learning algorithms would result in manifold improvement in the outcomes. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality can play a significant role in helping students visualise, imagine and enhance their understanding of complex subject domains.
With the increased penetration of mobile devices, reducing cost of ownership of devices due to large volumes and robust and higher levels of connectivity, reach and access problems would no longer be the bottlenecks. Hence edtech developers need not worry about the number of users, the feasibility of integrating technology in education and willingness of adoption as all stakeholders are recognising the need for a solution to address the burning problems of quality. Training of educators and getting their buy-in would be an ongoing necessity for the successful implementation of edtech solutions. The solution lies in developing Indian education system centred innovative edtech solutions that would act as catalysts to bring out the best in both students and teachers. Edtech solutions that have excellent UX/UI and demonstrate positive learning outcomes would be embraced by the academic system.
We need to move away from positioning edtech solutions merely to supplement learning and make them integral to the teaching process. The success with this approach would largely depend upon effective collaboration formats between schools, edtech solution developers and the government to create pathbreaking solutions.
The writer is chairperson, Global Talent Track, a corporate training solutions company