Question – How have digital initiative in India contributed to the functioning of the education system in the country? – 9 September 2021
When every sector is caught in a crisis due to COVID-19, the Digital India vision of the Government of India seems to be a means to resolve the situation in the present scenario. At present, all business activities have also come to a standstill and everyone is talking about the economy and GDP, due to which the education sector has also been badly affected.
The COVID-19 global pandemic has seriously threatened the traditional structure of education (school, college, classroom model), and online education has emerged as a new option in this situation. Undoubtedly, digital initiative in India have helped make the education system more inclusive even before the pandemic, but the online education system has many challenges and needs improvement.
Positive aspects of digital initiative in India in education sector:
- Flexibility: The digital medium is a great tool to acquire skills and technical knowledge with a wide variety of courses. For example, e-Pathshala provides e-content for teaching. SWAYAM portal provides a unified platform for online courses. At the same time it also helps in developing a multidisciplinary approach. As a result a large number of universities and higher education institutions are coming forward to offer online versions of programs of various levels and subjects.
- Cost effective: Digital initiative is able to meet the objectives of education even with less investment as compared to the traditional model of education. Teaching material and educational fees are much less expensive in the online medium.
- Uniqueness: The digital initiative can make education accessible to rural and remote areas of the country simultaneously. Also online learning allows students to work in an environment that they find appropriate.
In fact, education is at its core a process of socialization. Whenever the nature of society changed, there was talk of change in the nature of education also. Today, in the era of Corona crisis, the proposal to change the nature of education through online education is being strongly proposed by the policy makers.
In such a situation, it is necessary to see what such a fundamental change has taken place in the structure and purpose of the society, which is being said to be inevitable. After independence, is the model of universal education based on liberty, equality and fraternity no longer of any use?
Disadvantages due to digital initiatives in education sector:
- Digital divide: E-learning is like a privilege for middle and upper class students, but it is like a daydream for lower-middle class students and people living below poverty line (BPL). Poor students, who do not have access to e-resources (computers, laptops, internet connectivity), will not be able to take classes from home. The digital initiative, therefore, further widens the gap in the digital divide in education.
- Traditional Classrooms as a Social Institution: Institutions like schools and colleges are social institutions in which students not only acquire academic knowledge but also learn many social skills which are essential for the all-round development of the individual.
- Commercialization of Education: To achieve the goals of e-learning, we have to work closely with corporate houses, technology firms and educational institutions, thereby increasing the commercialization of education. This can exclude self-sufficient tutors and students from economically weaker backgrounds.
The intervention of technology in future education will increase and many unknown and undiscovered subjects will come in the field of study. Despite this, we have to continuously refine our education system by striking a balance between traditional and technology based education system. The present century is one of the most uncertain and challenging changes in history. So we have to prepare ourselves keeping in mind the unknown challenges of the future. In the coming times, the knowledge of only one subject cannot give us any benefit, so we have to make the knowledge of every subject an integral part of education. The government is trying its best that it will continue to make reforms and changes in this direction according to the futuristic vision. Only by doing this we can secure the future of education and make future education according to the times.