The Pandemic is Forcing Indian Education to Digitize but What About Those Without Smart Means?
While the lockdown has been playing havoc with Indian students, online education is becoming a reality for many in the country. The pandemic has forced schools, colleges, and other educational institutions to remain closed since March. State governments are being forced to turn to digital means of imparting education, even though the digital distribution remains lopsided in almost every state.
Assam is contemplating resuming informal education in both government and private schools from September 1, if possible. The Odisha government has asked colleges and universities to start online classes in September. In April, the state government decided to start online education for Class X students through an app called Diksha.
In this scenario, the edtech industry is having its moment in the sun, while they are raking in funds and witnessing their highest number of users. This has given a chance to small edtech startups as well to shine.
This week, Team Hi–Tech, has launched an online platform in collaboration with Sthitiprajna Higher Secondary school in Odisha. The students of Stithiprajna will be accessing their study materials digitally for the first time.
While sectors like finance and healthcare have adapted digitization to a great extent, classroom environments in Indian schools have remained the old, chalk-talk teaching model.
“I’m touched beyond words. With this initiative, students will not face the problems they were facing earlier. The website helps the students to get their syllabus, accessible anytime, anywhere despite noting down in paper, interaction with teachers if any queries, easily accessible library with different kinds of books, and a special column for categorizing achievements of students. It maintains the flow and motivates students to study,” Aptakama Mishra, Advocate and Secretary of Sthitiprajna Higher Secondary School, said.
A Forced Change
Indian education hasn’t changed in decades, especially in government-run schools. While sectors like finance and healthcare have adapted digitization to a great extent, classroom environments in Indian schools have remained the old, chalk-talk teaching model.
Especially, now that some schools are going ahead with online learning, students without them will lag behind, a gap that will show in their future careers
The pandemic might be forcing educational institutions to finally introduce technology via tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet.
“We have always been interested in working with educational organizations. Sthitiprajna with time has grown unexpectedly which also includes a proper presence in the digital world,” Akash Jaiswal, Executive Head of Team Hi-Tech said in a statement.
Team Hi-Tech is in collaborations with more than 50 schools to provide a similar platform.
“What motivated me to assign the most engaged people to this project was online education being need of the hour, which has definitely paid off,” he added.
Livestreaming of classes is one of the ways many colleges and schools are teaching during the pandemic. Students who are fortunate to have access to the Internet and smart gadgets will definitely learn more than they usually do in a regular classroom.
Still, the lack of digital infrastructure or smart gadgets is a big problem for many students. Especially, now that some schools are going ahead with online learning, students without them will lag behind, a gap that will show in their future careers. This realization is driving some students to desperation, as is evident from incidents of suicide from Kerala, Assam, and West Bengal.