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Shaping the future of the education sector using digital technologies

Education is the most powerful tool to bring the change in the world. The vision of New Education policy-2020 (NEP-2020) is to build an education system that is rooted in Indian ethos and contributes directly to transforming our Bharat sustainably into an equitable and vibrant knowledge society. This can be done by providing high-quality education to all which aim to develop good, thoughtful, well-rounded, individuals and thereby making India a global knowledge superpower.

Digital Transformation is the buzzword now a days. Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all areas of organisations and institutions thus fundamentally transforming the organisation and institutions operate and deliver value to their customers. The education sector is not untouched by the digital transformation. The digital technologies are helping education institutions in imparting education in the manner, which aims to develop the students in academic and non-academic spheres holistically by recognizing, identifying, and fostering the unique capabilities of each student. Digital technologies are helping students in understanding the concepts in a better manner and learning with interest. This is resulting in improved learning and retainablity of the learnt concepts. This results in improving their confidence, personality development which help them in getting suitable employment or work as an entrepreneur.

For shaping the future of education in India, digital connectivity plays the foremost role. Together with the digital infrastructure like PCs, Digital Interactive boards etc, digital connectivity connects the education institutes, particularly schools, to the world of vast information and learnings. Digital connectivity also ensures the continuity in education, whether face-to-face or at a distance. It enriches teaching and learning by providing access to a wide range of quality content for learning that is both relevant and personalized. It supports inclusion by enabling the use of assistive and adaptive technologies. It also ensures that the learning is customised as per the requirement of individual student’s pace of learning. Further it drives innovation and help in skills development.

With the march of digital technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Augmented Reality, Virtual reality, Mixed reality, holographic images transmission in 3-Dimenstion using 5G technologies etc, the digital technologies are furthering innovation and problem solving skills.

Students in schools in rural areas, particularly in Tribal Areas, are getting benefitted immensely using digital technologies. Education and Research Network India (ERNET India) is the leading organisation in providing digital connectivity and digital infrastructure to the educational institutes in India. It is also connecting hundreds of Schools in Tribal areas under Eklavya Model Residential Schools(EMRS) Scheme of the Government of India. It is observed that there is significant increase in the learnings of the student after their classrooms have been provided with digital infrastructure and connectivity. The pace of the learning of the students in these schools have increased substantially. Students are able to use and operate digital interactive boards in very professional manner and are able to use internet for enhancing their knowledge and understanding. It is noted that by taking the help of internet Music teachers are able to explain music-nodes and music ragas in a correct manner. Similarly, language teachers like Sanskrit teachers are able to pronounce Slokas in correct manner. Science teachers are able to explain the concept through pictures, videos and graphical way which helps the students in understanding these concepts with more clarity. As a result, students are able to perform better in their practical and viva sessions. Sport teachers are able to demonstrate the right kind of techniques to the sport-persons/students, resulting enhancing their performance.

Thus, the digital technologies are able to achieving some of important objectives of the New Education Policy Viz. achieving Foundational Literacy and Numeracy, providing flexibility for multidisciplinary education to ensure the unity and integrity of all knowledge; emphasizing on conceptual understanding rather than rote learning or learning-for-exams; enhancing creativity and critical thinking to encourage logical decision-making and innovation, and developing scientific temper etc, in the students.

In India there are over 10 lakh schools out of which only about 30% are having digital infrastructure and digital connectivity. For bringing a major transformation in the education sector at the grass root level, it is important that the remaining schools are also provided with the digital infrastructure and digital connectivity in a faster manner. This will help in developing a new generation which is more innovative, curious, critical thinker and solution oriented. Today’s students are tomorrow’s nation builders. A well-developed generation will ensure a developed nation, for which our nation is aspiring by 2047.

This article is authored by Sanjeev Banzal, Director General, Education and Research Network India (ERNET India). Views expressed are personal.

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