Ed-Tech : Future of Learning – UPSC GS2

Utility: Focus on Ed-Tech due to COVID and rise of unicorns in Ed-Tech.
Context: Pandemic has shown us that traditional model of education delivery is not sufficient. Integration of technology with education offers a resilient alternative.
Why India is well positioned to integrate technology with education?
India is well-poised to take this leap forward because of the following factors:
  • Increasing access to tech-based infrastructure and electricity
  • Affordable internet connectivity
  • Digital India and the Ministry of Education’s initiatives, including the Digital Infrastructure for School Education (DIKSHA), open-source learning platform and UDISE+ – one of the largest education management information systems in the world.
Need of an ed-tech policy architecture: (#diagram)
A comprehensive ed-tech policy architecture must focus on four key elements –
  • Access: providing access to learning, especially to disadvantaged groups
  • Enabling processes of teaching, learning, and evaluation
  • Teaching: facilitating teacher training and continuous professional development
  • Governance: Improving governance systems including planning, management, and monitoring processes.
Problems with using technology in education
  • Technology is a tool, and not a panacea.
  • Technology cannot substitute schools or replace teachers. It’s not “teachers versus technology”; the solution is in “teachers and technology”. In fact, tech solutions are impactful only when embraced and effectively leveraged by teachers.
  • Digital divide is a big problem esp. for students living in slums and remote villages, with poorly-educated parents further strained by the lockdown.
  • In the immediate term: 
    • Study ed-tech landscape i.e. its scale, reach and impact.
    • Focus on equitable access.
  • In the short to medium-term: 
    • Policies to enable convergence across schemes (education, skills, digital governance, and finance).
    • Integration of solutions through public-private partnerships.
  • In the long term: 
    • Create a repository of the best-in-class technology solutions, good practices and lessons from successful implementation must be curated.
    • The NITI Aayog’s India Knowledge Hub and the Ministry of Education’s DIKSHA and ShaGun platforms can facilitate and amplify such learning.
  • Addressing digital divide: Special attention must be paid to address the digital divide at two levels – access and skills to effectively use technology.
Integrating ed-tech with India’s education sector has a transformative potential for India as it will not only maximize student learning but also help India in realizing a universal access to education.

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