Education is one of the pillars of progress for any country. School education is important to establish a foundation for a child’s structural learning. Considering India’s population index the youth percentage in India’s demography is at an all-time high. According to the latest UN reports, India has the world’s largest youth population in the world. Economies of countries with a large youth population are always inclined to improve since the working population increases. It is then imperative that investment in education for this youth-rich demography in India is deliberate and impactful.
Education has become a vital sector in India. Niti Aayog released a School Education Quality Index (SEQI) on 30th September 2019 which studied the impact of education in the states of India. The study was based on 4 domains – Learning Outcomes, Access Outcomes, Infrastructure and facilities for outcomes and Equity outcomes. With the focus more on the outcomes than the system and processes, a change in the thought process and eventually, a shift in paradigm is imminent.
The government increased the education budget by 13% from last year, indicating the intent of investing heavily in education. Through various Government schemes such as ‘Digital India’, it is noted that the focus is on digital education and infrastructure.
The educational outcomes such as learning, access and equity outcomes rely majorly on the facilities. An inclusive and progressive infrastructure development which complements the dynamic pedagogy will add substantial value to the learning outcomes. It is vital that the school’s organized structure is unimpeachable, progressive and equipped with the right facilities.
Along with technological intervention, other initiatives will also play a part in this transformation. Interventions such as online knowledge sharing, a revival of skill-based learnings among others will be instrumental in engaging a wider range of students while changing the teaching and learning methodologies. Teachers will transform into education facilitators.
Technology will play a huge part in this educational revolution of India. It is will be a tool which will not only provide a platform for engaging students from remote areas but also provide experiential learning from any location. Already, schools are being equipped with smart-classes and digital technology. This will be a huge fillip for teaching at Government schools. Regular classrooms will be replaced by Google classrooms and flip-classes. The virtual world will be the norm in the future, virtual classrooms will provide access to information from far-flung places aligning rural and urban areas and providing access to information from all over the world. Virtual reality(VR) will also become a part of the tools used to enhance learning outcomes. It gives a more real-life experience. It will help in experiential learning. 3D printing technology will also make an impact on the learning aspect of school-going children.
Census of India states that rural literacy rate is 69 per cent, far below the world average of 86 per cent. Use of technology, the right infrastructure and accessibility will remedy that in future.
Online courses will also add value to the education system as the courses can gather material and can contain syllabus from world-renowned universities across the globe. Sitting in a village of India, youth will be able to gain knowledge from across the world. The Government schools in rural areas will also be well equipped to ascertain the right platform to engage in the right learning outcome. E-learning has started gaining grounds and as policies about online learning become stronger, it will see a boost in students opting for additional online courses to strengthen their knowledge. E-learning will play a dominating role in the educational future of India.
Community kiosks in rural areas will see a boost of technology giving access to information hitherto unknown to the masses, bringing awareness and access to knowledge for all.
Another increasing trend which has started setting a precedent is one-to-one mentoring. Personalised, customised and skill-based/vocational learning will also dominate the education sector. The one-size-fits-all mould will slowly give way to specialised learning from the school level itself. Mentorship programmes will become custom. Various studies such as the one by Komomsa- Hawkins, 2012, have shown the benefits of receiving mentorship, especially social and emotional.
In the future, there will be fewer dropouts as the literacy rate among the parents will be high as the value of education will be realised.
While all this seems to be where the country is heading, it is important to understand the scale on which the development has to progress. According to EY-FICCI report, there are 1.4 million schools with over 250 million students enrolled in the K-12 system in India. This large, a scale, will require efficient planning and dynamic execution to ensure impartial implementation of the interventions. A lot of NGOs and other agencies have recognised the need to rejuvenate the school infrastructure in terms of digital facilities and have been working towards empowering the schools. Akshaya Patra’s one such programme of ‘School Rejuvenation’ under the National Endeavour for Student Transformation (NEST) initiative has implemented facilities for digital learning at beneficiary schools to enhance the learning methodologies which in turn will enhance the outcomes. Projectors, laptops, screens amongst other things are being provided to schools to promote the digital platform for learning while boosting the creativity and imagination of the young minds.
While total transformation will need more investment and efficient execution; for India to create global-market-ready individuals, it needs to promote education with a strong framework, at all levels. It is imperative to understand the need for super-transforming and the rapidly evolving world is an indication of the necessity of the education system to develop dynamically.