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Understanding the Need of Online Education & Digital Initiatives by the Government of India
The COVID crisis acquainted the world with a new concept of home-based education. This duration saw a spike in the number of online learners. As a result, the EdTech sector grew exponentially.
For many stakeholders in India, online education was a new concept. But the pandemic forced them to experience a complete shift to the virtual learning world. This transition was not smooth for many of us. But despite the unpleasant experiences during the pandemic schooling, this new and promising trend is here to stay!
Let’s take you through some schooling alternatives & see how online learning is an integral part of our mainstream schooling system.
Homeschooling- A visionary choice of several urban families
Parents in urban India are now all set to shun the idea of brick-and-mortar schools. They have already embraced homeschooling. And this option is now a part of our mainstream educational structure. These homeschooling families are torchbearers for other parents. Because they have proved the merits of this medium through their real-life examples. Their life-changing stories are an inspiration for many others. And as far as the legal aspects are concerned, some policymakers have already given it a nod. In Maharashtra, it is perfectly legitimate to choose a home-based learning environment.
Homeschoolers in India can appear for the International General Certificate of Secondary Education exams (IGCSE). And they can also join the NIOS (National Institute of Open Schooling). Cities like Bengaluru and Karnataka also have a number of homeschooling families.
In the years to come, homeschooling will be even more popular. Because India now has some more advanced options, in the form of 100% online schools.
Online Schooling- The face of new-age learning
In the pre-pandemic era, internet connectivity was a big concern in India. With only 14.9% of the rural households with this facility, pandemic schooling was bound to create challenges for us.
Unfortunately, several stakeholders got carried away with the harsh experiences of the unplanned pandemic schooling. As a result, they chose to overlook the potential of online schooling in a country like ours.
Many journals highlighted the shortcomings of online programs in India. But with all these temporary challenges, our stakeholders missed out on an imperative point i.e. the CONDITION OF TRADITIONAL SCHOOLING IN INDIA!
Traditional education and learning poverty
The pandemic is not the only challenge for the global education. In fact, even before the pandemic hit the world, the learning crisis had already crippled our human race.
As per the World Bank, the learning crisis largely undermines sustainable growth. This human capital deficit is because of the poor quality and quantity of schooling. Key indicators like MPL (minimum proficiency level) and out-of-school children etc. speak volumes about the disrupted state of education worldwide.
A developing country like India is no exception to this!
With all these unresolved challenges, the year 2019 created bigger havoc. As the pandemic further aggravated this challenge. During the COVID-19, the estimated rise in this learning poverty was as high as 63% in developing countries. This clearly shows that we need more structured and resilient alternatives within our mainstream systems.
Online education creates better learning opportunities
Like any other medium of education, virtual learning also has some pitfalls. However, all these challenges are workable. And this does not minimize the advantages of this medium. Our country has always struggled to meet world-class teaching and learning standards. But now with this new choice, we now have access to better content, online teaching, and innovative tools. Keeping the pandemic situations in mind, our new education policy (NPE 2020) also acknowledges the need to design new educational alternatives. Because this duration has highlighted the inability of our traditional mediums to serve our students at all times.
Steps were taken by the government of India to popularize online education before the pandemic
The Indian government was keen to improve the opportunities for online education even before the pandemic. In the year 2018, our Ministry of Human Resource Development launched many e-Learning Projects.
Some of these are as follows:
Developed by the National Council for Educational Research and Training, e-pathshala is a portal and a mobile application with educational e-resources.
Another web portal that showcases success stories and disseminates best practices within states and UT’s in the public domain.
This integrated platform offers online courses using ICT, and covers all higher education subjects. Students can opt for these courses at an affordable cost.
SWAYAM PRABHA DTH-TV has 32 national channels. It improves the learning opportunities for students by telecasting educational e-contents.
National Digital Library
NDL is a virtual repository of learning resources with over 153 lakh digital books.
This is not all, during the pandemic, our government took some more steps to strengthen digital learning opportunities.
Here’s a look at some of the digital innovations, implemented by the government:
DIKSHA (Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing)- This free digital learning platform was introduced by the government of India. It aimed at serving students, parents, and teachers during the pandemic. This platform has around 1,00,000+ e-Learning content across 30+ languages. Besides, the DIKSHA app also has an offline mode feature, which makes it an ideal choice for the masses. It is a great initiative to promote distance learning. And it also equips teachers with advanced digital technologies.
National Repository of Open Educational Resources is a hub for quality online learning. Users can access the online content through e-libraries and e-books. In addition, it also offers e-courses along with online events.
Another initiative by the MHRD is ‘Virtual Labs’. It is a full-fledged Learning Management System that has various online learning tools, such as resources, video lectures, self-evaluation, and animations.
It gives access to online labs to engineering colleges that do not have lab facilities. Other than this, it also supports the student’s learning through training and workshops.
Let’s wrap it up:
Despite challenges, India is all set to embrace this new normal. in the past couple of years, there is a huge spike in the number of students who enroll and used these digital learning services. Other than its advantages for students and stakeholders, the online learning space is also generating huge revenue for the government. And platforms like eVidya grew tremendously with a 400% revenue hike.
It is clear that online education is the foundation for our educational advancement. Now, it’s in our hands to work on its challenges and maximize these advantages for our student community and the future of India. If only our teachers, parents, and students learn the effective use of technology, India will see a new era of educational advancement in the years to come.
So, let’s join hands and make this possible in this post-pandemic digital world!
Thanks for Reading!