By Dr VVLN Sastry
Education has been an indicator for the measurement of the advancement of a society. Educated society has been the largest contributor to a country’s development. Indian educational system has been traditional, dull and archaic. There has always been a need to revolutionise the Indian educational system.
Although many steps have been taken towards that end, the mission has more or less not achieved the desired output. Even after 63 years of Independence, the reach and spread of education has not beyond the Tier I and Tier II cities. The spread of education has failed on account of lack of number of quality teachers and basic infrastructure in the schools.
The country has a very poor teacher to student ratio. The ratio further worsens in the rural areas where entire schools run on one or two teachers. The country suffers extremely from the lack of experienced and good quality teachers. There is a serious scarcity of teachers for the spread of education in rural areas of Odisha and elsewhere.
To put an end to the regional disparity of the country and to offer quality education to the nook and corner of the state and the country and also at affordable rates, Information Technology can be used for e-Education to spread quality education and pedagogy along the lines of ICT - Information, Communication and Technology. There has been systems, modules and policies developed to spread quality education throughout the country and globe.
A good blend of technology and content offers a window of opportunity to the learners in the rural schools to bridge the digital divide. The system is a comprehensive and well thought-out initiative to open new vistas of learning and to provide a level playing field to school students, in rural areas and far flung towns. There is a need to bridge the diverse proliferation of education across different socio-economic and geographic segments of the country.
The ICT program developed can impact as to when and where students learn. In the past, educational institutions have provided little choice for students in terms of the method and manner in which programs can be delivered. Students have typically been forced to accept what has been delivered and institutions have tended to be quite dull and traditional in terms of the delivery of their programs. Learning through e-Education are now creating competitive edges through the choices they are offering to the students. These choices extend from when students can choose to learn to where they learn.
Benefits of e-Learning
a. Any place learning
The concept of flexibility has been ushered in the delivery place of educational programs. Educational programs and courses can be conveniently offered at a distance. By using technology students, who were unable to attend quality courses owing to regional disparities today stand beneficiaries.
b. Anytime learning
Students are starting to appreciate the capability to undertake education anywhere, anytime and any place. This flexibility has heightened the availability of just-in-time learning and provided learning opportunities for many more learners who previously were constrained by other commitments. Through online technologies, learning has become an activity that is no longer set within the programmed schedules and slots. Learners are free to participate in learning activities when time permits and these freedoms have greatly increased the opportunities for many students to participate in formal programs.
c) At present the quality of education imparted in the rural areas offer the student very little support in their search for quality jobs and opportunities of growth. The students are not at the same level as the students of the Tier I and Tier II cities are. The students not only lack the confidence to face competition but also lag behind the city peers when they seek employment or higher studies examinations for engineering, medical and management.
d) e-Learning brings the best of the education to the rural folks and thereby makes them not only abreast of the latest and best developments but also gives them the opportunity to fight the competition effectively.
e) The education thus disseminated via the electronic form can reach the nook and corner of the country without having to depend on the availability of quality teachers. The instructors can fill the roles of teachers. The quality content can be developed by expert content providers either in the form of a CD (Compact Disc), USB or through internet. A quality learning materials can be made available to all government schools in electronic form which shall make them at par with the private and international schools.
f) More efficient spread of learning and education can be undertaken at a low cost. The students of the rural and government schools are enabled to have more creative methods to access learning.
g) e- Learning can also lead to Up-gradation of teachers skill set.
There is a lot which can be achieved by the successful implementation of the e-Learning modules via the ICT and e-Education campaigns in the length and breadth of the country. The level of literacy of the country itself shall rise because the e-Learning can be possible in all Indian languages – Odia, Telugu and others besides English language. The migration of students towards towns and cities for studying can be reversed. Availability of quality education at their door steps shall result in the increased opportunities of learning and thereby earning. There shall be increased awareness and overall growth of skilled manpower in the country.
The author aims to take the education to all. Please visit www.indiachangefoundation.org to know more about him and send your comments and feed back at firstname.lastname@example.org.