Digital India Initiatve and its impact on Education
The influence of advanced technology can never be ignored or avoided. India has a population of 1.3 billion and the percentage of people using technology has increased manifolds in the past decade. A total of about 140 million people in India use mobile phones and the country accounts to be the second most popular country in terms of using social networking sites. This shows that India has an enormous opportunity to grow in the technological field and to enhance itself in various sections such as education, defence, medicine, business and a lot more.
Considering the same, the digital India initiative, by our honourable Prime Minister, is a promising venture in order to use technology to enhance our education system and improve the huge crisis that our nation is facing these days. It is a program which focuses on bridging up the gap of illiteracy in India by delivering quality education through a digitalised platform accessible by children and teachers. It provides an opportunity to access information from all around the globe, reachability to teachers and breaking hindrances to gain education from all resources possible. Different schemes introduced under the Digital India campaign are – Digishala, Digital e-book, E-basta, and more with an envisage of a better and a more educated country. This is an initiative to creative a knowledge based society in India.
Furthermore, 11 lakh Balwadis in India are being planned to be changed into Nand Ghar where Anganwadi trainers and educators will be instructed to use digital equipments such as smartphones and mobile apps as teaching tools.
Another aspect of establishing Digital India is to improve the attendance of students in schools. More than half a million children in India aged between 0 and 8 years do not have admittance to quality education. According to the survey held by Custom Data Tables, ASER and Census of India, almost 20% children aged between 6 and 8 years are unable to read letters or identify numbers. To remove this problem from its roots, Sesame Workshop through its campaign “Galli Galli Sim Sim” uses the influence of media to help children learn the basic academic skills for the development of their personality.
Along with the support of Qualcomm Wireless Reach, Sesame Workshop is trying to overcome the educational barrier in India by providing more engaging content and improvising the curriculum by introducing games on digital devices. The research on the same showed that students in class 1 and 2 who had access to these digital games showed better results in their language, comprehension and number skills as compared to others. These games also helped in increasing the attendance of students in schools, also making teachers much more familiar with technology as teaching paraphernalia.
India also faces a huge challenge as the teachers here lack adequate training and education. Only 32% of government school teachers have received service training and this number is very small and insignificant for a country having its population in billions. Although teachers of private institutions are well trained, but only a total of 44% students go to such schools. Technology would help teachers to educate themselves by creating competency linked training programmes and receive training from experts distantly.
Teachers receive a minimal amount of training when it comes to technology but with the advancement of Digital India campaign, there are signs of improving education system and adaptation of technology. The Karnataka Open Educational Resources is a great platform which enables teachers to create content digitally. Also, government teachers in Maharastra, Uttarakhand and Gujarat make use of WhatsApp in order to share information.
With the government’s enforcement of Digital India on the education system of our country, the environment that is needed is no more a distant reality. The youth of India is technology driven and getting trained online is always profitable as it saves a lot of cost and time.
While implementing the same, it must be ensured that the schools in India have appropriate hardware and content for its students. The usage of smartphones in India has increased by 55% and so there lies a great opportunity in using it as a boon in order to improve the education system of our country. Other than this, investments need to be made in order to train teachers for effective and efficient use of technology.
The government can establish a sovereign organization, just as the National Skill Development Corporation, to persuade modernization, novelty and develop the environment for digital culture solutions. This independent organization can be well staffed with talent from the private segments and must these operators to create such beneficial platforms.
Digital India accounts to be one of the most thoughtful and striving projects launched by the Indian government. Although there have been many such ambitious projects launched, but the positivity around Digital India makes it unique in its own manner. At almost every other discussion or meet, there has been an agreement on more number of participants for the campaign from various industries. The technology based companies need to take the lead and help to construct a stronger and more effective education system under the Digital India endeavour.
At the end, it can only be hoped that this campaign is not mistaken by the mistakes of the past and is approached with a visualization and obligation to adopt a widespread approach to use technology in order to improve and facilitate the education of the nation’s children.