Monday, April 5, 2010

New Generation Technology paves the way forward to make dream of Education for All a Reality

Children, as all of us would agree, are a precious lot and Future of any nation. While developing world today can leapfrog to development and aspires to emerge as front-runner among the knowledge-based societies, to achieve this goal it is then very important to ascertain that the right kind of education is imparted to them. 

In the new millennium, knowledge will dominate. New technologies acquired through knowledge will play a key role to improve human life, especially in the developing part of the world. As the world economy is undergoing the transition stage, the significance of the developing nations is rising as they have become the major growth drivers. While these economies embark on the growth path, there are several challenges on socio-economic front acting as barriers to development. Education is a key potential growth disrupter and a grave challenge being faced by all the emerging countries.

Although the governments in these countries are making impressive budgetary allocations for education expenditure, the reach (access) and quality of education still remain one of the major bottlenecks. While the lack of access reduces the input (students) to the formal education system, lack of quality leads to substandard output produced by the education system. As graduates (small percentage of total population) produced by the education systems do not fulfill the industry purpose, the economy bears the cost in terms of lack of employable people. These concerns are more often than not expressed in the Indian situation as well. While the country is home to a large number of engineering, medical and management schools, the industry by large suffers from the ‘lack of skilled manpower’.

Current scenario of the way in which education is delivered in developing societies, whether primary or higher education is found to face geographical confinements and not to forget scarcity of quality teachers. In most of the developing countries, especially countries with large geographical footprint, biggest challenge is limited access to education. It is very difficult and economically unviable to have a fully equipped and well served school in each village. As these villages are at a substantial distances and lack transportation infrastructure the current practice of one school for a group of villages is not effective. Further (both in case of urban and rural areas) very low pupil/teacher ratio (40.2% for primary and 32.7% for secondary education) hence poor attention of teachers, lack of Science laboratory or other educational tools, under-qualified and under-trained teachers, no education help at home (as many students are first generation learners) make it very difficult for students to pass the final year of the high school (10th grade).

The average result for the last few years has been less then 50%. The majority fail in Science and Mathematics. Poor education leads to high drop-outs and low pass rate which means that small percentage of total population are able to enter higher education (13% reach college) and even smaller percentage (less than 3%)  are able to make it to professional courses.

New emerging technologies and concepts like e & m Education will lead to new methodologies which will enhance the spread of education. Education in the 21st Century is currently facing three fundamental challenges
  • Media Convergence
  • Participatory Culture
  • Collective Intelligence
In today's scenario the role of technology in our classrooms is to support the new teaching paradigm, facilitate teachers and support students teaching themselves.

Such innovations will leverage technology to not only eliminate inherent constraints in remote areas but also redefine the way education is delivered in urban areas through classical class-room approach. Thus, the benefits of latest communication revolution in providing education and training of desirable quality will change the way education is delivered in urban as well as rural areas.
Technology is a solution which can:
  • Remove Geographical Constraints in education
  • Tackle Vital Issue of Scarcity of Quality Teachers & Faculty
  • Make Education interesting and interactive for students
  • Implemented Cost effectively

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