Compelled to Contemplate and Improve

This is an attempt to see the role of technology in the field of education with a special focus on school education.

NewsBharati    21-Nov-2022 11:23:09 AM   
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Though our country has produced leading and towering experts in the field of IT, our education system in general was lagging behind in the area of making the best of it. The advent of Corona pushed the field of education hard into the Era of technology. It can be best described as we were condemned to enter into it. Barring some initial hesitation almost all were obliged to learn and use the technology. Now students, parents, teachers and the entire system is not only using the technology but have experienced the advantages too. Of course, technology is no substitute to teachers, but it can improve learning experience to a great extent. It can help storing the data and analysing it to get a clear picture. This would help shaping policies and using it to help students and teachers to comprehend many aspects of student`s progress or the area where the child needs some help. Administration can also be made more effective to improve the system for keeping all the records related to the student of the points like attendance, fees etc. The data related to the entire staff with the required details can also be stored and used for may administrative functions. Here are some points where use of technology would help teachers, students and parents alike to a great extent.

school education and technology india 

The role of smart interactive system and platform in remote and rural areas Though there is and will always be many challenges in the education as a system and as institution, it is in a better shape to a great extent in the urban areas. But rural areas face lot more problems right from infrastructure to availability of quality human resources. Infrastructure still can be built but making good teachers available for making the whole exercise meaningful is really a significant problem which needs to be concentrated if the system has to contribute to building strong human infrastructure for the nation. Technology can help in connecting students with teachers using effective interactive platform which would give some respite for the time being till the system of teacher`s training evolves and reaches our smallest of villages. With smart interactive systems installed in the schools our rural students can have the expected support of expert teachers with effective communication skills. Now the location should not be a barrier.

They can be employed in the area where they are available and engage classes. These teachers can conduct sessions for the students regularly. They can deal with a limited number of students as if they are teaching in a class. May be if more than one school have to be allotted to one teacher. As the sessions are interactive students can interact, raise their concerns and get a satisfactory learning experience. The teachers at their locations can attend the sessions as a co-teacher and moderate the interactions further. Thus, the limitations of availability of teachers will not deter students from the remote areas and place them at the equal level with the rest. This programme can work effectively for all the classes and all the subjects. Gradually the co-teachers can be trained and they can help students independently.

No location and number barrier for the skills

Our new education policy emphasises on skill development and learning of Indian languages. There used to be some limitations on skill education as experts of many fields are not available in many areas of demand. But now, this will not discourage students from learning the skills of their choice. The modules may be developed by experts for the theory as well as practical aspects. Now students are very familiar with this mode of online guidance so they can
adapt to this new mode of learning without extra efforts. Even the exams may be conducted online, projects may be submitted and assessed online. The number of students applying for a course was a problem in making the course viable, now online modules would be accessed by the aspiring students from any location. The contents of the module can be designed by experts, small videos can be developed to cover the practical aspects, hence enhancing quality of training would be possible.

On-line language modules for all

The choice of learning different Indian languages may also be given to students. With the changing scenario people easily migrate to other states in search of better opportunities. Their children cannot remain connected to their respective mother tongues. If language modules are prepared at the state or national levels, these students can enjoy the connect to their languages, culture and literature too. They can move anywhere in our country with their parents.
Qualified people who migrate to different Indian states also feel the need to be well versed in the local language to be able to establish basic communication. Even they can take advantage of such modules. Those who go out of India for employment have such facility to learn the local language. Our education system has to encourage learning any other Indian language of their preference. Silently it works for national integration too. Our education policy may facilitate learning languages of North Eastern states as probably our work in North East may attract citizens from all over the nation to work. The belongingness increases with the natural communication.

Meaningful continuous training for teachers

Continuous training too is the need of the present time. New concepts and change in the content are an inevitable aspect of education in these times of change at an unimaginable pace. This can be easily achieved by developing online modules for the new concepts or for the practice sessions. Small programmes may be developed at the state or the national level. Completion of these programmes may be made mandatory for all the teachers as per their roles. This may even be connected to the yearly increments. The quality of teaching and learning will improve as a result. This most essential feature of the education system which is not really paid attention to seriously.

Small programmes to assess understanding and access to advanced modules Even such small programmes may be developed for students to test their knowledge and indirectly it will assess the quality of teaching to an extent. These modules will equip students with accurate knowledge as the programmes will be such that till the correct answer is selected the next question will not be presented. The time spent to complete the test will assess the understanding of students. Some help may be given to them in the form of some detailed session on the same unit. Some kind of advanced sessions and programmes can be attempted by students who have special interest in the topic.

It can earn them some additional credits. This will probably help to identify some students with special ability in some area who may be nurtured. The same interactive systems may be used to boost the learning experience in a different way Active role of professionals in making theory base strong and help children see the concepts being implemented.

A session by a mode of transport expert and a structural engineer was conducted in a school for 8th to 10th students on the project of metro in a reputed school from pune. Students surprised us all by their unwavering attention and curiosity. They wanted the experts to explain so many things. Asked meaningful questions, kept the session going for more than 2 hours. All could see the project being implemented and wanted to know all about it. The same was the response to a session by a physiotherapist on the concepts used in exercise and fitness. There was a pin drop silence and all were absorbed in the interaction.

Teachers were surprised to find they had no role to discipline the students, for the first time they too could pay attention to the session. this experiment succeeded. professionals who are use the concepts explained at the theoretical at the school level as building blocks of the subjects can help students to see the implementation of the abstract concepts. This would enhance their grasp and interest.

Similarly, as an experiment a structural engineer was requested to explain some concepts of trigonometry. He explained them using concrete examples from his field which students could visualise and understand the concepts with its actual application. Such theoretical concepts are difficult to understand in an abstract way. The reaction was even teachers found it easier to visualise the complex ideas, even they didn’t have the exposure to such area of application.

The same was the experience with a session by a young architect. Many professionals would like to interact with students in such way and share their knowledge to make theoretical base more interesting. Eventually sessions may be organised for teachers to enhance the quality of education. This can be done for all the subjects at all the levels. Even professionals may be requested to be a part of evaluation too. Some may be interested to work for school children.

Our aided schools should be provided with such systems and such platforms. A pool of experts and professionals to be created. Either the state government or some agency may be given the responsibility in this area. Library of such sessions and learning aids based on the concepts may be thought of. It should be made available to all the students and teachers. Of course, unaided schools too will have to build such infrastructure for the students. They too can use the facility of such systems.

Technology in school administration

Many state governments are using technology in administration too. Salary bills are submitted online in many states, data related to many areas is sent online but increments are not automatically calculated in spite of all the relevant information being available with the administration at the state level. Nor is it used for internal promotions to be approved at the government level. A number of times records are to be submitted in hard copy form lost, misplaced and the delay in payments or decisions is the result of it. Thus enters the component of personal favour. Then creeps in some sort of unethical practices. All the record can be maintained and submitted to the government at a click. The necessary documents can be uploaded and permission may be granted. The administration can be made faceless as is the case in tax assessment. All the issues related to seniority roaster, mandatory reservations and other points related to it may be made easy with the technical support and solutions. This can improve the efficiency of the education too. Too much of interference has clouded the reputation of the education system.

Connecting work skills to knowledge base

Traditional degrees like BA, B Com, B SC offer theoretical knowledge base. But the job market and the need of entrepreneurship needs so many skills that may be described as top up skills to become employable. There are many roles required by the job market for which the traditional degrees don't equip students. But parents are not aware of the fact. These need to introduced in the form of small modules to all the graduates. They are to be made part of the degree course. Without completing them degree may not be conferred. A systematic approach is needed.

Connect with our treasure for enrichment

Professional autonomous institutions offer some modules which work as stress busters or they get to introduced to Indian art, craft etc. Credits are allotted to them. Our wonderful treasure of waves should be explored by them. Even weaving, or charkha needs to be a part of this. Students will get good exposure to the treasure of our culture and may be many inputs can be expected from them. Thus, one should be free to learn anything of one's own interest. Even after a degree one has to be able to get knowledge of the field of one's choice. The knowledge and some certification in the field of psychology is one of the best examples. There is hardly any system to help professionals to acquire good knowledge required to support their need.

There is no dearth of experts and competent and intelligent minds in India. Once the decisions supported by the strong will works it can acquire any feat. Education has always been a strong point of our country in spite of many limitations. If we can turn the pandemic into an opportunity to overhaul and change our system. This disruption and an unexpected long road block will be remembered as pivotal moment.


Prof. Vidya Deshpande

Professor Vidya Deshpande has had a journey of more than four decades in the field of education. Her  main expertise is in the subject of Philosophy,  and she has worked as a teacher of philosophy and logic with Nowrosjee Wadia college for 36 years. She has been associated with the Janakalyan Blood bank for last for 38 years and has also carried out the responsibility as a management committee member of Karve Stree Shikshan Sanstha for 10 years. Her special fields of interest are Philosophy of social sciences, school education, development of skills for self reliance,  and top up skills to make students profession ready,