Technology Is Changing Education Landscape — Why India Needs An EdTech Policy At The Earliest

The advancement in technology has brought everything to our fingertips, be it shopping, food delivery, or education. The ‘one size fits all’ traditional mode of education has been taken over by the new tech-backed education that is more accessible, approachable and affordable to students. According to a study by Statista, the value of the education technology sector in India was over 750 million dollars in 2020, and by 2025, it is expected to grow dramatically to more than $4 billion. Especially after the Covid-19 pandemic hit, restricting students to their homes as educational institutions suspended physical classes for long periods, and creating a learning gap, digital learning came to the rescue.

Education technology brought into being various virtual and hybrid learning solutions, which enabled students to access education from their own comfort. In fact, education technology not only proved to be beneficial for students but for educators as well. It allowed the teachers to provide better media-backed learning material to the students, which in turn assisted their understanding and enabled them to evaluate the growth of each student and provide personal attention accordingly, resulting in a win-win situation for both parties.

What Is Education Technology? 

Education technology is the discipline of integrating information and communication technology innovations into the classroom to create more interactive, inclusive, and individualized learning experiences. According to a report by McKinsey, students who had access to enough technology in their classrooms performed better than those who did not.

Gone are the days of traditional classroom setup where student participation was a bare minimum. The proliferation of edtech instruments such as digital robots, virtual reality lectures and game-based classroom activities have changed the idea of the classroom and learning landscape for students. In fact, these edtech tools have made it easier for students to access education and learn at their own pace.

In addition, machine learning and blockchain tools have also made it simpler for teachers to keep a tap on each student and prepare individualised lesson plans and learning experiences that foster a sense of inclusivity and boost their learning capabilities. In fact, as per a study by IBEF, the adoption of cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, augmented and virtual reality won’t replace educators in the classroom; rather, it will provide them with useful tools and resources to facilitate effective in-class learning.

EdTech Policy: Need Of The Hour

Covid-19 pandemic took a toll on every sector of the industry, and education was no exception. Due to the closure of schools, students were unable to access education, resulting in a huge learning gap. In light of these emerging challenges, the need for an education technology policy was realised.

Only one in four Indian students, according to industry experts, have access to digital learning, which limits their avenues for accessing education. Apart from that, traditional education methods lack creative and innovative learning, which restricts students from exploring and discovering their best abilities. Also, with conventional education, personalised attention and student participation have always been a concern, which again does not allow students to capture an in-depth understanding of the concepts. All of this calls for a dire need for an edtech policy in order to provide better learning experiences to the students to enhance their understanding using tech-backed tools to make them more industry-ready.

The National Education Policy 2020 was introduced by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development seeks to encourage the growth of the edtech industry as it calls for the creation of a National Education Technology Forum. To prepare students for a tech-driven industry, the forum intends to combine the extensive use of technology by educational institutions. There is no denying the fact that this will make students more technology-oriented, but there still is a need for a more specific edtech policy to make the entire learning landscape more tech-centric and prepare students for the future digital industry demands.

The Road Ahead

Education technology refers to information and technology tools infused into education and learning methods in order to build more engaging, inclusive and personalised learning experiences for students. The conventional classroom setup holds no value, with education technology coming into the picture. In fact, as the need for remote learning persists to be driven up by the post-pandemic situation, there is a growing demand among parents and students for digital learning solutions. As a result, an edtech policy is required to give students access to a more approachable education and to provide them with the digital skills necessary for careers in the 21st century.

(The author is Vice-Chancellor, KL Deemed to be University.)

[Disclaimer: The opinions, beliefs, and views expressed by the various authors and forum participants on this website are personal.]

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