The Future of Education in India
To understand the future of Indian education, we must first understand its present status. Home to the world’s largest population between the age groups of 15 to 24 years, India is in a truly unique position to revolutionize its education system. There is a significant supply-demand gap for education in the country that needs to be innovatively optimised. That’s not all, India’s English-speaking population has exploded, with the country ranking in at 34 out of 100 during a recent EF English Proficiency Index in 2019.
Investments – Recent Developments
As of 2017, the Indian Government has sanctioned 100% FDI automatically to the country’s education sector. The FDI contribution to the Indian Education Sector was roughly US$ 2.47 billion from April 2000 to March 2019, based on the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). Private Equity and VC funding for education companies has also skyrocketed to nearly $ 500 million in 2019. Education 4.0 marks the digital transformation of learning initiated by the emergence of Industry 4.0 and involves tech-led solutions like AR-VR, AI to create a more personalized, accessible and agile learning experience.
Education sector challenges
1. Gap between Syllabus and Market Situation:
As per IBEF’s 2019 survey, India is the second largest STEM graduate producer with 2.6 million, only trailing China. However, it is believed only 47% of this talent pool is hireable.
2. Lack of funding alternatives:
Numbers also show that public funding for higher education has dropped significantly. The Draft National Education Policy (NEP) 2019 will attempt to raise public funding in education to 6% GDP.
3. India struggles to educate and employ its growing population:
27% of the country’s youth are excluded from education, employment or training
4. India lacks the capacity to achieve enrolment ratios anywhere close to those of other middle-income economies.
5. Increased migration of workers and students from India.
1. Personalized Learning:
This involves curated learning experiences to cater to each individuals’ skills and learning abilities. Personalization will help empower students by creating that modules that play to students’ strengths as well as identifying and rectifying their weaknesses.
2. Integrated Learning:
This approach motivates institutions and teaching faculty to combine skills through academic modules and present a unique, international viewpoint for learners to incorporate in the world.
3. Collaborative Learning:
This involves creating an interactive, fun environment where children can collaborate with their classmates and teachers on project work and problem solving. It aims to improve teamwork and growth-mindset in the classroom.
4. Technology as an Enabler:
Technology is increasingly serving as the key enabler in transforming education. It helps create immersive, personalized, accessible and innovative learning experiences that are universally accessible. It breaks cultural and social boundaries.
5. Education Franchising:
With an increased desire for quality education, private players are constantly searching for franchising opportunities. This will improve the overall education standard and allow smaller institutions to compete with the more established ones.
Technology Bridging the Education Gap
1. Upgrading Education Ecosystem:
Even with technology revolutionizing the education space, majority of Indian classrooms still tend to incorporate archaic learning ecosystems. Technology enables the creation of connected classrooms, personalized learning experiences through AR-VR solutions, online learning portals and creating world-class school/university ecosystems
2. Bridging Wealth and Cultural Disparity:
Wealth and cultural disparities are still stumbling blocks to ensuring education for all Indians. However, technology can level the playing feel and connect rural India with the rest of the world, by offering relevant courses and platforms at reasonable costs or for free. Online channels like MOOCs, Swayam, etc. have been revolutionary for Indian students.
3. Widening the Influence of Education:
A major concern for the Indian education system is the lack of lasting impact it tends to leave on students. Existing curriculums and lack of quality teaching faculty are to blame. As per a 2019 survey 38.07% of 8th grade children couldn’t count till 99 in Maharashtra. Technology like Gamification and Adaptive Learning Platforms promote experiential learning, which may be more impactful.
4. Revolutionizing Teaching Methods:
Indian teachers desperately need to upskill and adapt to the evolution of technology on the modern education system. Technology helps track data and analysis of each student, providing relevant and constant insights into their strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, creating collaborative and digitized learning environments will create for a more holistic experience.
The Fight Against COVID-19:
As per a new UNESCO report, more than 290 million students across 13 countries have been affected by recent COVID-19 pandemic. Thankfully, a number of online learning platforms and distance learning solutions have come to the rescue to contain and reduce the impact. This includes digitized LMS’, platforms with strong offline functionality, mobile applications, live video classes, collaboration platforms etc. India itself is home to 250 million students. In order tackle the crisis the country’s unicorn EduTech startup recently announced that its app and selected content will be made accessible to all K-12 Indians students until April end. This will in include preparation for JEE, NEET, CAT and IAS examinations as well. Other than startups, this pandemic is presenting an opportunity for tech companies like Apple (FT), Google (Google Classroom) and Microsoft (MS Teams) to help with the temporary transition to online learning for global educational institutions. This includes webinars, sharing modules which promote collaborative learning and learning on-the-go. However, this may not be feasible, especially for India, which has the highest internet shutdowns across the globe. Issues like wealth disparity, lack of infrastructure and regional languages mean that transitioning to a purely online system is still a work in progress.
The future of learning in India looks increasingly connected and digital. Emerging trends like Skill-centric education, Edutainment, Learning on-the-go will have continued widespread implementation and adoption. MOOC’s, Big Data, Social Media, AR-VR are just some tech-led solutions powering the Education 4.0 revolution in India. Technology will continue serving as an enabler connecting students across economic and cultural boundaries, improving infrastructure as well as upskilling teachers and institutions. One thing is for certain, technology will pave the way for the future of learning in India.