Tuesday, 31 March 2015

#DigitalIndia for a more 'intelligent' education system.

We all grew up studying in an educational ecosystem that was touted as pretty comprehensive and replete. After constant improvements over time in the way different boards created the content, disseminated the knowledge and the carried out the assessment, India finally had, maybe for the first time, a partially robust education system that was here to stay. Moreover, with time the efforts of the government and various not for profit organizations has brought more and more children under the ambit of primary education, thereby heralding an era of ubiquitous education which is so pivotal for the future generations to succeed. While our system as a whole is progressive, adaptable and not comprising of Luddites who resist change, there is still quite some scope for the education policy makers to embrace modern technology, thereby catapulting the progress towards this universal millennium goal to a whole new level. This is where technology behemoths like Intel can collaborate with various authorities in ushering this much needed revolution in education. It's about time that the untrammeled wave of #DigitalIndia transcends the boundaries of this realm as well. 

One of the most exasperating things that most of us have witnessed during our own educational pursuits are these long and unnerving queues. Go to a school for admission, and your parents have to stand in queues for hours to get to the counters and get something as basic as a form. Before that, apply for a transfer certificate from the current school, which again puts the application on a queue with many others. Move to a college and you need to join the queues to get forms, make payments, get documents verified and for almost every step in the process, you're compelled to stand in a queue. In short, you and your parents end up spending a substantial amount of time and energy in swerving from one queue to the other, just to gander at another queue, till the point of time you get into a habit of literally inhabiting in queues. 

Source - India Today 

While our education system can't be seen as an avant garde for adoption of technology, it is pretty rife for inculcation of mechanisms and systems which can substantially improve the current systems by felicitating various processes. Just imagine a system where every student's entire record is maintained in a central database, owned and operated by some central competent authority, where all information pertinent to his/her academic performance and assessments is maintained against a unique identification, say their Aadhar Id. In that case, with access to the central information provided to any requesting authority, any new schools or educational institutions can simply ask for a verification request citing this student's unique Id, and they'll get a complete picture of his overall performance and that too throughout his tutelage. And all of this shall happen without anyone having to go through the reams of paperwork and without anyone have to stand in those stultifying queues for hours. For new admissions to colleges students now just have to make payments and the colleges can access anything from marks in any qualifying examinations, to even extracurricular achievements that could be logged into the system. Moreover, as more and more people get access to Internet and Internet banking, most of the applications too could be moved online. Hence everything from applying to payments to subsequent evaluation can now be carried online, and queues shall vanish in thin air. Poof! 

Taking the first set of initiatives forward, and extrapolating it across all educational and other institutions, the resumes of candidates will later on become redundant. Consider another situation where every bit of academic performance is already logged into the system. Now if the system is extended to include any co-curricular or extra curricular achievements, once again logged after verification through any organizing bodies like Olympiads or school committees etc, then there wouldn't be anything that the record of a student shall not have. Hence any greenhorns right out of the campus can now be scrutinized purely on the basis of their thorough records. Now no resumes are to be mailed or sent, and no one needs to carry a bulky folder holding all the documents and certificates together, because all of that has been verified already. Finally, extend this further  to the corporate entities. Just imagine if they too could simply append an employee's performance and appraisal records(Organizations like NASSCOM already do this) to their overall academic records, and any company looking for any kind of candidate now requires access to one single file to find out anything about the candidate, in and out. Further, a candidate himself/herself could be provided limited access to their own profile, wherein they can add information pertinent to their interests, hobbies and projects worked on, and now the resumes too shall vanish in thin air. Poof again! 

Source - TweakYourBiz

Finally, there is a lot of information which educational boards and content creators have got access to. These are what form a part of the bibliography and reference section of various textbooks, which despite various students having an ardent urge to go and read about, are something that remains inaccessible largely. It's about time these authorities could create large repositories of all the available material which they own the rights for, and to put that online. It is believed that the amount of content in a textbook titillates the curiosity and the grey matter of a child's brain, but most of the follow up reading is something that the textbook alone cannot provide for. It is here that these colossal knowledge databases could be made and could be provided access to, for free or a nominal cost charged from schools themselves. With an increasing number of students now preferring online learning as opposed to the more banal and trite book based learning, use of multimedia and interactive modes of teaching could further accentuate the potential of this paradigm. Now hours and hours of searching for the right books and content would also vanish in thin air. Poof, yet again!

Source - ITU INTL. 

In short, we just need to imbibe technology in various ways in our current system and the benefits at avail could be pretty enormous. Education has always remained a fascinating domain where technology has been used to good effect with innovation in teaching to improve the overall quality and standards. It is about time that India took another giant leap to completely transform its current system into one that will be both contemporary and consistent, and one that'll go a long way in making sure that every party stands to benefit. It is about time that the #DigitalIndia wave ameliorates our current education system of all its drawbacks and makes it accessible, affordable and convenient. 

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