India is the largest democracy with remarkable diversity among its population of 1.2 billion which makes up about 17% of the world’s population. Almost 70% of Indian population is rural. The adult literacy rate stands at about 60% and this is significantly lower in women and minorities. Education in India comprises of government, government aided and private institutions of which nearly 40% are government. With the population growth rate of 1.5%, there is tremendous pressure on the education system to provide quality education at affordable price and improve the literacy rate.
Education in India faces following primary challenges:
Maintaining standard of education in more than a million schools nationwide, offering training programs to teachers, and keeping good balance with education system worldwide is a big challenge. Schools vary in size and resources and are forced compromise in the all round development opportunities they must provide to students.
Having infrastructural constraints and social issues, it becomes harder to make education accessible to all segments of the society (women, minorities, poor).
The cost of education is very high even for the people and places where it is accessible. E.g. the competitive pressure on students & parents forces them to opt for private tuitions & trainings to supplement the school education.
Social & Cultural
The ethnic diversity in India poses challenges to implement consistent education nationwide. There are more than 300 languages spoken in the country and makes it difficult to offer education tailored to specific social segment. Educating women in some societies is a big issue. Children of poor families are forced to work and miss out the learning opportunities. Illiterate adults have very limited opportunities to get educated at later age in their lives.
Online Education System’s Advantages
An educational system augmented by online components presents unique opportunity to solve multitude of challenges in quick time at affordable budget. Here is an overview of advantages of an online system.
Improve Quality of Education
- Computer aided adaptive testing
- Encourage collaboration among students, teachers, parents, alumni, activists & institutions
- A consistent grading system to measure and rank Students, Teachers, Schools & Universities
- Reward all round development of students
- Promote alternate education & ideas
- Continuous improvement by statistical feedback
- Online & open information portal accessible anytime from anywhere to everyone
- Bring the books & other resource (videos of lectures, speakers) online
- Promote distant learning initiatives to spread the education in rural areas
- Provide online courses to students with special needs.
- 24×7 schooling for those who cannot attend regular schools during daytime
Reduce the cost of education
- Services at lower cost via online solutions
- Encourage “learn yourself” and “community learning” via online system, promote volunteers by providing common infrastructure at lower price
- Tools for teachers, schools & exam boards to offer courses and conduct examinations & assessment
- Measurement of returns and guidance on future spending
- Online system creates anytime, anywhere engagement model
- Online Learning from home opens the doors for girls to get education if social & cultural reasons are preventing them.
- Promote vocational courses and self paced learning for adults
- Bring culturally diverse India on a common learning platform which is offered in all languages
Challenges in implementing Online System
- Planning and implementation experience
- Short term cost overheads (online & offline must run in parallel)
- Electricity & Communication infrastructure
- Social issues (to some extent)
- Logistical challenges like training of educators & students
- Technology constraints