December 8, 2023

 Syllabus: General Studies paper 1 (Education)


India’s school education landscape was facing an acute learning crisis, even before the covid-19 pandemic.

  • One in two children lack basic reading proficiency at the age of 10.
  • The pandemic threatens to exacerbate this crisis, especially because of the physical closure of 15.5 lakh schools that has affected more than 248 million students for over a year

Technology and educations:

  • Growth potential: the indian ed-tech ecosystem has a lot of potential for innovation. With over 4,500 start-ups and a current valuation of around $700 million, the market is geared for exponential growth. Estimates project an astounding market size of $30 billion in the next 10 years.
  • Technology is a tool, and not a panacea: technology cannot substitute schools or replace teachers. It’s not “teachers versus technology”. In fact, tech solutions are impactful only when embraced and effectively leveraged by teachers.
  • Technology must be in service of the learning model. There is a danger in providing digital infrastructure without a plan on how it’s to be deployed or what teaching-learning approaches it would support.

Need for technology in education:

  • Learning crisis:as traditional brick-and-mortar service delivery models are being disrupted across sectors, the pandemic offers a critical, yet stark, reminder of the impending need to weave technology into education.
  • Fourth industrial revolution: the imperative now is to reimagine education and align it with the unprecedented technological transformation.
  • Conditional on good learning design, technology holds promise and has incredible potential in enabling greater personalisation of educationand enhancing educational productivity by improving rates of learning, reducing costs of instructional material and service delivery at scale, as well as better utilisation of teacher/instructor time.

Government initiatives:

  • India’s new national education policy (nep) 2020envisions the establishment of an autonomous body, the national education technology forum (netf), to spearhead efforts towards providing a strategic thrust to the deployment and use of technology.
  • Digital india
  • Digital infrastructure for school education (diksha),
  • Open-source learning platform and udise+
    • Udise is a database about schoolsin india, which was developed at the national university for educational planning and administration.
    • It records information such as the level of dropouts, the condition of school toilets etc.
    • Under udise, the pupil-teacher ratioat national level should be 23:1 for primary, 17:1 for upper primary, and 27:1 for secondary schools.
    • Udise+ is an updated and improved version of udise.
  • Grassroots innovationlike the hamara vidhyalaya in namsai district, arunachal pradesh, is fostering tech-based performance assessments;
    • Uttarakhand’s community radio is promoting early reading through bite-size broadcasts;
    • Kerala’s aksharavriksham initiative is focusing on digital “edutainment” to support learning and skill development via games and activities.

There is increasing access to tech-based infrastructure, electricity, and affordable internet connectivity.

Way forward:

  • A comprehensive ed-tech policy architecturemust focus on four key elements —
    • Providing access to learning, especially to disadvantaged groups;
    • Enabling processes of teaching, learning, and evaluation;
    • Facilitating teacher training and continuous professional development;
    • Improving governance systems including planning, management, and monitoring processes.
  • In the immediate term, there must be a mechanism to thoroughly map the ed-tech landscape,especially their scale, reach, and impact.
    • The focus should be on access, equity, infrastructure, governance, and quality-related outcomesand challenges for teachers and students.
  • In the short to medium-term,the policy formulation and planning process must strive to enable convergence across schemes (education, skills, digital governance, and finance), foster integration of solutions through public-private partnerships, factor in voices of all stakeholders, and bolster cooperative federalism across all levels of government.
    • Here, lessons may be drawn from the government of india’s aspirational districts programmeon tech-enabled monitoring and implementation that emphasises citizen engagement, partnerships and effective service delivery.
    • Special attention must be paid to address the digital divide at two levels— access and skills to effectively use technology and leverage its benefits.
  • Thematic areas of the policy should feature
    • Infrastructure and connectivity;
    • High-quality, relevant, proven software and content; and
    • Rigorous global standards for outcome-based evaluation, real-time assessments, and systems monitoring.
  • In the longer term, a repository of the best-in-class technology solutions, good practices and lessons from successful implementation must be curated.
    • The niti aayog’s india knowledge huband the ministry of education’s diksha and shagun platforms can facilitate and amplify such learning.



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