UTILIZING THE POWER OF TECHNOLOGY FOR QUALITY EDUCATION
Quality education is one such idea and principle that has gained traction in the past years, its recognition across the globe has exponentially increased with countries focusing on providing quality education through policy implementation or generating awareness. The United Nations dedicated a unique goal targeting education in SDG 4 which states ‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning.’At the same time, it is clear that it is now the era of technology with an estimated value of 4.88 billion internet users worldwide indicating that its penetration is rapid. Taking into account the focus on quality education and technology, it is not novel to think of the two going hand in hand to further the fight to achieve quality education globally.
Before delving into some solutions and analysing the current scenario it is the definition of quality that needs to be defined whilst referring to 'quality education. Quality is a derivative of the Latin phrase 'qua Litas' which means 'of what kind'. This forms the basis of the argument that the very definition of quality is subjective and impressionistic. Does being literate or fluent in a single language with basic knowledge of accepted universal numeracy fit the definition of quality education? It is not desirable to limit this definition of quality education as its ambit is much wider. Even vocational education comes under the ambit of the word 'education'. Therefore, moving forward with this wider concept in mind this article attempts to explore, analyse, and suggest a few measures to achieve quality education and how coupling it with technology can be the means to achieve this goal.
WHY IS TECHNOLOGY COUPLED WITH EDUCATIONTHE WAY FORWARD?
Indeed, economic status, the vicious generational cycle, difference in class and poverty are all factors that are responsible for the divide in the educational status of the hoi polloi. This difference is responsible for the ever-widening gap in the quality of education received by the populace too. This is where technology can be pitched in to create a level playing field by utilizing its wide reach to make resources universally available. One possible solution could be using OER’s (Open Educational Resources) that will ensure that material and digital learning resources are available in the public domain under an open license that in accordance with Intellectual Property Right laws allows adaptation, redistribution, and no-cost access. This comes under the ambit of Open Solutions and OA (Open Access).In India's context, she has the world's second-largest population on the internet with a whopping 560 million internet users which is statistically a large number of users online to bring EdTech into the limelight. Since it is not feasible to assume that all own a digital device, it is prudent to go back to the basics. In the 1950s the radio was widely used as an educational tool and the term was coined as school broadcasting. Similarly, using the television or even broadcasting educational content or the creation of radio schools for children or interested learners on a wide scale has paramount benefits and enables a wider reach.
Since there are a few solutions to the wider reach of resources and content, it is important to note that it is not enough to achieve the ultimate end goal of providing quality education to all. A part of the process is to get students and the pool of potential learners interested. It was once said by Abigail Adams that “Learning is not attained by chance; it must be sought for with ardour and attended to with diligence”. Once that interest is developed and the feeling of hopelessness dissipates, quality is inevitable. An innovative recommendation could be to use content creation for educational purposes. The presentation and delivery of the resources and content can make all the difference to move a step forward and achieve this goal.
The question that arises here is who will take up this responsibility? Apart from government efforts and policies what can we as good Samaritans contribute? Subject matter experts (SME’s) for example can contribute by designing digital courses specifically for open-source databases. Using social media platforms to endorse such content as public support can bring such content into the main domain. Another step could be redesigning the curriculum to include EdTech as it is flexible and can pertain to the needs of every child. What we need is not a complex structural change in the existing education system but an addition to the structure with simple, modern tech solutions to move towards primarily increasing access to education and then shifting the focus to its quality.
In the short term, working on existing initiatives and improvising to move towards the introduction of digitizing education is a viable option. Every student in India has the fundamental right to quality education , to its access and fearlessly learn and feel valued irrespective of their background or where they come from. A few initiatives like the recent enactment of NEP 2020 to further the fight towards quality education can incorporate technology and structure it to produce future gains. Another example would be to introduce digitization in government schools by coupling it with schemes such as Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Nishtha training programmes or spreading awareness through Vidyanjali 2.0. Such volunteer programs and professionals from the tech field, educational field, government support, volunteer support and proper logistical management can do wonders and bring us a step closer to the global dream of attaining quality education for all.
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3. Ritambhara Singh and Mihir Rajamane, 'India can't keep citing the pandemic to deprive children of education (The Wire, 12 Aug 2021) <https://thewire.in/education/india-cant-keep-citing-the-pandemic-to-deprive-children-of-education>accessed 29 October 2021
4. Sandhya Keeley, 'Internet usage in India- statistics & facts' (Statista, 2 August 2021) <https://www.statista.com/topics/2157/internet-usage-in-india/>accessed 30 October 2021
About the author:
1st year BA LLB
Research intern ,
the Stambh organization, India