Digital technology in education sector

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Digital technology in education sector

Tuesday, 30 May 2023 | Rajesh Kumar Singh

Digital technology in education sector

Quality education can be imparted with digital ecosystem and better resource allocation

The role of digital technology in education is increasingly becoming crucial globally, as it provides new and innovative forms of support to students, teachers, parents, and the learning process more broadly. The Covid pandemic has made this process much faster, relevant and robust. By deploying remote learning technologies through a combination of TV, radio, online and mobile platforms, a large number of institutions were able to cater to the educational needs of their students. The G20 Education Working Group Meeting on ‘The Role of Digital Technologies in Education’ comes as a key development in this regard, highlighting a slew of present and prospective technological measures. Identification of core areas and themes to promote possible research and academic collaboration among educational institutions in G20 member countries, is a huge development, as the group comprises some of the most developed countries of the world, who use world-class research, innovation and cutting-edge technologies in this domain.

The selection of priority areas for deliberations such as ‘Foundational Literacy and Numeracy’,’Tech-enabled learning’, ‘Future of work’ and ‘Research and innovation collaboration’,- broad-based discussions with enriching inputs from sectoral experts. There is little doubt that during the past few years, G20 countries have made significant progress in expanding the use of digital technologies for improving access to quality education, however, the sharing of more tangible and effective educational practices and experiences did help recognize where participating countries are and what they need to improve upon. Here, we can collaborate to leverage technology further to achieve some common educational goals, as we still confront a lot of challenges in the process, especially when it comes to ensuring quality learning opportunities for all along with improving learning outcomes.

What the world including some of the G20 countries, need is accessible, inclusive and equitable school education, higher education and skill development. It is digital technologies that can bring parity in the quality and accessibility of education at all levels. For example, India has around 1.48 million schools, 265 million school students and nearly 9.5 million teachers, with more than 20 regional languages as medium of instruction alongside 62 educational boards of instruction across the country. Moreover, lakhs of students received their higher education in different languages. In such a case, only digital technology can be expected to provide equitable and inclusive education, as a lot of content and expert teachers are still not available in regional languages.

Hence, the union budget 2023 emphasises much on digitisation of education. The Digital India programme has received Rs 4,795.24 crore, and to boost digital infrastructure, the government has proposed initiatives like Digital Libraries and Digital Universities. States have also been urged to set up physical libraries at panchayat levels to provide infrastructure for accessing the National Digital Library resources. Digital initiatives with a focus on artificial intelligence terming it a step towards the ‘digital revolution’, have been hailed by all. Three centres of excellence for AI and 100 laboratories in engineering institutions for developing applications using 5G services, will only add to this process of digital revolution. Digital Universities aim to reach out to the remotest regions of the country with quality, skill-based and job-oriented courses and training. With the focus of the budget being on expanding reach, improving quality education, building capacity and strengthening the digital education ecosystem, we can now expect to have a world-class school and higher education system, which would be accessible to all.

(The writer is a senior journalist)

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