Here’s how EdTech can fix the challenges in India’s K12 ecosystem

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Pune, October 2022: There’s no denying that Indian students were somewhat forced into a new learning ecosystem during the pandemic. But in retrospect, that transition ushered in changes that otherwise would have taken eons to get implemented. EdTech took over the reins of a collapsing sector and altered the way students in India learn. As the world crawls back to normalcy, parents are increasingly inclining towards a hybrid model that reflects the best of online and offline schooling. However, it’s not an easy feat to accomplish. India’s K12 that’s set to frontline the growth of the education sector in the near future is still plagued with challenges that restrict its growth and transformation. For a future empowered with opportunities and global recognition, technology will have a paramount role to play in bridging the issues in India’s K12 and ensure progress. Let us analyze how –

Infrastructural inadequacy continues to torment India’s K12 education system. Though students in urban India were quick to transition to online learning during the pandemic, those in rural and remote parts of the country were left bereft of education. Owing to decaying infrastructure in schools, no internet connectivity and lack of devices, a sizable chunk of students missed out on learning, a part of whom might not return to schools ever. While this would be a difficult gap to bridge, increased adoption of technology, stronger bandwidth and a hybrid approach in pedagogy can make rural classrooms improved and more future ready. The government has also prioritized digitisation, urging collaborations with privately owned organizations to develop the e-learning infrastructure in schools, including specialized training for teachers.

According to industry data, Indian parents spend around INR 45,000 annually on schooling and post schooling expenses for their children. While Indian families are genuinely willing to spend well on education for their children, the larger economic disparity, lack of awareness and dearth of equitable facilities across the country impacts this spending to a large extent. This leads to a number of students quitting education midway, unable to bear the expenses. Cost effectiveness of online learning is enabled to address this imbalance and still ensure quality education. Students from lower income families don’t need to splurge on multiple learning avenues anymore as diverse online resources are available at affordable prices or even without any cost. On the Brainly study app, its extensive Knowledge Base of around 48 million questions is available to Indian students for free. 

For decades, the formal education system in India has been invested in textbook oriented learning and a redundant curriculum. This led to a generation of professionals stuck in traditional jobs with little or no scope of diversification. But with increased global exposure and information exchange today, the realities of the professional world have altered. More opportunities are opening up in fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) that call for refined knowledge of concepts and real world training. While this will have a major effect on K12 education in India, conventional pedagogy is not equipped to deliver these resources. By offering enhanced access to diverse study materials and specialized courses, edtech can prepare students, right within the comfort of their homes, to pursue careers in such fields, widening their employment possibilities.

Talking of possibilities, India, for long has and continues to deprive its girls of quality education. Though notable progress has been made in this regard since Independence, a UN report states that females in India still have a 42% lower chance of receiving elementary education as compared to males, especially in lower income households. This has been a sad reality for generations and even today, an increasing number of girls still have to give up on schooling or compensate for their brother’s education or commit to domestic chores across the country. What’s worse is this gap widening during the pandemic putting around 10MN girls at the margins of the education system. The journey to gender equality in education is a long one but online learning can surely help fix this by democratizing access and convenience. Remote learning has heralded a new chapter of opportunities for girls, who can now pursue studies without compromising on their right for an empowered future. On Brainly, over 50% of its user base comprises girls, one of the highest for any edtech platforms in the country. 

Last but not the least, traditional schooling in India has always been defined by the English language. This has created gaps in learning, not just in terms of access to English language based resources but also in concept clearance and understanding. In a culturally diversified nation like ours, the ability to study in one’s preferred language adds further value to academic goals and possibilities. Online education can ensure continuity in learning by enabling students to study in a language of their comfort. Students can pursue studies in their mother tongue at a quality, on par with their urban counterparts. This not only helps in knowledge retention but can also ensure students not dropping out of schools due to lack of confidence.