By Dr Hasmukh Adhia, Principal Secretary, Education, Government of Gujarat | www.gujarat-education.gov.in
There is a reason for us to feel worried about the future of our students, our professors and our entire education system. All of us are in favour of enhancing our education system with digital technology, but we also need to be aware of the fact that this technology comes with some side effects. The benefits are many. If implemented intelligently, technology can reduce the cost of education and make it possible for all sections of society to have access to high-quality educational services. But how are we going to deal with the side effects?
Education in cloud
It is possible that by the year 2020, no student would have to go to school or college. The entire curriculum might be available on the cloud, which students might be able to access from the comfort of their home or even the playground. We expect broadband connectivity to become widely available by 2020. Earlier we had been thinking that a vast digital library of all the lectures will get developed, but now library is the not the point. Just about every bit of knowledge that we have developed could become available in the cloud.
It is possible for us to imagine that the students will stop going to schools and colleges. The professors will be redundant. Why should the students go in for learning from a teacher who is a strict disciplinarian, when they can learn at their leisure from the cloud? We can imagine how boring life will become without the interactions that happen in school and college space. The student could lose all sense of discipline. He might start waking up at noon, and then tell his father that he has all sorts of things to do on the Internet.
Instead of using a curriculum developed by professional educationists, the students might start reading on basis of their own whims and fancies, “aaj main ye padh lunga , kal vo kar lunga.” If this sort of a scenario comes true, it will be a tough challenge for us. The important point is what will we do with all the professors who have already been recruited. Many of them might become redundant when the students start relying on the Internet.