The launch of Digital India initiative will lead India in making a true knowledge economy that can alter the face of education in a country which has long suffered due to the digital divide. Aditya Malik, CEO & MD, Talentedge talks with Elets News Network (ENN) about the digital empowerment to succeed academically and professionally
I dream of a Digital India, where access to information knows no barrier.” These are the now famous words of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that underscore his commitment to creating a digitally connected nation where information technology empowers all citizens in areas as diverse as education, health, employment, taxation, etc. He launched his ambitious project ‘Digital India’ amidst much fanfare and media buzz and for good reason. The vision and goals charted out as part of the initiative can go a long way in making India a true knowledge economy and can alter the face of education in a country which has long suffered due to the digital divide.
Digital divide refers to the gap that exists, in a country like ours, between those who have ready access to information and communication technology and those for whom digital knowledge is still a distant dream. In India,the digital divide exists due to a variety of factors such as poor computer skills, abysmally low literacy levels, inadequate funds, lack of political will so far, unavailability of the internet in many corners of the country etc. However, in the last few years digital inclusion has been deemed not just as a minor social issue but as one of the primary economic concerns for the country. In a highly competitive global market, digital empowerment has become a pre-requisite to succeed academically and professionally for our large and youth-dominated population.
Faster communication facilities such as National Optical Fibre Network and wider adoption of internet enabled devices are likely to spur a string of highly positive changes in the education sector of India. The Digital India Initiative holds the power to make education modern and accessible to all. Increased broadband connectivity can truly lead to higher penetration of e-learning, successfully shattering the barriers of geographical distance and economic disadvantage in access to education. If the ambitious plan of Digital India is actually translated into reality, the education landspace can really be revved up and a greater percentage of our population can be given quality and productive training, equipping them to contribute to the GDP in a significant manner. In fact, according to a McKinsey report, the incremental impact of Digital India on the GDP is likely to be in the range of 25 to 30 per cent by 2025.
Digital India Initiative will certainly revitalise the Indian education system, propelling K-12, higher education, vocational and skill building in the right direction. Since 2004, government has invested significant funds to build solid educational infrastructure. However, such programmes were often not successful due to lack of, or sometimes the complete absence of, technological interventions. Digital India is an opportunity for us, as a nation, to revisit and improve the student learning experience, build teacher capacity and provide better educational governance.
Some of the key provisions of the Digital India Initiative that are likely to boost the education sector include the national scholarships portal, the e-education programme, Bharat Net and the Digital Locker System. With the national scholarships portal coming in to being, it will be simpler for the students across geographies to apply for national level scholarships and also track their scholarship amount status. This system will not just ensure a seamless and transparent process, but will also give students ready information about the scholarships on one singular platform. At present, many students are completely oblivious to the kind of educational aid they are eligible for, especially in cases where they aren’t connected to specialized career counselling services or information. Also, through this facility the scholarship amount will be credited directly into the student’s account with a status update on mobile at every step of the disbursement, delivering a higher level of ease.
The e-education programme aims at making technologically advanced education available across the latitude and longitude of the country. Several remote areas in the country currently suffer from the lack of good quality educational infrastructure. This highly acknowledged pain point can finally be addressed with digital learning initiatives and will receive a further impetus through mobile learning. Education can be imparted even in areas where it isn’t possible to have good teachers via e-learning programmes and content. Bharat Net on the other hand is likely to serve as the infrastructural backbone for the endeavor of delivering digital learning services to rural India. The government targets, providing broadband connectivity to a quarter of a million rural villages by 2019 and making Wi-Fi hotspots available in schools. This will enhance the reach of the e-education programme and help in the development of superlative content by experienced professionals and faculty available to those who need it most. Through virtual classrooms and interactive e-learning sessions, spreading education can become hassle-free for administrators and far more enjoyable for students.
Several remote areas in the country currently suffer from the lack of good quality educational infrastructure. This highly acknowledged pain point can finally be addressed with digital learning initiatives and will receive a further impetus through mobile learning
With unwavering political will and industry participation, Digital India can truly revolutionize the education space in India. For years, our country has been the IT hub of the world. It has produced the world’s best talent in the space of information technology yet somehow it hasn’t managed to leverage this expertise to solve many of its own problems. However, with the advent of the Digital India campaign, the transformation of the Indian education space and every other key sector is now likely to be accelerated. Talentedge with the aim to inspire ‘Now you can’ vision for the learners is extremely excited to be part of this digital revolution era that will change the way India learns forever.