Digital and Collaborative Learning is the Future in Education

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Kapil Sibal,
Union Minister of Communications & IT, Government of India

We cannot look at the future through the eyes of past, not even through the eyes of present,but we have to look at the future by having a dream of what the future will be, and those who realise that dream will be the winners

India needs to think in terms of what the world will be 10 years from now, and then decide what our educational programmes must offer, what teaching methodologies should be.
We require a change in mindset in education. For instance, in school education, the old definition of literacy still continues, and we still have a textbook system of teaching and we follow an examination system. We have the older methodologies where the teacher stands in front of the class and teaches. But learning is a far more collaborative process than ever before, thanks to technology and the future lies in digital literacy.

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Affordable technology
We have to make sure that 10 years from now, all kids will have tablets. The government has to ensure that a digitalhighway is created, and the last mile connectivity is achieved. We are trying to connect 1,50,000 Gram Panchayats with fibre optics. We aim to connect 2,50,000 villages by 2014.
We also require access devices that are accessible and affordable like ‘Akash’, and for that we need to build manufacturing capacities at home. The next question is what kind of content will flow on the information highway? Institutes like AICTE and IGNOU are already working on it. Courses and content will be provided by private entrepreneurs to school kids anywhere in the world for a price. If there is more competition then there will be lower price of the content. We will also have  to regulate the content and that’s a challenging task.

Choices galore
The future lies in collaborative learning where a teacher must understand individual inclination and genius of each child because each child might want to learn different things.This choice must also be reflected in higher education. Now, if you have the present university system where you have academic councils and other councils controlling the university system, there is no choice available. There are only three streams  to move into the university system. This is not going to work in the future.

Collaboration and R&D
If you look at history, the western countries have developed because of technology. There is a need for an increased collaboration between all the stakeholders.The industry transforms ideas into goods and services, so it must be directly linked to academic institutions. Also, the industry as well as the government will take up R & D, and we must collaborate with each other because without collaboration there will not be solutions.

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