Jasvinder Singh, CEO, Words Worth ELT, part of the ACTUniv Group talks about the growth of digital labs in enhancing English language education in India
What made you venture into digital labs in education sector over other sectors?
Digital labs just grew out of the need to meet the challenge of English language requirement in the country. We have been into IT education since 1989 and understand technology and teaching very well. Developing training programs, training content, courseware, trainer tools and reports and feedback are our forte. I was also involved as a key partner in developing one of the finest 3D animated educational content in the world.
What has been the rate of growth of the industry? How do you see the market progress in next five years?
The industry is growing by leaps and bounds every year. With technology advancing at a breakneck speed and gadgets becoming commonplace, digital gadgets delivering content on every topic are expected to replace printed books. The power of interactive gadgets is huge as they cater to more than just books. This awareness of digital learning aspects will propel the industry forward. With English being the number one skill for employment today and a mere 15 percent to 20 percent of the population possessing this skill set, language learning needs to be addressed. Digital labs have the potential to bridge this gap between the reality and the need in learning English.
What are the major challenges faced in this sector which is relatively new in India?
India has many languages and even more schools using them as their medium of instruction. To create digital content supporting all languages is a herculean task. Our biggest challenge is the penetration of technology in schools and homes. Computers are associated more with entertainment than education. Cost of Operating System and computer hardware is a challenge too. To overcome these, we have developed our language labs solutions to work on thick as well as thin clients and have developed content to work on open source OS such as Linux.
A negative attitude towards digital learning is a challenge, since traditional classrooms are still the preferred medium for education. This mind set needs supto change and the educators’ comfort with technology needs to be worked on.
How do you compare the IT initiatives by Indian educational institutes vis-à-vis other countries?
India’s use of IT infrastructure is growing and will be at par with the developed nations. Lack of good internet connectivity across the country is also being overcome. Most cities in India are adapting technology in educational institutions too. In due time, IT initiatives in educational institutes will be at par with most developed nations. Given the fact that Indians are quick adapters of technology, we should soon be leading in the use of technology in education.
Please describe your products offered in brief.
Words Worth Language Lab Senior comprises of three study levels to match the years of graduate study and is ideal for colleges and higher learning institutes; Words Worth Language Lab Junior is aimed at schools and comprises eight progressive study levels; Words Worth Language Lab – Enterprise Model takes advantage of the large PC penetration to split the learning into two parts – at school and at home; Words Worth Papyrus addresses the needs of resource or infrastructure-constrained schools by requiring just one computer and a projector for instruction; Words Worth Groots is a grammarbased product that can be mapped to CBSE, ICSE or state boards; Words Worth Virtual is a self learning tool for basic English; Haiku: Loveable Learning is an afterschool English learning program.