Digital Education is the innovative use of digital tools and technology during teaching and learning, and is often referred to as e-Learning. Gone are the days when the ‘Chalk and Talk’ approach had substance in it. With the technological advancement in the past decade, ‘Digital Classrooms’ have become more prevalent and relevant in India. Prevalent because technology is leading to a revolution in the way we learn, teachers can now reach the entire classrooms through digital screens, enabling each child to have exposure to world-class education and relevant because of the recent dire times caused by the Covid-19.
India has witnessed ‘leap of a decade’ to go beyond its capacity and ability to provide digital education to students. However, the question still stands tall, Is India ready for Digital Education? The facts say that only 8% of Indian homes with students in it have an internet connection. This is clearly a negative indication for India’s capability to become digitally dextrous in education sector. So, let’s discuss what the Government has actually done for this cause. The Ministry of Human Resource Development took various initiatives for Digital Education. A comprehensive initiative called ‘PM e-Vidya’ was launched in May 2020 which aims to unify all efforts related to online education to enable equitable multimode access to education. One of the most important initiative is DIKSHA (Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing). It is the ‘one nation; one digital platform’ for school education in India. Apart from this, the Government also started TV channels for mass reach of e-Learning. Swayam Prabha- a series of 32 channels was launched. E-Textbooks were launched under the E-Pathshala, where the government provides a plethora of educational content (especially NCERT). Radio broadcasting for the differently abled has been initiated.
Now what is the way forward? The government has launched ample of programs to promote digital education but there a few challenges to the Digital Education dream. A lot of technology-based modifications will have to be encountered by the Government so that digital education can be reached out to students across the country. Availability of the Internet is a mammoth task for the Government. Internet is one of the biggest requirements for online education. Providing devices to the rural poor and socio-economically weaker section poses a big challenge. Training teachers is another challenge. As a matter of fact, India’s rapidly rising population does not have enough teachers. It has been predicted that a ratio of 1 teacher to approximately 600 students might become a reality by the end of 2050.
The Government has taken multiple initiatives in 2020 for the improvisation and accessibility of Digital Education in India, and they aim to acknowledge e-learning for students more broadly than ever before. In conclusion, despite the launch of multi-dimensional programs- Is the ‘Digital India’ ready for ‘Digital Education’?