Digitization of educational content is the only solution to solve education gap between poor kids and rich kids
What do we need to do to fix India’s education problem? Is it even a problem? India has 15 Lakhs schools both Govt and Private put together.
We have 24 crore students enrolled in these schools. That’s roughly 19% of our population! Which means a lot of future human resource in development.
Of this, 15.6 crore (that is 65%) is studying in government schools and remaining 35% in private schools.
Let’s focus on teachers now.
We have total 94 Lakhs teachers for these 24 crore students which makes our teacher to student ratio 1/25 which is NOT bad at all.
(We have more teachers than China if that comparison helps)
Then where is the problem?
The problem is not the number of teachers or for that matter school infrastructure. Indian government has done a fabulous job over last 20 years and created a school in every nook and corner of India with all basic facilities. The school will have all the required artifacts like flash cards, wooden educational toys etc.
How do I know all that? Well, because I taught in three government schools for 5 years from 2010-2015 (of course part time over weekends)
In my opinion our education problem is the quality of delivery. We need to make huge efforts in training our teachers. I am sure we have a lot of very good teachers even in government schools but that percentage may not be enough.
Teaching is one profession which requires special skills and more than skills a strong desire to impart that skill.
Based on my 5 years of interactions with teachers in some government schools, I feel we are missing that big time despite of them earning a decent salary.
Can we train our teachers overnight? We can but it will take another 20 years and still the gap in quality will be huge as private schools are becoming modern everyday.
So what’s the solution?
Digitization of content and remote delivery of teachers training is one solution so that our teachers are better prepared. We should start that on war footing. That’s one..
Two, The quality digital content should also make its way into our physical classrooms and the teacher in the classroom can become more of a coordinator or consultant. (someone who is available to clear doubts).
There are too many Edtech companies are trying exactly that but they are targeting a student population which is already spending 1 Lakh to 7 Lakhs per annum in their respective private schools.
Just think about this, the parents who are spending that much on school but still need to buy an Edtech tablet. What does it tell us? Even teachers in those private schools have gaps which Edtech is claiming to fill. Right?
Then just imagine the gaps in government schools and middle class private schools.
So digitization of education content and digital delivery is the only scalable solution for our education problem if we really want to solve this problem in the next decade.