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Tuesday, August 4, 2020
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Reinventing Learning- What Education 4.0 Means to India?

Education 4.0 or the technology-mediated approach towards education with complete learning upgrades in the pipeline has gained pace during COVID-19 lockdown. Education 4.0 is a commingling of AI, robotics, AR, flipped classroom and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Classrooms.

As learners slowly shift to virtual windows, their learning abilities and recurrences of disengagement from lessons are recorded on systems. Evidently, within the next few years, India will embrace a learning module with advanced analytics to assess students’ data using AI. AI will be perceived as the guiding angel. But how well is this networked approach towards learning, one that seeks to replace student teacher interaction, will pan out in India? India has gaping learning inequalities where millions of students have little to zero computer literacy. NSS Education Survey has revealed that only two Indian states have 40 percent of households with internet facilities and the situation is bleaker in the rest of Indian states.

Kavita Sanghvi, Principal, Chatrabhuj Narsee Memorial School In 2018, the Annual Status of Education has also reported on a worrisome situation where only 50 percent rural children studying in class V could read a grade II level text. “The government has to focus primarily on training teachers for equity in education. Only when teachers across India, be it rural or urban, the state board or International Board are all equipped with skills, knowledge and offered adequate resources, will students benefit from the system,”

Alka Kapur Principal Modern Public School Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi Educators have envisioned a new learning curriculum at the helm of such radical changes– “The present day education system should be life centric. Emphasis should be laid more on practical knowledge than on theoretical one. This could be achieved by encouraging project-based learning. Competency-based learning creates more able and skilled candidates for the job market.”

A survey by Brainfeed attempts to shed light on the shortage of infrastructure, dwindling economy, impending change of teaching style in primary classes, allocation of funds by government and other feasible solutions in a bid to address the pre-existing loopholes in the sector.

Mr. Beas Dev Ralhan, Co-Founder and CEO, Next Education Pvt Ltd. Education 4.0 should be “a pan India phenomenon,” to replace the existing “education system and pedagogy (that) lack flexibility and self-learning among students. A new approach focusing on student-centered learning will give students autonomy over their learning so that they can explore conceptual information pertaining to their curriculum and gain an in-depth understanding in addition to what is being taught by the teacher,”

Inputs By – Alka Kapur Principal Modern Public School Shalimar Bagh New Delhi

  1. How do you perceive Education 4.0 in the context of Indian Education system?

Contemporary learners are undergoing a rapid metamorphosis as they need to keep pace with the fast changing tech savvy world. From black, green to white boards, pen to pendrive, smart students to smart boards, there had been a paradigm shift in the teaching techniques. Of course, there are logistical challenges that we need to overcome, but overall, it is a very positive and very welcome change.

The greatest challenges to digitization in a country like ours that has a large rural population, is the lack of infrastructure. Also, people who haven’t been exposed to the technology thus far, find it a bit difficult to adapt to a digitized world. However, difficult as it might be, it’s not impossible if we are determined in our efforts. The goal of education is to impart practical knowledge to students in the most efficient way possible and Education 4.0 is definitely facilitating that. This is why we need to find ways to implement it in as many areas as we can.

  1. What steps should the govt. take to achieve uniform distribution of Education 4.0 across India?

There are a number of steps that the government can take to make Education 4.0 more viable in the country, and all these steps can be hinged around the idea that purpose of education in today’s era should be to create individuals that are ready for the fourth industrial revolution, on whose cusp we’re standing right now.

The most important thing the government would have to do in order to ensure that education 4.0 becomes a pan-India phenomenon, would be to create an infrastructure that can support this new system of education. This problem has plagued our education system for a long time, especially in rural areas, and we need to come up with a solution for this.

The government would also need to encourage the industries to partake in the education process, so the students can know about the skills they need to work on in order to make a breakthrough in a certain industry. The success of Education 4.0 would depend highly on the quality of scholars it produces and once the students start finding success, more people would start gravitating towards this new system of education.

By focusing on project-based learning that is aligned with the fourth industrial revolution i.e. Artificial Intelligence (AI), we can impart practical skills to student that would actually be useful to them in navigating through their careers. It is for this reason that even CBSE has introduced Artificial Intelligence as a separate course.

Last but not the least, by utilising data and tracking students’ performance, the school will be able to identify the students who have optimised their performance as well as the ones who are striving with the syllabus. Subsequent change can then be brought in the learning strategies to better suit their needs. By achieving this level of efficiency, we’d be able to encourage more students to become a part of this phenomenon and hence, ultimately spread the reach of Education 4.0 in the country.

 

3. What are the new trends in learning you are personally hoping for? Will this change do away with the previous loopholes that exist in learning?

The first step is to adopt an innovative teaching practice. Education has to encourage innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. This becomes even more important given the fact that the fourth industrial revolution is just around the corner and creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship are going to be some of the most desirable qualities in future candidates.

Also, the present day education system should be life centric. Emphasis should be laid more on practical knowledge than on theoretical one. This could be achieved by encouraging project-based learning. Competency-based learning creates more able and skilled candidates for the job market.

We need to train teachers and students for a digital India by incorporating disruptive technologies like AI (Artificial Intelligence), ML (Machine Learning), AR (Augmented Reality) and IoT (Internet of Things) etc.

Education imparted to children must instil global vision in them to enable them to seek decision making global careers. We need to get out of our echo chamber and embrace the mega-opportunities that exist outside of our little circle. It is imperative that we take this step for the growth and development of our nation.

We need to create a system of imparting education that celebrates human imagination and ingenuity. Let us all work towards the system where children can dance and sing if they want to. Instead of suppressing their natural talents, let us polish them to make them shine brighter. Let us open their doors of perception, and then, as Blake mentioned, the possibilities are infinite:
“Every child is born an artist, but very few remain one as they grow Picasso.”

On paper, Education 4.0 does seem to cover a lot of loopholes in our existing education system, but it’s like they say, nothing is perfect. Only after we start working with this new system would we come across flaws, but I believe those would be fixed much easily, given the student-centric and flexible nature of Education 4.0.

  1. How far will it be feasible to implant in India?

With different education portals launched by the government of India, it is feasible to minimise the gap of learning inequalities. However, poor infrastructure and lack of basic necessities to install an online setup is a big hurdle.

Digital education is all about working with technology, but the biggest challenge is that people in India are still not aware of the latest technological advances, which the government and leaders need to work upon. There are plenty of regions in the country that are technologically backward and they need to be brought up to speed in order to make the most of Education 4.0.

Internet speed is also one of the major factors affecting digital education. There’s a substantial population of the country that resides in rural areas where internet speed is a major issue. Hopefully, with 5G technology on the horizon, we’ll be able to find solution to this problem as well.

Also, the people who aren’t technologically astute would find it difficult to tackle with this new, highly digital mode of education. For this, we can set up training centres in rural areas where we can expose these people to new technologies to create a level of comfort. Not to mention though, it’s going to take some hard work.

But same was postulated during the time of demonetization that it would be impossible to bring the entire country on a digital transaction format. However, if we look at the country now, even the people involved in low income jobs like vending have Paytm. Change happens with time, and just like the trend of digital transaction caught on, we can hope that the trend for digital education will catch on as well, and hopefully we’ll be able to bridge the gap of inequalities amongst different sectors as soon as possible.

 

 

Inputs By Beas Dev Ralhan, Co-Founder and CEO, Next Education Pvt Ltd

  1. What are the indispensable changes that Indian education is awaiting to experience? 

Technological innovations in the education industry like AI, robotics, flipped classroom and AR are being gradually implemented in the education system. Any new learning process takes time to percolate down and yield positive outcomes. However, COVID-19 has made online learning a new normal, thereby empowering the education system to make a smooth transition from offline learning to the online learning system.

Considering online learning as a primary approach to education, new technological innovations need to be fine-tuned according to education quality and teaching-learning practices so that students and teachers can leverage the innovative features like online classes, video conferencing, flipped learning, gamification in learning and more. For instance, the flipped learning model introduces students to e-learning tools to help them gain conceptual clarity during classroom discussions and hands-on activities to reinforce learning.

  1. Can Education 4.0 transform elementary education in India?

Pathbreaking technological innovations like AI-ML based online platforms, video conferencing, flipped classroom, learning management systems, etc., are now becoming the part and parcel of our education system. The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the adoption of online learning solutions to facilitate uninterrupted learning. The increased use of technology in education will lead to a revolution wherein teaching-learning will no longer be synonymous with the traditional classroom set-up and students across geographies will be empowered to attend the school of their choice. The crisis has thus ushered in a more structured, technology-driven online education system.

Online learning and digital tools are not only helping to enhance and continue the engagement between the teacher and students but also empowering students to explore and learn from a vast pool of digital content available in the form of videos, ebooks, audiovisual content and presentations.

Considering that students now have more access to digital learning tools, teachers should supplement knowledge-based education with at-home DIY activities that encourage students to learn and explore. Alongside, conceptual understanding should be supported with videos, 3-D animations and simulations, short quizzes and presentations to make learning fun and engaging.

  1. How can Education 4.0 be uniformly dispersed across India?

In response to the challenge of schools being shut, the state governments and central governments have come up with various initiatives to support online learning. These include e-learning platforms launched by the government such as DIKSHA portal, e-Pathshala and Swayam. Further, to strengthen the country’s digital learning capability and make education accessible to students across public and private schools, the government has announced the ‘Pradhan Mantri e-VIDYA’ initiative as part of the ₹20-lakh crore COVID-19 package that will include DTH TV channels, e-content and QR coded textbooks for all grades.

To make education 4.0 a reality across the country, the government must encourage and make it mandatory for public and private schools to implement at least one of the technological innovations into their pedagogy. Additionally, the government should run campaigns and initiatives to endorse e-learning tools and platforms. Further, the government can take initiatives to expand broadband connectivity and create a fast network, especially for schools and education systems.

  1. Any new trends in learning you are personally hoping for eliminate the previous loopholes?

Technology being the driver of change in this pandemic situation, schools are adopting e-learning tools to help students adapt to the ever-changing dynamic world. Through education 4.0, schools and educational institutions can transform their teaching-learning approach.

Since the education sector is making a transition from offline to online models, it is important to introduce innovative approaches that meet the expectations of today’s world. This will bridge the digital divide and empower teachers to go digital, modify their pedagogy and usher in an array of new approaches to education.

The existing education system and pedagogy lack flexibility and self-learning among students. A new approach focusing on student-centered learning will give students autonomy over their learning so that they can explore conceptual information pertaining to their curriculum and gain an in-depth understanding in addition to what is being taught by the teacher. When student-centred learning is encouraged, students take an active interest in learning and find suitable resources to augment their learning such as gamification in learning, AI-ML based learning platforms, short courses, online lectures, videos and more. This approach also promotes lifelong learning.

 

  1. Will Education 4.0 remain a pipe dream in most parts of India? 

Considering learning inequalities across the country, online education providers can reach out to public and private schools to promote the advantages of online learning. This strategy can be amalgamated with the government programmes such as ‘Digital India’ and ‘Skill India’ to spread digital literacy, create a knowledge-based society in India, and implement three principles ‘access, equity and quality’ of the education policy.

Therefore, by following this approach online learning can be made a reality in the Indian education system. E-learning can supplement the existing pedagogy and bridge the gap to a considerable extent.

The economically backward section might face certain challenges, but they should be dealt with proper support from the government.

The Indian education system is perceived as outdated curriculum, rote learning, poor teaching practices and lack of infrastructure. On the positive side, our country boasts of pathbreaking technological innovations that have stood the test of time and proved to be extremely helpful in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Online education has a bright future in India, but this approach entails several challenges:

  • While the government is constantly improving digital infrastructure across the country, there is still a huge scope of advancement.
  • Formal acceptance and recognition of online education
  • Availability of vernacular content

E-learning has a promising future and potential to transform our education system. Therefore, both online and offline learning models must work in tandem.

 

Inputs by Kavita Sanghvi, Principal, Chatrabhuj Narsee Memorial School

  1. Education 4.0 is all about learning anytime, from anywhere. How will it transform elementary education in India?

The Primary classes at present focus more on content learning and having students gain knowledge, skills and attitudes using technology sparingly. In the future with Education 4.0, technology will be driving ASK. Blended learning will be prevalent at every level and students will use A.R. V.R. Robotics to seek solutions to real-life problems and thus research will become an integral part of the syllabus. STREAM, an acronym one hears or practised sparingly will be fundamental crux on which the entire pyramid of education will be built. There will be a radical shift from concept learning to concept application.

2. What are your expectations from the government on making Education 4.0 available in the nooks and corners of India?

The government has to focus primarily on training teachers for equity in education. Only when teachers across India, be it rural or urban, the state board or International Board are all equipped with skills, knowledge and offered adequate resources, will students benefit from the system.

Secondly, the government needs to bring in educators actually teaching within the classrooms to be a part of the education policy as their inputs are real timed. They will share vital points of executing this education across India as we are a diverse country with varied needs and expectations.

Thirdly,  government needs to address the current examination systems which are completely mark focused and not skill-driven. It hs to overhaul the whole system to allow students to demonstrate their skills and potentials for them to seek expertise in their respective fields.

3. Do you personally believe the new trends of Education 4.0 can do away with the previous loopholes that exist in learning?

I am personally hoping for learning to be fun and long-lasting with Education 4.0 as children will identify themselves with progressive technology. Even today, people feel that if a child is sitting with his books for hours, cramming knowledge, then learning is happening whereas learning happens when child experiences, experiments, analyses, elaborates and applies.

Our education system needs to have students researching and experimenting, be bold with their thoughts and expression, and not fear failure. In a nutshell, children should get their hands dirty with thorough experimentation.

With Education 4.0, I can foresee students bonding better than their teachers with technology. This will ensure that the bond between them will be more collaborative and enriching as they will seek each other’s strengths and amplify them.

All the current loopholes, namely unnecessary focus on gaining marks, substandard teaching expectations, and ‘everyone can teach’ will be done away with. The future clearly states that skills and competencies will be a vital component of Education. Also, people entering the field of Education will need to have strong professional skills along with ‘lifelong learning’ attitude

4. How far will it be feasible to implant in India where learning inequalities are huge and unbridgeable? What might be the challenges reaching out to students from an economically poor background?

India is truly diverse and currently, we have a distinct advantage, our major population is young. Already every Indian owns a smartphone and the network is good and the young have embraced technology smoothly. We need to strengthen it further by having the government offer free wifi at all government schools and institutions. Further, T.V, and cable channels, radio needs to join in so that education reaches every corner of the country. 

For very remote villages, have huge screens through projector relaying T.V. channel classes. Further, government can have expert teachers pool in with resources and create a library of excellent, interactive videos that can be telecast every day so that no matter the child is at home or at the field, he can keep hearing and seeing the classes.

Finally, where there is a will, there is a way and passionate, committed teachers exist all around. One just needs to find them and have them become an integral part of the national teaching-learning chain and lo and behold! every child will be expanding their learning curve.

Story By: Puja Sinha

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