How digitisation is helping education in Gujarat scale new heights

With the introduction of the RTE, the government's role in the teaching process will gradually decrease with private schools assuming a bigger responsibility.

 |  3-minute read |   28-07-2015
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Earlier, education in Gujarat was primarily being delivered by government schools. The few private schools that existed largely catered to Gujarat Board system of learning. Again, most schools were gender specific; co-ed education was unpopular, so was English as an instructional medium. But in the past few years, there has been a sea change with national and international boards being available and accepted. Each of these boards has a separate manifesto and philosophy; therefore informed parents today have several good English-medium options.

The government is slowly reducing its role in the delivery process of primary education. The government is playing a pivotal role in promoting the PPP (public private partnership) models to bring in more and more private players in the sector. With the introduction of the Right to Education, the government's role in the teaching learning process will drastically reduce in the coming years and private schools will assume a major role in the sector.

Digitisation has increased the emphasis on professional management of educational institutions. Many private companies have now forayed into this sector. These private companies provide educational content, customised iPads and hand-held devices. A computer or laptop has become an essential tool for learning. Today, smart classes use audiovisual methods of teaching. The patterns of classroom teaching are now tilting towards inclusive and participatory classroom methodology and environment. Focus is on learning for understanding and comprehension rather the earlier learning for knowledge through a rote learning method. Once a city that did not have yellow buses for school transport, is now seeing the use of technology even in this sector. Buses are fitted with GPS system for tracking, with speed governors to control speeding and biometric system to secure students' attendance.

These changes create new roles for all stakeholders in the education sector. The three core stakeholders happen to be the teachers, the parents and the students. Teachers should continuously be on the learning mode and use research-based practices in their classrooms. The focus should be application oriented and not on downloading data. Today, students can access data at the click of a button. Teachers ought to continuously learn and improve through focused data collection and analysis. New pedagogical practices should focus on creating global students with 21st century skills. School leaders should create institutions of excellence which are again laid on the foundations of research and data.

Students should be well aware that they are not local anymore; they will increasingly have to compete in a global environment. Whether for educations, skills knowledge or employment, the parameters and context is no longer just local or national. Hence, it is important to be adaptive and acquire a broad and international mindset.Parents should be most aware of these changing trends. These should take informed decisions; engage in a healthy and active participation in the students' educational growth.

Education is no longer just a chalk and board affair or restricted within four walls of a classroom. The onset of online education has shown that it cannot be a "one-size-fits-all" model because everyone learns differently, regardless of age, occupation and location. There trends in education are providing for everyone associated with it new opportunities, it is left entirely up to us how best we can harness these changes of individual good and collective societal benefit.

Writer

Manjula Pooja Shroff Manjula Pooja Shroff @manjula_pooja

The author is chairperson, Calorx Education and Research Foundation, Ahmedabad.

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