Technology is an indispensible aspect in fostering education and the Indian society is waking up to this fact.
Today, we often come across jargons such as ‘knowledge economy’, ‘information explosion’, ‘world at your fingertips’. These are not alien terms, as they have become an indispensible part of our regular vocabulary. Rewind a decade ago and a totally different picture would have surfaced. The dichotomy exists even today, translated by economists as ‘India’ and ‘Bharat’. While urban India has taken IT for granted, there is a mammoth demographic segment who doesn’t know how technology touches their lives, if at all they do.
In these two words –‘Information and technology’, the aspect to be noticed is the fact that Information always precedes technology. Information existed, technology made it accessible, thereby building a society knowledge rich, aware and discerning. With time, the fact got proven that IT is an enabler of social inclusivity, by the sheer truth that it can bring information to the masses, educate them and make them live a life of quality.
Technology is an indispensible aspect in fostering education and the Indian society is waking up to this fact. Of the nearly one million public schools in India, less than 0.2 percent has any form of IT infrastructure or computer-based education. Though technology has made inroads into areas hitherto inaccessible, still there is a major chunk of the Indian population who cannot take advantage of the possibilities because of obvious constraints, cost being one. Several organizations are undertaking initiatives to negate those constraints and time testifies the fact that we have come a long way in doing so.
Grass-Root Initiatives and innovations
Numerous grass-root innovations are happening to bridge the glaring digital divide. The biggest challenge in India undoubtedly is that of infrastructure. Setting up a school is a cumbersome process necessitating very high costs in terms of building materials, municipality permits, electricity, remuneration for teachers, and maintenance. As a corollary, this acts as a hurdle to many bright students who cannot afford that kind of money.
Keeping in perspective the fact that today, out of approximately 200 million children in the age group of 6-14 years only 120 million are going to school, these initiatives will pave a long way in fostering an inclusive atmosphere for socio economic growth. As part of its Vision 2020 plan, the Government is looking to increase the number of school-going children to 30 per cent by 2020.
How is Technology paving the way for Socio-economic growth in India?
Now is the season of Tablets. We often read in the papers about how low cost tablets are made available to village panchayats, students and even the Government in India. With a medium to access information and the information content itself, technology is acting as a game changer. Both these components are existing in a complementary relationship and technology is enabling this trend. Information technology industry has already ushered in a catalytic change in the Indian society by collaborating with the government to increase accessibility, affordability and accountability of essential services.
Technology has brought about effective alterations in administrative functions in terms of public services and e-governance projects, to eliminate avoidable inefficiencies, reduce corruption and guaranteeing ease of collaboration amongst diverse departments. The industry itself has accelerated technology-adoption across various sectors including healthcare, real-estate, BFSI, tourism and retail; thereby improving quality of life of the citizens of India. Constraints still exists in terms of cost and awareness. As these dissolve with time, technology will make its presence felt even more assertively and act as building blocks for social inclusivity.
Rohit Pande is the CEO and co- founder of Classteacher Learning Systems which was established in 2000. Rohit started his career with Andersen consulting where he worked as a consultant. A graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi of the 1995 batch, he pursued management studies at Indian Institute of Management- Calcutta.