What is the rural-urban divide?
A huge gap in learning outcomes between students from urban and rural schools is called the rural‑urban divide in education. It is mainly attributed to teacher absenteeism, untrained teachers, poor quality of teaching aids, etc.
If the right to education for all is to become a reality, we must ensure that all learners have access to quality education that meets basic learning needs and enriches lives.
Can EdTech bridge this gap is the moot question?
To answer that, let us have a quick look at some of the features of learning aids by EdTech companies.
Technology: These companies design solutions that are smart, intuitive, and super convenient.
Quality Teachers: Well-trained quality teachers will teach the subjects.
Localized content: The entire display, buttons, and navigation instructions, and content can be customized in English, Hindi, and local languages. When a kid in rural Tamil Nadu opens a tablet, he/she finds all the content in Tamil, so shall children from other languages.
Interactive audio-visual content: Animated video lessons, projects, digital books, assessments, etc. Content can be revised as many times as required for better understanding. Can revisit content and test until they master it. It empowers the child and makes them Fall in Love with Learning as BYJU’s tagline puts it.
No internet needed: The entire content can be pre-loaded on an SD card. Students can learn wherever they feel like and whenever they want.
Absolute Freedom: Students can develop their own learning path.
Easy Evaluation of Student Progress: The teacher gets all the information in the dashboard about every student’s learning path and could intervene only where help is required. This leads to better utilization of the teacher’s time and better learning outcomes.
3 different education delivery systems in the EdTech space:
Asynchronous: This mode of e-learning allows students to access educational resources over the internet via pre‑recorded video lectures, images, assignments. However, real-time on-the-spot doubt resolution is not possible and hence it is not a replacement for the conventional model of teaching.
Synchronous: Students connect with instructors live and online at a pre-appointed time using tools such as Skype, Adobe Connect, etc, where queries and doubts of students get addressed immediately.
Blended: Blended learning systems uses a combination of both the above.
Explore how these features could help rural children
- The problem of shortage of quality teachers in rural areas can be solved by online teachers from urban areas using e-learning.
- Localized content could greatly improve learning outcomes for children.
- Interactive and animated content could make topics interesting, interactive and engaging, they will Fall in Love with Learning.
- Preloaded content in Tablets and Mobile devices could overcome the shortcomings of internet infrastructure and power outages in rural areas, e.g., BYJU’s-The Learning App
- Portability of devices; students can learn both at a place of their choosing and timing.
- Data on each student’s learning path could free up quality time for the teachers. They could come out with innovative teaching methods and focus on areas their students actually need help on. The routine task of evaluation and exams will be taken care of by the EdTech platform.
- Blended learning is the right mix that would have the best advantages of convention and e-learning methods.
How EdTech companies can do even better?
They should make their products more affordable and widely available. CSR activities and manufacturing collaboration with Indian and global manufacturers to make digital devices more affordable.
Repurposing of sparingly-used digital devices.
BYJU’S Launches ‘Give’ Initiative to Encourage Digital Learning. Mrinal Mohit, Chief Operating Officer, BYJU’S, said, “With BYJU’S Give, we want to take the transformative power of education to students in every corner of the country.
Skilling teachers on a massive scale both on technology and pedagogy.
BYJU’S, India’s largest EdTech company, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), to support the skilling of teachers and trainers.
The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.William Arthur Ward
How the government can help bridge the gap?
Improve internet and power infrastructure. Access to reliable power and reliable internet connection should be a basic human right. The government should take this as a high-priority task in its agenda and set 2023 as the deadline for achieving this ambitious goal. Tie-ups with broadband providers, telecom companies, and corporate houses could expedite this.
Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.Benjamin Franklin
Conclusively, EdTech companies together with the cooperation of the government, NGO, corporate houses, telecom companies, etc. can bridge the rural-urban divide.
Let us know your thoughts on how EdTech could be a gamechanger for crores of our rural children. Share insight on how it could bring out people from poverty in the comments section below.
Image Credit: Unsplash