Deepmala 26 – Information Technology & Indian Education

The march of new technology will change the way we teach and the way we learn, both in space and time. The new India must proactively look at the sweeping changes on the horizon and prepare for it. The computer-communication convergence has made knowledge accessible quickly and cost-effectively practically all over the world. Internet has opened up astounding opportunities. With half of the world’s population being linked by Internet by the year 2020, the world will truly have become a global village. These ‘netizens’, or the ‘net people’, as they will be then known, will not be confined by physical boundaries or that of political economy of a nation. They will have a world of their own and a unique system of governance.

Teaching hitherto meant speaking and learning meant listening. We were all confined to the four walls of a classroom where the teacher taught and we as students listened. It was a one way linear process, sometimes with no opportunity for an interaction. Internet has already made it possible to take education to the homes of the learners. Such an education system has made a beginning in India too. Multimedia has been extensively and creatively used to create self-learning programmes. The fact that education is being brought to our homes will mean that one will be in a position to undertake learning at one’s own pace. Vast repositories of educational materials will be available, the learner will have the choice of the most effective way of learning by scanning different teaching methods and systems. Personal digital libraries will be created to provide a mechanism for managing one’s accumulated knowledge resource. Software technologies will enable development of educational materials quickly and easily to support their modification and maintenance. The process of continuous learning will also become easy; the concept of life long learning will become a reality. The limits of time and space will gradually vanish.

The evaluation systems will also change. We evaluate the students in a ritualistic way every year. Hundreds of thousands of students appear for examinations at the same time and answer the same question papers. We then grade them and differentiate them. The new system of evaluation will be continuous and individually centered. What it means is that theoretically, there can be a day to day evaluation of one’s capacity. It is, therefore, possible that a situation may arise where the child may acquire the intellectual maturity several years earlier than his physical age. This would mean that the mental age required to perform a job would be reached much earlier but not the physical age. Such events are going to cause a major turmoil and discontinuities in the process of education system and our way of thinking, teaching, learning and problem solving. Information Technology can make a radical difference to the Indian education system. Let us get geared to this new challenge and an opportunity.