How can technology-assisted Education change the face of rural India?
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” So said Nelson Mandela. This is increasingly true in today’s context. India is the second most populated country in the world of which 72% or approx 800 Million people live in rural areas.
Growth that we envisage for India has to be based on developing this natural resource i.e. masses living in Rural India. Education in whatever form be it formal i.e. classroom (teacher-student learning) or informal where you learn by doing, is an integral part of any development/growth.
India is a geographically large country. Access to most rural areas is difficult. Delivering education in this context is cumbersome because of the various social curses that we are engulfed with. These include but are not limited to Caste, Religion, Gender asymmetries, economic disparity, etc. The Socio-cultural disparities are being focused on at the elementary or primary level by the Government through formal education. However the success of this focus is limited mainly due to the logistics involved plus lack of access to high quality teaching.
This is where technology steps in. India as a country has grown leaps and bounds over the last few years in delivering high end technology to the world’s superpowers. The technology that we have developed is now being used in all fields across the world. We need to start using this internally as well to ensure that there is sustained growth. With the advent of Satellite systems, Internet, Radio connectivity etc, assisting education using these means should be the basis of any drive in education irrespective of the location.
Statistics prove that education at the highest level i.e. Engineering, Medical, Science, Research etc are limited in access to those living in Rural areas. This has prompted migration for the sake of education by those who can afford it. Those that cannot afford it are left behind to continue menial labour irrespective of their intellectual prowess. This can be overcome by ensuring accessible education at affordable rates if not completely free at end point.
Only by making technology easily accessible to the rural household can we hope to drive India’s growth in the long run. The population has to become comfortable with using IT systems and have access to the best teachers irrespective of where they are based for a country to have sustained growth. Education once accessed by all, will help in the development of rural India not just academically but also in the fields of Agriculture, industry etc.
By virtue of it being seamless, technology has the ability to bypass the geographical difficulties once it is in place. We can use the same to educate and develop the knowledge base of both young and the old. The natural difficulties that we face in ensuring top quality teachers availability to all can be limited by use of technology. More organisations will be ready to set up base in rural settings which will positively impact on Rural growth. This will eventually change the face of Rural India hopefully positively.