India will announce a new National Education Policy in 2020. (NEP). This was in the early days of the pandemic, and certain changes to the NEP were made in response to the interruption of education caused by the fatal coronavirus and subsequent lockdowns. However, educational institutions across the country were unprepared to adjust to a world of distant teaching, learning, and testing. The NEP aimed to promote a more flexible, comprehensive, and personalised approach to education, in contrast to India's outdated education system, which included rote learning, strict testing, and excessive filtering. Perhaps digital technology was only a tiny part of the NEP. However, the epidemic has pushed it to the brink of extinction.
Even if the pandemic is subsiding and educational institutions are reopening, the loss of learning at all levels in India has been astounding, from preschool to university. It isn't necessarily worse than in other poor nations, but it is unquestionably higher than in developed countries. It is critical that the government do all necessary to assist students in making up for their lost learning; otherwise, the pandemic's economic and social effects will last far longer than they should. It is critical for the government to take a targeted and innovative strategy to assisting students in catching up. If done correctly, it has the potential to set the country's educational system on a course that also tackles the country's social problems.
The proliferation of smartphones in India has obscured the fact that the country's broadband internet connectivity, both wired and wireless, falls well short of what it requires for distant study, collaborative work, and other critical activities in a contemporary digital economy. The government should open up spectrum access and encourage investments in wireless and cable networks to expand public internet access beyond what is controlled by mobile phone carriers.
The absence of inexpensive access devices is the second most significant restriction. A previous administration squandered time and money on the idea of creating an indigenous low-cost tablet from the ground up a decade ago.
This attempt was a complete failure. However, relatively excellent Android tablets are already available for the same price as smartphones, and a subsidy may make them accessible to a much larger number of Indians. A scheme to collect and restore outdated tablets (and laptops) for India's millions of teachers and students, in particular, would not be prohibitively expensive. Teacher education is the third barrier that must be overcome. In reality, if instructors are given tablets or laptops and trained how to use them successfully, including how to obtain relevant content, their standing, as well as their own human capital, will rise, and they will be able to provide an effective channel for their pupils to access information.
If all of this seems very simplistic, it's because the conceptual stages are simple and apparent. The challenge lies in the finer points of execution, such as directing resources to the most effective areas. The three basic components of saving education in India are public digital infrastructure, low-cost access devices, and well-trained instructors. Everything else will fall into place once all three are in place.