Technology in Indian Education System: A Boon or A Bane

Indian Schoolgirl writing on a blackboard

Education is crucial for the growth of a nation. Education helps build a knowledge base and knowledgeable youth that ultimately become the building blocks of any nation.  The better a country’s youth is educated the better chances the country has on the global front. However, there are certain exceptions to this notion. Nobel Laureate, Bharat Ratna and a world-renowned economist Prof. Dr. Amartya Sen said that India is the only country trying to become a Global Superpower with an uneducated and unhealthy workforce.

India was once known for its excellent international universities such as Nalanda Vishwavidyalay and Takshila. They catered to the thousands of foreign students coming to India during those times to India to gain knowledge. The current scenario is unimpressive at large. Though many students still come to India, especially for their higher education, the numbers have steeply declined. Moreover, the quality has deteriorated beyond imagination.

The Indian education system performs poorly year on year and among the 149 countries, it ranked very low at 94. Many countries with far low GDP and slow economic growth rate have scored better than India constantly. This proves to be a major hurdle for India when compared to the major powers such as the US, China, Russia, France and Germany.

It is high time that India focuses on changing the way we have been imparting knowledge to our next generations. The same old method will not work in the new era especially with the advent of the internet and related technologies.

Luckily, the growth of edtech, short for Education technologies can be witnessed in the country. The biggest of them all is Byju’s. This is the 4th largest Unicorn of India with a valuation north of $4 billion. This startup has seen numerous investments from various VC firms, tech giants of the world and foundations working in the fields of education and social development.

Byju's logo on a smartphone and laptop
However, the data shows that Byju’s is an outlier in the group consisting of over 3500 edtech startups. There have been funding worth of over $1.1 billion but out of that 66% went to just Byju’s. This shows that the other startups have either not received any funds or received scantily. An Inc42 report sheds light on the fact that out of more than 3500 edtech startups, only 177 have received funding. Moreover, $147 million was shared among 166startups in this sector over the period of 4 years.

This paints a grim picture of the edtech in India. The only lotus in the puddle is Byju’s that has unexpectedly become the largest edtech startup in the entire world. The difference is pretty vast and threatening as well. If there is no competition to Byju’s then there is a high chance of monopoly over this market.

Modern parents are no better than their previous generations. They are still craving for marks in schools and the same old education streams such as engineering and medicine. These have led to an immense amount of pressure among the Indian kids. We have witnessed numerous counts of suicides happening in not only schools but many reputed institutions such as IITs.

It is expected that collaborating technology with the present education system will have a positive impact on the students. Technology has the power to create the education contents attractive, which the traditional method finds very difficult. Moreover, the students are always stuck to one or the other smart devices in their homes and surroundings. Therefore, instead of attacking them with useless games and videos, it is better to keep them engaged with informative contents. Startups such as Byju’s have been very successful due to the interesting way they opted to teach the students. It is very different from traditional methods via books or blackboards in classes.

Technology has always proved to be a boon in every field, provided it has been used in a productive manner. If misused (for example – Blue whale game), the same technology can be utterly disastrous and such misuse should be avoided at any cost. Indian education system still needs to go a long way before anyone could say that it is in a transformational phase. However, the new edtech startups show a ray of hope for the upcoming generation or Gen Z in the country.

There is a huge opportunity provided by the changing dynamics of the Indian education system. Technology plays an important role. For the rapid growth of this sector, more funds are required by the edtech startups. The returns seem to very high in future.

-Soumya De

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