With the growing conglomerate of online education companies and organisations, it is highly expected that India would finally capitalise on the lag in its higher education system. The growing divide in public and private education in India can finally be tackled given equal budgetary aid and effective execution of the same on the ground. In an article in the Times of India, dated 29th May 2015, it was mentioned that – Students from Private Schools fare leaps and bounds ahead of Public Counterparts in CBSE exams. This provides us with the notion that the situation is grim even after 60 years of our independence. The only way such a divide can be bridged is by utilising E- learning and online learning in classrooms both in post matriculate schools, University and Graduate schools respectively.
A website called Coursera, recently recognized by Michelle Obama, provides online courses through collaborations with various Universities all across the world. The courses are all free and provide free certificates of completion to people who complete all the quizzes and peer evaluation assignments in the respective courses. Given the current state of courseware in India (and many other countries), where textual education is triumphant over practical knowledge, there is a huge scope for betterment if Online courses are adopted in the daily timetable (after/during lectures). For example, the B.A. Economics Honours course in the University of Delhi consists of important laws extradited over time but knowledge about their application is barred to students. A student interested in the application of such laws in real life policy decisions is restricted from the same. Hence it is advisable that college professors engage in providing at least once – a – week practical knowledge lectures with the help of such online courses.
There are, however, some other issues that have to be addressed. In the University of Delhi, computer labs offer free access to all the students. However, their lack of knowledge of certain courseware bars them from attaining the knowledge that they crave for. Hence, it is essential for professors to educate the students about such courses. There are quite a few benefits for students who gain knowledge from such websites. The video-based knowledge helps the students to digest the information better than textual knowledge. This is a proved fact and there is scientific explanation proving this phenomenon. Adding to that, the testing mechanism in such courses is quite different from the normal testing mechanism. Salman Khan, founder of Khan Academy explained in a TED Talk that if students fail to get satisfactory marks in exams they are promoted to the next class/year without proper mastery of the basics taught in the current year. So, online courseware websites aim at eradicating this issue. Their testing mechanism, asks the students to retry giving the same exam twice or thrice within a stipulated period, enough for the student to go through the videos until there is a satisfactory mastery of the course. While some academics argue that this process is extremely time-consuming, it does not negate the fact that the social benefits of such a system is better than the orthodox testing mechanism.
Another benefit is that professors from India have a better chance of understanding the kind of courses offered in distinguished universities like Harvard, Stanford, other ivy league Colleges and many other Universities. This improves the worldwide cooperation between various universities and the Indian diaspora. It is therefore extremely necessary that in the near future, such online courses are propagated in the academic curriculum.
Well, the question which arises is what India has got to benefit from such a system?
The answer is fairly simple, not only for India but for other developing countries as well. The only way to sustain a better future is by educating the younger generation with effective and efficient education methodologies. The more creative ideas are a result of proper education in the higher education system, provided secondary education has not been abysmal. With proper execution and lack of red tape in the education sector, this is possible. It is optimistic to expose students to the latest technology so that they are not left clueless while they reach the stage at which they will contribute to society. Many studies have shown the positive effects of E- learning, and all across developed countries, E- learning has been at the forefront of the education system. In a developing country like India It is therefore necessary that E- learning reaches the lowest strata of the society so that in the near future, we have a strong and stable labour force both in the services and agriculture sector.
About the Author:
Ishaan is currently an Economics student at Motilal Nehru College, University of Delhi. He is an avid policy debater and a writer on key magazines such as DU Beat and An Inception. His aim is to provide the local level municipalities sustainable solutions for the better delivery of basic services. He is also an active campaigner for the legalization of medical marijuana and animal welfare.