March 2019
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Riding the Information Highway in Indian education

ICTpost Education Bureau

 Schools in the 21st century will be required to be laced with a project-based curriculum for life aimed at engaging students in addressing real-world problems, issues important to humanity, and questions that matter

Schools in the 21st century will be required to be laced with a project-based curriculum for life aimed at engaging students in addressing real-world problems, issues important to humanity, and questions that matter

Indian Government is planning to connect around 2.5 lakh villages by fibre optics to build an information highway and a plethora of courses will be made available online.

In the modern world, skimming through information quickly and finding the important nuggets of knowledge from amongst the information overload is an essential skill. One way to train oneself for this kind of literacy is reading on the internet, which requires continuous assessment of search results and specifying searches.

As India prepares for a GER (gross enrolment ratio ) of 30% by 2020, the country needs a range of out-of-the-box solutions.
The Information highway or the Internet has changed the way the world goes about doing things. It is one more point in a long continuum of inventions that is set to revolutionize lifestyles. One is inclined to ask, how does the ability of computers to talk to each other improve the learning process in the classroom?

New kind of learning
Personal computers and the Information Superhighway are rapidly transforming India. Already, the Internet is making large amounts of information available at unprecedented speeds. When this revolution makes itself fully felt in schools, teachers and students will have virtually instantaneous access to vast amounts of information and a wide range of learning tools. If we guide the information revolution wisely, these resources will be available not only to affluent suburban schools but also to rural school districts and inner-city schools. Broad access can reduce differences in the quality of online education and give children in all areas new opportunities to learn. Used well, this transforming technology can play a major role in school reform.

For young people, crossing the information highway involves new literacies of reading, interpreting, producing, editing, and organizing printed texts, the popular media, and the Internet. They access television, digital video, digital radio, and digital music and surf the Internet while doing homework; they listen to music and have the television turned on at the same time. Like all of us, these students find themselves in a communication society where information is available around the world almost as soon as it is created.

A variety of sources has become available at a click of a button — e-books, e-advertising, digital photography, e-magazines, e-journals, newspapers, collections of stories and poems, reports, and diaries. Some require Internet access while others are available on CD-ROM. These new electronic media are powerful aids for teaching and learning, but few students are willing to accept the fact that they may contain messages that could harm them or that harbor bias, specific ideologies, or prejudices of all kinds — racial, economic, gender, political, and moral. How can educators engage the current generation of learners in the literacies of the 21st century and in conversations about the media discourses they are experiencing?

Education is a fundamental human process; it is a matter of values and action. The cluster of technologies called the Internet has the ability to complement, to reinforce, and to enhance the educational process. It will take the focus of education from the institution to the student. The Internet has come to befriend, dwell with, and live beyond, both, the teacher and the student. Indian wisdom says, “It takes an entire village to raise a child”.

For enabling the reverse knowledge flow
Rural masses possess variety of traditional technologies. The harnessing of information, communication and networking technologies will enable reverse knowledge flow. This will enable two-way exchange of knowledge between urban and rural and developed and under-developed economies. For India to become a software super power, it has to develop professionals of international calibre for software development, content creation and services management. The new IT policy enabled India to generate the necessary technical manpower for the development of software using the multi-sector resources. The policies that have focussed on providing quality education in the IT sector have worked well in terms of producing large amount of manpower to fulfill the requirements of theIndia has used the e-talented manpower availability as the economic advantage for positioning itself as software super power in the global scenario.

Ensuring access to quality education for all, in particular for the poor and rural population, is central to the economic and social development of India.
The Indian Education system is second largest in the world after USA. Technical education market in India was estimated at  Rs 63 billion in 2011-12. Currently India spends around 5 percent of average household income on education, which is slated to grow at a CAGR of 10 percent over the next few years.

In developing countries, with large segments of the population living in extreme levels of poverty, it seems reasonable that new technologies would be relegated to the hard sciences for tangible development. Whether or not new technologies are relegated to hard or soft science, computer research must be conducted to determine how the technology can benefit developing countries.