How are EdTech companies recognising and bridging the gap between students who can and can not afford technology?
By Mridul Ranjan Sahu, Co-founder, CuriousJr
During the lockdown, the digital divide between India’s rural and urban areas was not only prominent in education, but also in telemedicine, e-commerce, banking, and e-governance, all of which became accessible only through the internet. Online classrooms, financial transactions, and e-governance all require internet service as well as the capacity to use internet-enabled devices such as phones, tablets, and computers.
While there has always been a digital gap between major cities and rural areas, the pandemic has highlighted the urgent need to close it. The Covid-19 pandemic in India provided young businesses a new outlook on life, allowing them to fully realise the possibilities of a global change from an on-site and in-person to a digital world.
While many industries hopped right into bridging the gap, EdTech startups and companies also recognised the divide and worked towards it.
The EdTech industry is seeing a wide range of digital and hardware solutions. Despite this, many potential customers—especially students in India’s rural areas—are unaware of these offerings. because of a lack of digital and internet penetration in India’s rural and remote areas.
Technology in education has become a household phenomenon. What appeared to be a gradual transition in perceptions toward technology in the classroom has now become a highly effective tool to help students learn through the pandemic. There is a worldwide demand for educational technology, and governments all over the world are embracing it.
EdTech startups and companies have begun to consider how to bridge the gap between students who can and cannot afford high-tech education. To address the diversity of Indian languages and reach more students across the country, EdTechs are developing high-quality e-content in local languages. They’re also combining education systems and technology to provide skill development courses, virtual labs, virtual vocational training, and developing digital classrooms. For those students who are unable to commute, EdTechs are developing frameworks for assessments in the digital age and ensuring a consistent user experience through multi-mode access to education via mobile apps, web portals, TV channels, radio, and podcasts, so that education is not limited to a single device.
Furthermore, expanding the use of mobile phones will be a priority for providing complete access to anytime, anywhere e-content and e-infrastructure to all learners in schools in order to provide anytime, anywhere access and boost penetration. Many EdTech platforms are also exploring the use of e-learning materials to help teachers upgrade their skills and fulfil the new standards.
Over 290 million students are enrolled in India’s educational system, with more than half of those enrolled in public schools. The private and public education systems in India are well renowned for displaying a clear divide between the haves and the have-nots. Students in the public school system have suffered significantly as a result of the pandemic, with families unable to support tech integrations in their children’s academics due to a lack of financial and infrastructural resources.
For these students, this leaves a wide gap of missed opportunities. This divide can be addressed by making simple efforts and seizing the chance to reach out to these people. In tier 2 cities, the advent of affordable smartphones and affordable internet connectivity such as 4G enabled students to learn while using their smartphones as well as learn in the languages they know and are comfortable with.
Mobile Learning provides numerous benefits such as instant note-taking, commenting, and feedback, creating and improving communication, student community builder, and many more. Mobile makes content distribution more accessible and affordable, with laptop-oriented content and learning methods available to those willing to pay extra. Mobile usage has become extremely interactive, which is an excellent approach to learn because it allows you to see the outcome of learning. As a result of technological advancements, quality education may be made accessible and affordable via mobile phones.
EdTech platforms are making their services available on all devices so that anyone can access education. This helps in bridging the gap between students who can and cannot afford expensive technology.