In the presence of digital transformation, last-mile connectivity of mobile and data technology, India has witnessed the development of many Tier II and III cities. This has exposed the youth and professionals in those cities to careers in global companies. But how efficient is the education sector in creating opportunities and fair-play in the real world?
India faces a huge issue when it comes to education. Students are taught many things, but practical applications of learnt concepts become an issue. In a real-time setting, this is more apparent in the case of languages and communication. Tier II and Tier III city students have the concepts right but are not able to communicate efficiently due to pronunciation, syntax and other grammatical errors.
The world is getting smaller and businesses are expanding rapidly to serve people across the globe. In such a scenario, working communities have identified English to be the “language of global business”. If one has ever watched sit-coms, they would surely be familiar with ‘Outsourced’, a show that ran for an entire year (from Sept 2010 to May 2011). A major chunk of the sitcom satirised the “Indian accent” in English and the gaps that it created for aspiring professionals in a workplace, emphasising the importance of being fluent in English.
What India needs, is an innovative and effective means that can take English language learning and development to the far corners of the country. One that will enhance existing learning systems and processes giving rise to opportunities for the youth of the nation.
As of 2019, India has over 800 million smartphone users. Over 451 million are connected to the internet. We are one of the fastest developing nations in digital technology and transformation. Yet, we are not able to utilise it to the fullest extent. While ‘ed-tech’ is the term-of-the-day that is involving itself in empowering Tier II and III cities, it is imperative for technology companies to introduce education verticals. With technology as the base, one would be able to conjure many digital education programs that serve the purpose.
Digitisation is in every corner of our lives and this needs to be customised to tackle inefficiencies such as these. There is a need to create immersive processes that connect with today’s youth and provide a better livelihood. Smaller towns are seeing 70% of enrolment into government jobs and offices. The revolution that technology can play in such a set-up is immense. Women empowerment, upliftment of livelihood, rural entrepreneurship are other segments that will react positively, changing the economics of the country.
Merely introducing “tech-ed” apps and software is not enough. Schools, colleges, and parents must be familiarised with the workings and advantages of the changing environment. Modules and chapters must be devised to ensure that everyone can be embedded into the programs. Pilots are a great way to instill confidence in newer processes. Pilots give authenticity to the idea, technology, and programs. Any success story will only reinforce the initial idea. Local talent from non-metro cities is losing out in the big race because of such gaps. The solution is as simple as creating programs that are research-backed and ones in which last-mile connectivity is taken care of. (With respect to digital resources)
Further, such “tech-ed” apps must incentivise users to expand their learning outcomes by providing consistent feedback and encouragement. It’s essential to treat these students as equal stakeholders in the education system and not as beneficiaries of tech philanthropy. These values will then translate into effective learning for the youth. Through this we can build a skilled and valuable workforce for the nation, allowing us to meet the challenges with greater confidence.
By Manit Parikh, Country Manager – India, ELSA Corp