Educomp : How creaking infrastructure is making students disinterested in learning

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The Indian education system is fraught with the age-old practice of rote learning and outdated curriculum besides poor educational infrastructure in the schools. In 2017, the National Achievement
Survey conducted a state-wise analysis for classes 3, 5 and 8. The report highlighted that the schools buildings, as well as the learning environment are in a dire need of transformation. While
creaking desks, cracked ceilings, lack of drinking water and toilet facilities appall the students, the practice of rote learning in the classroom only adds to the woe of the schoolchildren. The
report of the survey was further analyzed by The Times of India, which highlighted how crowded classrooms, staff crunch, and inadequate funds are to blame for poor learning in government schools.
The findings of the survey also revealed that as the students move to higher classes, they learn less, which is a disturbing find. Conducted on 2.2 lakh students in government schools in over 700
districts, the survey also found that on an average, a Class 8 student could barely answer 40% of the questions in subjects like math, science and social studies. The national average score for
language stood at about 56%. The study revealed an alarming trend, given the demographic dividend our country hops to reap due to a young population. However, rights’ activists and educationists
are not surprised, since they believe the current scenario to be a result of insufficiently invested public education, as well as the poor implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act. Given
the magnitude of the problem, the solution also needs an equally effective remedy. One of the most viable ways is promoting the use of education technology, popularly known as ed-tech.



Considered India’s first ed-tech venture, Educomp was rolled out in the ’90s by entrepreneur Shantanu Prakash. Today, the Indian ed-tech scenario is much more well-defined than it was at the time
Educomp Solutions was started. Nevertheless, the concept has garnered attention due to its interactive approach and the bypath it offers despite the infrastructure issues. In a traditional
classroom, the focus remains at the teacher/lecturer. The passive learner receives large chunks of information from the teacher, and is expected to retain them. However, the process fails to bind
the learner’s interest to what’s being taught. That’s where ed-tech steps in. The use of ed-tech setups like SmartClass or a MOOC or even a mobile class allows the learner to adopt a profoundly
active approach to learning, thus creating a classroom which is focused on the learner instead of the teacher. In a classroom that’s made engaging through the use of gadgets and Internet, the
learner actively takes the responsibility for his/her learning. The use of ed-tech also helps learners in building a perspective of their own by subjecting them to a broader pool of information.
The setup promotes analytical and critical thinking – two of the most valuable skills in today’s competitive world. Some educators debate over the utility of involving technology with learning,
worrying that learners might get distracted by the gadgets, getting their progress hindered. However, technology can prove to be a highly effective tool to facilitate teaching and learning, given
that it is implemented in the right way. That said, the utility of technology could help subvert India’s education woes and build a strong education sphere, the likes of which was initiated by
Educomp in the 1990s.

Submitted: June 26, 2018

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Submitted: June 26, 2018

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The Indian education system is fraught with the age-old practice of rote learning and outdated curriculum besides poor educational infrastructure in the schools.

In 2017, the National Achievement Survey conducted a state-wise analysis for classes 3, 5 and 8. The report highlighted that the schools buildings, as well as the learning environment are in a dire need of transformation. While creaking desks, cracked ceilings, lack of drinking water and toilet facilities appall the students, the practice of rote learning in the classroom only adds to the woe of the schoolchildren.

The report of the survey was further analyzed by The Times of India, which highlighted how crowded classrooms, staff crunch, and inadequate funds are to blame for poor learning in government schools.

The findings of the survey also revealed that as the students move to higher classes, they learn less, which is a disturbing find. Conducted on 2.2 lakh students in government schools in over 700 districts, the survey also found that on an average, a Class 8 student could barely answer 40% of the questions in subjects like math, science and social studies. The national average score for language stood at about 56%.

The study revealed an alarming trend, given the demographic dividend our country hops to reap due to a young population. However, rights’ activists and educationists are not surprised, since they believe the current scenario to be a result of insufficiently invested public education, as well as the poor implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act.

Given the magnitude of the problem, the solution also needs an equally effective remedy. One of the most viable ways is promoting the use of education technology, popularly known as ed-tech.
 

Considered India’s first ed-tech venture, Educomp was rolled out in the ’90s by entrepreneur Shantanu Prakash. Today, the Indian ed-tech scenario is much more well-defined than it was at the time Educomp Solutions was started. Nevertheless, the concept has garnered attention due to its interactive approach and the bypath it offers despite the infrastructure issues.

In a traditional classroom, the focus remains at the teacher/lecturer. The passive learner receives large chunks of information from the teacher, and is expected to retain them. However, the process fails to bind the learner’s interest to what’s being taught. That’s where ed-tech steps in.

The use of ed-tech setups like SmartClass or a MOOC or even a mobile class allows the learner to adopt a profoundly active approach to learning, thus creating a classroom which is focused on the learner instead of the teacher. In a classroom that’s made engaging through the use of gadgets and Internet, the learner actively takes the responsibility for his/her learning.

The use of ed-tech also helps learners in building a perspective of their own by subjecting them to a broader pool of information. The setup promotes analytical and critical thinking – two of the most valuable skills in today’s competitive world.

Some educators debate over the utility of involving technology with learning, worrying that learners might get distracted by the gadgets, getting their progress hindered. However, technology can prove to be a highly effective tool to facilitate teaching and learning, given that it is implemented in the right way. That said, the utility of technology could help subvert India’s education woes and build a strong education sphere, the likes of which was initiated by Educomp in the 1990s.


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