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What’s In For The Edtech Sector In Budget 2017-18

What’s In For The Edtech Sector In Budget 2017-18

Our education system is experiencing a natural growth and this growth has been worth admiring. From education being made available to the remotest parts of India to the introduction of new curriculums, the trajectory is consistently going up. Something that will help this consistency is the introduction of new and tech driven methods to teaching and other educational activities.

We must admit that each student is unique and that they learn things their own way. Many students don’t know their own potential and find that memorising answers is the best way to pass an upcoming exam. The problem with that? Such a memory without context is short lived; you ask them the same question 2 weeks after the exam and see if they remember it.

What they don’t seem to forget though is a documentary on Biggest Food Factories in India that they may have seen on the Discovery Channel. So, what changed? How can watching a moving picture be better than reading a 200 page book, right? Well, for a student, that is what appeals. Digitised experience of slides and videos helps them link incidence or concepts better.

This has clearly been noticed by the education sectors in many countries and they have introduced such methods of teaching students. Everything has become digitised and education seems to be moving towards a platform everyone is familiar with. The cloud!

The hope is that this year a progressive number of schools in India take advantage of the growth in technology and find innovative ways of teaching. Schools should groom their faculty and support staff to engage with students using digital networking mediums! Use apps that help with learning, blogs, podcasts etc. The possibilities are endless.

The government however holds the major cards. Many private schools have been able to digitise learning but it is the government schools that seem to lag due to various reasons. High quality education isn’t always accessible to these children but that can change.

Technology can change it and that is exactly what we expect the government to take care of. Here are few expectations from the government in upcoming budget session for year 2017-18 in edtech sector.

Digitise The Overall Teaching And Student Grooming Activities

Firstly, digitise the overall teaching and student grooming activities to help each individual get a new approach to learning. Schools can also begin with a tech-based automated system that helps them keep a track of each student’s progress. This would help them understand the mindset of students and help them where necessary. As far as help goes, schools need counsellors ‘established counselling set-ups’ that can connect with students on a one-one basis and understand their needs and help them accordingly.

Compulsory Career Counselling Setup

CBSE has already announced for all the schools following its curriculum to mandatory have career counselling setup. However, there are very few schools that have actually implemented the same. This is primarily because of two problems at hand. One, handful of digital systems to support schools with such activities, and next, lack of certified counsellors in India. We expect that government will find some space in its budget to fund such initiatives that can act as a foundation to major digital changes to follow.

Provide Facilities To Enable Practical Learning

Personally in terms of expectations, another aspect the government can help with is provide facilities to enable practical learning. We already know that our Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about the importance of students learning life skills and we can’t help but agree on this fact. The World Health Organisation (WHO) described life skills as “abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life”. This really highlights the importance and need of such skills.

Add Programs To Help Students Learn Life Skills

Schools need to take this opportunity and add programs specially designed to help students learn life skills and 21st Century skills. This interestingly will also have an effect on their student profile. Everything students do during school that enhances their skills and knowledge can be considered as academic & extra/co-curricular achievements. All this can be and is being used during admission into top colleges! For example, 60% of top colleges and universities in India look for students who have done things beyond academics and have demonstrated interest in the field that they are applying for.

Programmes that build life skills and 21st century skills impact other areas of a student’s life i.e. thinking, research, and communication skills! These are the exact skills top universities look for! Such programs coupled with technological advancements in schools will leave a lasting impact on the lives of students and their road to career success.

Conclusion

This year we expect an increase in the budget allocation and a special attention to make career counselling in schools of the utmost importance. Reiterating on the fact again that CBSE has already made it compulsory for students to receive periodic counselling. Government schools should also follow this trend. Our experiences in counselling students show how starved of information they are and the delight they get when the right path is shown.

This budget should enable all schools to bring in established counsellors for their students. Especially for Govt. Schools because these students need guidance on how they can change their life around and achieve their dreams even under situations of limited infrastructural and financial support.

Hope is said to be something that you wait for with eager expectation. As such, my hope is that teachers recognise the need for counselling in schools and aim toward becoming certified counsellors by taking up programs like the UCLA Career Guidance Programme.

The fact of the matter is that our future is in the hands of these students. They will grow up to be leaders, entrepreneurs, inventors etc. but they won’t achieve their potential unless we help them now. That’s our responsibility and it is one we must fulfill.

[The author of this post is Jaideep Gupta, CEO & founder, Univariety.]