Edupreneurs must fill gaps in education system : Manish Sisodia
With double digit economic growth demanding a sustained supply of knowledge workers, India has emerged as one of the world’s largest consumer of education services with a target population of more than 445 million (between age group of 5-24 years), which is expected to increase to approximately 486 million by 2025, according to a report.
Technology nowadays is invincible in every aspect of life. With the introduction of technology in education, many entrepreneurs are venturing into EdTech brands, thus, integrating education with technology.
“Technology cannot replace classroom system but can support it,” said Manish Sisodia, Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister of Delhi, at the India Education Entrepreneurship Day 2016 organised by TIE-Delhi, NCR. “Some edupreneurships can be started using certain technology and so one size cannot fit all,” he added.
Talking about his experience as the education minister of Delhi, he explained that there are many gaps in Indian education that need to be filled and so he invites entrepreneurs to come out with startups to fill them. The gaps mentioned by him are those in infrastructure, budget and lack of teacher training. “Teachers are teaching the same way as they used to 20 years back whereas children are more into technology and know how to operate apps,” he said. “We’re coming out with schemes for sending teachers to Finland, Singapore and visit other top Indian universities to see the best practices of teaching followed by the schools and adapting the similar practices,” he further added. He also spoke about the BA Teacher program to be launched by his government in Delhi.
Smart classrooms, which are slowly and steadily replacing the traditional classrooms having chalks and blackboard, are the new thing in metro cities. According to Shantanu Prakash, MD, Educomp Solutions, “Presently in India, there are 30 thousand smart classrooms educating children using technology.” Questioning the urgent need for smart classrooms, Sisodia stated that the government can go ahead with digitalising classrooms, but according to a government survey, 74 per cent of children in India studying in grade 6 and 68 per cent of students of grade 2 could not read their textbooks properly. So he called for entrepreneurs to work on reducing this gap. He recommended the new entrants to visit schools and talk to teachers and students to understand the problems at the grassroot level. He gave assurance of full support by his government in Delhi.
Debating on why government did not allow profit structure in education, he told the gathering that the government will provide the best education at school levels and invited private institutions to come in as charitable trusts.
By 2030, India will be amongst the youngest nations in the world with nearly 140 million people in the college-going age group. One in every four graduates in the world will be a product of the Indian higher education system according to a study by Ernst & Young. Every year almost 2,50,000 students clear their 12th grade out of which 1,50,000 students go to government colleges. The intake of the rest is a major cause of worry. The minister said that they are planning to increase the seats by 5,000 in existing colleges and are coming out with new campuses and colleges, but the main solution according to him lies in developing the skills. He gave an example of a tourism student taken to Qutub Minar as a part of getting practical exposure whereas he should be taken to visiting a person making his career in tourism. This, according to him would provide a realistic exposure to the child.
As most parents are concerned about the physical well being of their children along with mental well being, they tend to enroll their children into various sports activities. Throwing light on how the sports ground of schools are put to use after 3, Sisodia said that 70 schools have opened up for sports and other activities after school.
In a nutshell, the Indian education system has a lot of scope for innovation and growth. Entrepreneurs should explore the sector as there is a wide scope for a lot of opportunities and challenges. However, if one decides to work in the education sector, they should realise that when it comes to delivering education, personal gains must be balanced with the ultimate objective of meeting the learning objectives of the students.