The education sector of India is currently an amalgamation of maximas and minimas. Somewhere in a remote Indian village, a 10-year-old paathshala student is struggling to learn about the Mauryan Empire through tattered NCERT books. On the other hand, a private school student in Delhi has an encyclopedia and a projector at his disposal to look up the Mauryan Empire in-depth. These maximas and minimas can be normalized through online education. It is needed especially in higher studies, suggests Jaro Education CEO, Sanjay Salunkhe.
Luckily, online education made its debut in the early-to-mid-2000s. It is still evolving, as education technology companies are connecting schools and students from all over the country onto a single platform. Courses that you once had to enroll in a distant campus, in a different state, are now available online.
The Jaro Education CEO, and Sarvesh Agarwal (Internshala CEO) agree that it’s boosting higher studies the most. The cost of traditional education has gone up more than 175% of what it was in 2008. The costs of online courses are much lower and the curriculum is more expanded. In some of the courses, students get to question experts themselves.
There’s also the factor of flexibility. A working professional can opt for online classes on weekends that saves him/her time. In some cases, like Jaro Education’s International Executive MBA, students can join a course from a foreign university and avail its valuable degree. Skype sessions and online classrooms are helpful for the teachers as they have flexible teaching timings and can earn more per day than teaching in a classroom. Students who sign up for the online classes are serious about their education too.
Online education is still not widespread, majorly due to the attitude of both the students and parents. They see it as a risky channel for learning. You can blame it on the lack of infrastructure that poorly manages virtual classrooms and educative online platforms.
Although India has over 409 million internet users, the average bandwidth of India is only 6.5 Mbps. This is lower than the global average of 7.2 Mbps. Hence, students will always find problems streaming hour long videos. To compensate the video speed, low settings are applied, garbling information in the process.
Imagine management professionals from tribal areas of Chhattisgarh that are usually disconnected from the outside world. “Sure, the Digital India movement is making things easier, but the country needs a dedicated framework to push online learning”, suggests Sanjay Salunkhe. The government needs to take a special interest in establishing virtual classrooms and promoting online education. No village should be left behind.