Can cloud computing bridge the gap in learning
Indian students are warming up to the EdTech platforms to enhance their learning experience. According to Tracxn Technologies, India now has over 4,000 EdTech start-ups offering OTT mobile/desktop apps that provide coaching on different subjects relevant to Indian students.Updated: Oct 30, 2019, 14:12 IST
The rapid pace of technology dispersion is altering every aspect of our lives. Though technology is playing an integral role in India, its adoption in some of the country’s sectors has been slow, with a key area being education. The utilization of PowerPoint presentations, video narrations, projectors, and other gadgets have come a long way in education institutions, but in terms of IT infrastructure, these same institutions, especially schools, display a limited strategic vision.
Contrariwise, Indian students are warming up to the EdTech platforms to enhance their learning experience. According to Tracxn Technologies, India now has over 4,000 EdTech start-ups offering OTT mobile/desktop apps that provide coaching on different subjects relevant to Indian students. These applications capture students’ imaginations by using the latest technologies and cloud computing services. More importantly, these apps make education a high engagement activity for students and improve the learning process. Now being used by millions of students across the country, these EdTech apps are a rage among learners of all kinds and testifies that Indian students are more than ready to embrace tech-influenced education.
Addressing the other challenges with technology
New age technologies hold many advantages besides making the learning process more interesting for students. India’s government understands the positive impact that cloud computing will have on the education sector and therefore it is investing more than Rs. 1 lakh crore in an initiative called RISE (Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education) that has a sharp focus on merging the new-age technologies such as cloud computing, AI and VR with the education system. If optimized, cloud computing – coupled with other technological capabilities – can help bridge many perennial gaps in the education industry; such as quality, reach and cost of education.
The biggest challenge in the Indian education system is the existing quality of education. In most of the institutions, the course curriculum is not updated regularly to be in line with global developments. To understand the gravity of this issue, let us look at the scenario for future jobs– which is the primary reason for undertaking education in the first place. As per a report by FICCI-EY-NASSCOM, 9% of the young Indian workforce in 2022 will be deployed in jobs that do not even exist today; whereas 37% workforce will be deployed in jobs with radically altered skill sets.
Hence, to fill this gap, cloud computing can be optimized to deliver standardized courses from a central location to multiple classrooms. The cloud-enabled infrastructure can ensure seamless updates in course content as required and can be delivered to multiple classrooms at the same time with agility. Also, cloud infrastructure is highly scalable to shoulder big data, with on-tap provision for research and analysis on the data which can allow teachers to present content matter that is thoroughly researched.
The primary factors that make education a distant dream for many in India are either the unavailability of education or, if available, the high costs that come with it. Cloud computing can address both issues. This is as remote classrooms enabled by the cloud can help in running multiple classrooms with a small group of teachers whilst also helping to overcome the lack of skilled teachers or the physical school infrastructures in more remote areas. The cloud can also play a massive role in delivering education by using streaming on the web. This is because it can be used as an innovative platform for delivering classroom lectures; enabling seamless collaboration between teachers and students, irrespective of their locations. At the same time, students and teachers can collaborate on studies, projects using collaboration solutions offered on the cloud.
By utilizing cloud platforms, education institutes can not only reach out to students across states, but also across countries with despite limited staff – thereby limiting the costs of education delivery. As the cost of delivering education goes down, students’ fees can be lowered accordingly.
Streamlining administrative work
Besides imparting education, teachers in India’s education system are also responsible for various administrative tasks. The cloud enables education institutions smoothen out their administrative responsibilities, which then enables them to focus on their core activity of teaching. For instance, CRM systems can help maintain large volumes of data, such as students’ details as well as their academic performances and growth. These systems can also be a great help when it comes to managing recruitments, admissions, and other manually intensive tasks. Also, business Intelligence platforms enable teachers to use analytics in the classroom and helps in evaluating and establishing a course curriculum with ease.
Beyond bridging the traditional gaps in the education industry, cloud computing has the power to help Indian education institutions to not only narrowing the educational gap with global peers, but – if implemented well – leapfrog them to become leading global education providers. The upside is that governmental efforts are now being supplemented by many existing IT players; with new players also emerging with innovative cloud-enabled products to reposition the value of IT within the mindsets of professionals working in education sector.
Hence, the inclusion of cloud computing with other new-age technologies in the education system is an inevitable trend that is waiting to help the sector pick up pace.
(he author is founder & CEO, Builder.ai. Views expressed here are personal.)