India/January 05, 2023/
Phy-gital education has the potential to empower adults, especially women, to resume or continue their education and serve as an engine of economic growth for the country
These famous words resonated the most strongly when the pandemic hit. Online education saw an unprecedented rise and adoption. But something was missing. Students struggled with this transition while teachers struggled with keeping students engaged. With the gamification of learning and recorded video sessions, students missed the human touch, social engagement and face-to-face time with teachers and each other. According to a recent UNICEF survey, 80 per cent of students aged 14 to 18 reported lower levels of learning during the pandemic than while physically present at school, and at least more than 42 per cent of children between the ages 6 to 13 did not have any access to remote education during school closure. The shift to remote learning also resulted in a gap in education due to the unavailability of technology and relevant tools to students in remote areas.
This brings us to 2022 and the era of phy-gital education: also known as the combination of the best of physical and digital education. Phy-gital education provides real-time access of courses and teachers to students through state-of-the-art technology, irrespective of their location. This is made possible by internet connectivity that penetrates rural India via satellite, land cables and underground cables and Voice Over Internet Protocol technology, provided by tech companies. Take this visual in – On Campus uninterrupted Wi-Fi, air-conditioned classrooms, computer access for every student, audio-visual screens for streaming relevant content, and dedicated servers along with spaces for students to interact, mingle and enjoy the sense of community and kinship. This model pf phy-gital centres are what would bring in the true transformation.
India is abundant with quality teachers, institutions and organisations. A phy-gital centre would allow these same teachers, institutions and organisations to access students in varied parts of the country without relocation or the capital expense of setting up a new unit from scratch. Imagine if top Indian universities could conduct their courses in remote parts of India and make it a level playing field for every student!
The introduction of phy-gital education also comes with its share of mental health benefits for children. By attending classes phy-gitally, children are exposed to world-class education, in their hometowns. This helps alleviate the stress of moving to a big city for quality education and the expenses that come attached with the move. Instead of uprooting students from their homes, we need to think of innovative ways to bring the phy-gital model to them.
Phy-gital education has the potential to transform India as it provides access like never before with reimagined techniques and new technology. It can also empower adults, especially women, to resume or continue their education and serve as an engine of economic growth for India. This could be the answer we’ve been looking for when it comes to joining the ranks of developed countries with a growing population of educated people. After all, as they say, a country’s future is shaped in its classrooms. And it looks like that transformative classroom is a phy-gital one.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors’ and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house