Challenges of building an EdTech ecosystem in India

By Priya Chetty & Shruti Thakur on April 19, 2019

Technology in education is mainly being used in the primary education sector of India with students watching stories instead of reading or cramming alphabets and grammar or science in an interactive form (Watson, Watson and Reigeluth, 2015). On the other hand, the EdTech has been introduced only in secondary and higher secondary schools. It is yet to include education technology-based devices due to infrastructure and network management issues (Yadav, Gupta and Khetrapal, 2018). Nevertheless, some devices that make up the part of education technology presently in India are personal computers, laptops, mobile phones and tablets.

Education technology-based learning devices

In terms of tools for education technology, they include gamification, simulation, digitized dialogues, and interactive whiteboards, among others (Shrivastav and Hiltz, 2013). Gamification involves use of games (individual-based or group based) to create an engaging atmosphere such as basketball games to teach the theory of parabola. Simulation is also another EdTech (Education Technology) technique used which involves the use of virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) to have an interactive and engaging routine to teach students. Here, devices like Google Cardboard or any other VR headset can be used to mount smartphones and start VR or AR applications for learning (Lone, 2017).

Digitized dialogues help teachers teach students in a better way, where a teacher is not sure of their pedagogy skills. This also helps students understand better without having to rely on separate tutoring. Another device is interactive whiteboards, which can be used with projectors in a classroom, enabling students to learn from audio-visual simulations. This also gives the teacher to manipulate the simulation on the whiteboard using a mouse or stylus to aid understanding. EduComp specifically relies on this tool to further EdTech in many secondary and senior secondary schools in India. Lenovo has also launched “Lenovo Slate”, an interactive tablet in collaboration with an EdTech company- ConveGenius- in 2017 (Raveendran, 2017).

Infrastructure sets the standards of EdTech

Technology has evolved and advanced rapidly across the globe and has also penetrated the everyday lives of Indians, but is slow in transforming the education sector of India. The penetration of smartphones has encompassed the urban and rural geography of India as its consumer base. However, the quality of network access and infrastructural deficiencies make education technology in secondary and higher secondary schools a sore point (Rajvanshi, 2017). Some private education institutions have managed to provide an above average EdTech experience. While other private schools have managed to establish a good Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure.

In the case of government schools, however, network and infrastructure are not up to the mark (MHRD, 2018). In this case, teachers at these schools need to manage processes in a way to raise their voices and create an awareness of the need for ICT and digitized education system. The Government of India is working to revamp the education sector. One such scheme is the Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE). It involves the establishment of cloud computing and virtual reality-based processes. The government, as of February 2018, have also kept aside a budget of INR 1 Lakh Crore for the same (Agarwal, 2018). Also, schools can enrol in the massive open online courses (MOOC) to better develop their teachers and students as per the current standards of education. Training courses like “Swayam” and “Diksha” help teachers and students keep up with new education technology. Such training courses are meant to provide teachers with digital technology-based solutions for their classes. Such steps can help schools overcome their EdTech network as well as infrastructure limitations (Pramanik, 2018).

Taking the right step ahead

The transformation of traditional pedagogy to digitalized teaching has its limitations due to network and infrastructural deficiencies (Rajvanshi, 2017). Another factor that has the ability to restrain the widespread of EdTech process in schools is the lack of infrastructure. Remote villages are most affected as, unlike their urban counterparts. Most of these regions do not have access to a high-speed network. Moreover, these also suffer from average pedagogical processes in place (Ratrey, 2017). However, initiatives are being taken by the government to improve the ICT condition of many schools.

Initiatives are being taken to rapidly improve the infrastructure of schools. In the 2018 budget, the cabinet minister Mr Jaitley announced that efforts are being made to convert teaching process from Blackboard to digital whiteboards. The government has already started several online skill updragation programs such as Diksha, Sankalp, Strive and Swayam (Agarwal, 2018). Such initiatives can help digitize education in India and help change the education ecosystem of the country.


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