Home schooling in India: How ed-tech can be a savior for the nascent system?
When we talk about education, the immediate image that appears in our mind is that of a classroom full of students and a teacher teaching them. Whether it is the government schools or the mainstream private schools, the image of the conventional classroom teaching model remains the same.
However, the last decade witnessed the emergence of several new trends of unconventional education models, which have grown to be popular among students and their parents/guardians alike. Aimed at overcoming the shortages of traditional learning methods, these educational experiments have proven their worth by aiding students perform better.
One such trend is home schooling. While the system is still at a nascent stage in India, studies conducted abroad regarding how home-schooled children go on to perform in their lives show that they are substantially better-off than their conventionally-educated counterparts, especially when it comes to areas of development like independence, life skills and verbal fluency.
Some home-schooled children in India have set quite an example for others too. The youngest person to ever clear the highly competitive IIT-JEE in 2010, Sahal Kaushal had ranked 33 in the country and first in Delhi while he was just 14. On a similar note, Malvika Joshi bagged admission to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) when she was just 17. Both are products of home schooling setup.
The system, despite its proven success, faces hurdles from the RTE Act in India. The Act emphasizes formal education at a school that fulfils the affiliation norms. Although it recognizes the National Institute of Open Schooling’s (NIOS) Open Basic Education (OBE) programme, the students are still conformed to the books prescribed by the educational boards, thus falling into the pattern of rote learning.
That’s where education technology (also known as ed-tech) comes into play. An unconventional mode of education itself, ed-tech is a better established concept in India, thanks to the initiative taken by Shantanu Prakash back in the 90s when he sensed a potential for the industry and founded Educomp Solutions. The company went on to introduce Educomp Smartclass in 2003, something that gained widespread popularity within the next decade.
Today, Educomp’s precedent is followed by several budding startups like BYJU’s, Easy Shiksha, Cuemath etc, some of which have even managed to receive investment from big shots worldwide like the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Tencent Holdings, Sequoia Capital and Verlinvest among others. What makes ed-tech a potential savior for home schooling setup is the fact that it’s not limited to a classroom in a formal school.
No matter how enticing the staying at home and studying at convenience idea might seem, the hard-hitting reality remains that home schooling needs a lot more disciple and better time management than needed at a formal school. Ed-tech can help making the learning process more interesting and less monotonous, all the while enhancing the effectiveness of the education imparted.
While we learn something new, it is either through sight, sound, touch, or a combination of these senses. Hence, people are typically visual learners, auditory learners, or tactile-kinesthetic learners. Learning through ed-tech devices is effective for all three types of learners. Using audio-visuals in conjunction with practical tasks like worksheets or projects aids the students studying at home in retaining the concepts.
Moreover, subject specific videos, especially for science and math, enable students to visualize an abstract or complex concept, thus providing them with a better understanding that conventional modes of education often fail to provide. The setup also inculcates the habit of ‘out of the box’ thinking,.
Unconventional methods of education are slowly transforming the education sector in India. Budding concepts like home schooling can go hand in hand with already established notions like ed-tech to build a consumer base of their own.