Reinventing Education

From healthcare to transportation, everything has changed rapidly in the past 500 years. But the last big innovation in education was printing press and textbooks. Education hasn’t really changed. And it was that way until past few years.

Access to quality education is also difficult for families which couldn’t afford private schools. In India, the government education was ill-famed for recurrently irregular teachers, lack of adequate facilities and low quality of education system.

In recent years though, education system has seen a reform both at the country level and at a global scale. Increase in government initiatives to take quality education to village-level has revolutionized access to education for people with low income. The widespread of ease of internet access brought quality education to government instructors. And at a global level, the shift in education is revolutionary. With the rise in popularity of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) often offered by top level institutions, aims to bring high quality education for everyone and not just elite few.

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is the Indian Government Initiative to provide free and compulsory education to children between ages 6 to 14. Though being in implementation from 2001-02, with Right to Education act coming to force on April 1, 2010, SSA was able to acquire necessary legal force for its implementation. With this in place, the government also launched Rashtriya Madhyamika Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) in 2009 for development of secondary education schools throughout India.

Both these initiatives are focused on improving the quality of education along with facilities in the government run schools and also provide free education till secondary school. There are reported to be 2.38 lakh schools, out of which 42% are government run, across the country with total 3.9 crore total enrolments till now and a 78% of passed students in class X. The reported facilities include laboratories, libraries, residential areas, art and craft rooms and toilet facilities. Educational reforms introduced by the state ensured quality training of teachers every year. This will definitely improve over time thereby enabling basic education to all children in the country.

While a definite progress had been made in the past decade to improve Indian Education system, the global education trend also had a massive reform. TED Speaker Shai Reshef says that higher education is changing “from being a privilege for the few to a basic right, affordable and accessible for all.” This revolution was possible due to the vision of educators around the globe to enable world class education to all. Founder of Khan Academy, Salman Khan, spoke at TED 2011 on the success of how his video education helped students globally access quality education.

MIT is famous not only as a top institute for education, but also for its OpenCourseWare (OCW), the first proof-of-concept published in 2002, to use the Internet in pursuit of MIT’s mission—to advance knowledge and educate students. This is the first instance of a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC), on success of which numerous other MOOCs started.

Daphne Kohler, founder of Coursera, was a third generation college going student, who used to play around her father’s university lab and attended some of the best universities. When she realized that she had been privileged to get such best education, many others in the world struggle to find access to even basic education. In TEDGlobal 2012, she talked about how these MOOC platforms like COursera are beneficial for those who do not have access to quality education. Anant Agarwal, the founder of another MOOC platform edX, talked about the importance of MOOC and why it will still matter in foreseeable future and beyond at TED 2013.

There are numerous MOOCs hosted from experts around the world right now on various subjects and topics. Coursera, Udacity, MIT OCW, edX, Udemy,Khan  Academy are some of the popular ones.

With this shift in best educational practices, the future of accessible quality education to all is no longer a dream.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *