PM eVIDYA - a giant step in expansion of digital education
Budget 2022 is aiming to expand the ‘One class, one TV channel' programme of PM eVIDYA from 12 to 200 TV channels. The proposal will enable all states to provide supplementary education in regional languages for classes I to XII.
Talking about the decision, Parmeshwar Iyer, dean, Public Relations, IIT Guwahati says, "The move will help the marginalized sections especially from the rural areas, who do not have good internet connectivity. For many families, the entire household has only one smartphone. Due to this many students face difficulties in attending online classes.''
Teaching through TV had always been a part of information and broadcasting and every Gram Panchayat or household has a television set, notes Silpi Sahoo, chairperson, SAI International Education Group. The pandemic-induced closure of learning centers across India resulted in huge learning losses. Therefore, to counter and address the issue expansion of TV channels from 12 to 200 will prove to be a great move, she adds.
Appreciating the decision, Allan Andersen, director, Chaman Bhartiya School, Bengaluru, says, “While the move should be seen as a one-step-ahead towards digitizing education in India, it, however, does not solve the problem of the digital divide until the internet reaches the villages as one cannot have real online learning with television.
“Through television as a learning medium, students can watch a pre-recorded programme and complete relevant assignments but there is no interaction. Interaction is what makes learning interesting and engaging for a child. In that sense, it is a first step towards digitizing education. There are still many milestones to be achieved,” he says.
Highlighting the benefits of teaching in regional languages, Sahoo says, "Learning in regional language will help and increase student participation. This will reduce the number of dropouts. Moreover the Right to Education Act, 2009, also states that as far as possible, the medium of instruction in school should be the child’s mother tongue."
“The learning outcome remains maximum in mother tongue and regional languages. Such an emphasis by the government will not only enrich the cultural diversity of India but also work as a citadel for quality education. However, one needs to focus on learning of English to harness the fruits of globalisation,” says Jai Parkash, lecturer, Deptt of Education, Govt of Delhi.
While it is extremely crucial for a child to have a native language as the language of instruction, one should also simultaneously strengthen the English language, believes Andersen. English not only unites India but also gives every Indian a very competitive edge in the job market especially in the global economy. In many segments, India has a competitive edge over countries like China, due to the expertise in the English language displayed by Indians.