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Made-To-Fit Solutions Can Improve Kids' Learning. Here's How It Can Be Done

02/01/2016 8:27 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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Portrait of a girl child reading through an online homework exercise.

India's education challenges are many. With roughly 250 million children currently in the school segment and another 100-125 million entering the system every five years, our obligation to provide meaningful education to this generation of learners cannot be overstated.

As we think of making quality education available to one and all, it is in our interest to think of solutions that can help us leapfrog systemic constraints, much as India made the jump from landlines to cellular networks and solved the problem of connectivity for millions of Indians, and enabled them to become active players in the economy.

Fortunately, we are at an inflection point in history, where technology has sufficiently advanced to fundamentally transform the learning experience and help both students and teachers. The growing penetration of the internet and the proliferation of low-cost computing devices and mobiles are spurring the growth in digital learning, and present an opportunity for affordable ed-tech products for India's school education system. In fact, the adoption of e-learning solutions is already on a steady rise in India.

Every learner deserves the opportunity to truly master foundational concepts at his/her own pace before moving to the next level of learning.

Technology provides us with the ability to not only reach millions of students and teachers in a scalable way but also, and perhaps more importantly, offers an opportunity to provide personalised, self-paced, mastery-based learning experience to them. Knowledge is similar to a set of building blocks with one concept building upon an earlier set of concepts. For instance, learning division is critical to learning algebra. Every learner deserves the opportunity to truly master foundational concepts at his/her own pace before moving to the next level of learning -- and that this holds true whether a student is in Mumbai, Jaipur or a village in Kerala.

Even if it's a bit hard to imagine, we are not far from a future where personalised learning resources are ubiquitous, available on multiple devices and languages, and work seamlessly between in-classroom and out-of-classroom settings. It is a future that India will arrive at sooner if it is co-created by government, standard setting bodies, public and private schools, entrepreneurs, civil society organisations and donors.

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