e-Learning in Primary Education – An Indian Perspective

The Annual Status of Education Report (2016) points that learning levels remain depressingly low across the country, while 97% of children (aged 6-14 years) across rural India are enrolled in a school, only 13% of the children in grade 2 can read from their language textbooks. Current scenario becomes worrying given the status of quality of education.

The reasons for this state of affairs vary from infrastructure to availability of qualified teachers, from pedagogical to gender biased approach. Though there are many aspects which need to be addressed but amongst them the student-teacher ratio remains an important factor which affects quality of education. In many areas a single teacher is found teaching multiple classes which is not an exceptional arrangement but has become a routine affair. Upon that one can easily see the wide range of variance, at one end we have urban students competing at the global level and on the other hand there are rural students who lack basic infrastructural facilities such as school building and sanitation facilities.

In the context of student-teacher ratio and other factors affecting quality learning of students, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) finds a unique place to bridge the challenge. In the contemporary global telecom workspace, India is one of the leading players. In terms of its quality of internet and its affordability, India has the best tariff plans globally, thanks to the domestic competition.

In my childhood, cartoon characters like ‘Tom and Jerry’, ‘Mickey Mouse’ were a choice for urban well-to-do children. In the contemporary time, Indian characters like ‘Choota Bheem*’ and ‘Doreman**’ have not only reached every household but have made themselves an integral part in children’s life. I have seen many instances in the recent times where children have started learning ‘Choota Bheem and Doreman’ before learning ‘Papa and Mama’.

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