I have been a part of the education industry for over 7 years now and feel that there might come a time when the conventional and the near-obsolete Indian college education system will be replaced with e-learning. Currently, the nation battles a spate of issues like skill-gap and unemployability and the broken education system is riddled with issues ranging from an outdated syllabus, lack of hands-on practical experience, lack of quality educators, and so forth. This points out the sad and scary state of Indias engineering system and presents the difficulty graduates face while looking for a job. However, e-learning is gaining popularity in India. To illustrate how it is bringing change into the lives of Indian youth, let me share two stories.
The first story is of Akhil Yada, who pursued B.Tech in ECE. Akhil got a campus placement in business analytics profile instead of VLSI, a domain in which he wanted to make his career. Following a friends advice, he applied to an internship at DRDO but couldnt land one due to a lack of relevant skills. Soon, he enrolled in a 6-week online training in VLSI and mastered the basics. As a part of this training, he designed an adaptive filter using VHDL and the knowledge he had gained during this stint helped him land a 2-month internship with the Research Centre Imarat, DRDO.
The second story is of Kapil Arora. Kapil had an idea for a startup but couldn’t implement it because he was unfamiliar with web design. He thought of hiring a Web Developer, but it wasn’t economical for him. So, he started learning web development online. Once he completed the training, he designed the web pages using HTML and CSS, deployed a database, and integrated the Paytm payment gateway. After a month of learning and writing codes, he went live with his own startup, Indian Mistry - a platform connecting customers with local mechanics and repairmen at pocket-friendly prices.
As the culture of e-learning and internships spreads in the country, students will find a more efficient way to gain meaningful education where they would learn a skill online, compliment it with an internship, and repeat this cycle till they hit that sweet spot.
The 2000s saw the internet bring revolution across different sectors, from ordering food to hailing a cab. It has also brought in a revolution in the education sector; on one hand, teachers use technology in their classrooms to make learning interesting for students and on the other hand, students use the internet to do more in-depth research on the subjects of their interest. Today, the e-learning industry is set to disrupt the higher education industry by solving three major issues:
1. Access: E-learning is bringing universities and professors to your homes and hostels through mobiles and computers. Certain skills like artificial intelligence and machine learning are upcoming in India but these fields are not accessible to a lot of students owing to different constraints. E-learning is an easy approach to tackle this problem and to cater to students as the educators cant be present everywhere, especially in rural areas and tier 2/3 cities. In fact, having realised the significance of e-learning, the Ministry of Human Resources and Development and state skill development bodies like APSSDC have started uploading lectures online so that they could be easily accessed by the students anytime and anywhere.
2. Quality: In a country like India with few premier colleges which have limited seats, most students are not able to get a quality education. A report issued by MHRD in 2017 pointed out that some schools have a fewer number of teachers than the required number. Due to this, teachers arent able to focus on the students in the classrooms nor are the students able to utilise their time spent in the classrooms. With evolving technology, there are new developments in different fields of study every day, and these changes can be included in the syllabus. Through online learning, students have access to quality education, imparted by seasoned professors and professionals on their tips. It can also provide personalised content to the students. While online learning is bringing quality education to students, it is also making the entire learning experience fun. Gamified learning with quizzes and challenges holds the interest of students and is in a way, more engaging than classroom learning.
3. Affordability: To provide quality education to their children, parents have to shell out money right from school to college education. The associated cost of a degree in a traditional brick-and-mortar college is comparatively higher than the one-time cost attached to online learning. Not just the education, the student has to take care of lodging and commuting as well. Quality education comes at a high cost but with the advent of e-learning resources, students can access it at a much lower cost through e-learning.
Through e-learning, students can focus on becoming employable, discover their true interests in an efficient way (in terms of money and time spent), and build their dream career. This is just the beginning of the revolutionary concept of e-learning which has the potential to disrupt the education system in India and provide a better learning environment for the students.
About the Author: Sarvesh Agrawal is the founder & CEO of Internshala – an internship & training platform. An alumnus of IIT Madras, Sarvesh has worked with Capital One, Barclays, and Aviva plc before launching his own venture. Over the past seven years, he is on a mission to build a ‘world-full of opportunities’ for students by providing meaningful internships and reducing the skill gap between the industry and the students.