Making Education Accessible and Affordable

Synopsis: The AIR and DD, and Internet service providers are some possible solutions for making education accessible and affordable.

Introduction

Access and affordability continue to impact teachers and students. Teachers and policymakers are working, but the results are not encouraging.

  • Exams have lost their reliability and learning has taken a back seat. The health of students and teachers is suffering due to continuous exposure to screens. Some of them suffer financially as well.
  • Access to education is entirely dependent on online classes. Internet penetration in India is 50% which is one reason for the less than efficient performance in the online education sector.
What are the possible solutions to improve the access to education?

Almost everyone has experienced poor connectivity. In rural areas, online access remains an aspiration. However, the government can come up with a solution. The Indian Government has its own airwaves.

  • Firstly, Prasar Bharati is India’s broadcasting corporation that handles both radio and television in India. All India Radio (AIR) has 470 broadcasting centres which cover 92% of the country’s geographical area and 99.19% of the population.
  • Secondly, Doordarshan (DD) handles television, online and mobile broadcasting in India and in the world. It has 34 satellite channels, 17 well-equipped studios in State capitals and 49 studio centres in other cities.
    • AIR and DD can be used to broadcast lessons. Education is one of the three functions of the two agencies under the Prasar Bharati Act. These two agencies can be used to satisfy the needs of the education sector.
  • Thirdly, educational broadcasts for classes 10, 11 and 12 can be done in the ratio of 4:1 (four hours of radio and one hour of TV). The courses in which demonstration and where physical activity is needed can be broadcast on TV. This will require some training and effort.
    • If implemented well, there will be less strain due to screen time for our teachers and students. The heavy strain on financial resources will be drastically reduced as DD and AIR are free.
  • Fourthly, teachers should be involved in the planning of policies. Training can be provided to teachers by a set of trainers for scriptwriting and programming.
  • Fifthly, Further, after training, these teachers can create appropriate tools for evaluation over radio and TV. The Central and State educational boards should support, monitor and provide feedback to improve the system.
  • Sixthly, If regular radio is not enough, digital radio can also be used.  
  • Lastly, the government can ask Internet Service Providers to offer many hours of free Internet usage to teachers and students. This will not be easy, but the government should call the shots and make a decision that is in the interest of the people.Source: click here
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