Smart Cities and Mobile Devices to Decode Education for Masses

by June 12, 2015 0 comments

Modi’s dream of 100 smart cities is soon going to start getting shape in India. The entire country is moving towards smarter and technologically advanced ways of lifestyles. How does the conventional education system get smarter in this scenario?
– Sanjay Purohit, MD & CEO, iProf Learning Solutions

Till a few years ago, education system in India followed a set pattern. The focus of every school was on academic subjects with very few or no extra-curricular activities. There was no scope for creativity since the traditional system that we followed emphasised on rote learning and memorising massive notes. Experiential learning was an unheard of term and thus, each student who passed out of school had good subject knowledge but no creative exposure or actual ‘skills’. This scenario is changing but India is a country of middle class, a social stratum which sends its children to government schools and cannot afford to spend huge amounts of money on private schools.

The lack of skills has been an unfortunate outcome of our system. We have millions of people with degrees and diplomas and yet they are without jobs. With no experience or practical exposure, they just do not fit. When you zoom out, you get a bigger picture of why we are still a developing economy. Our education system churns out mediocre professionals and creates vast inequalities in terms of income. The famous adage- ‘Padhega India tabhi toh badhega India’ (India will grow if India studies) needs a boost and a clear strategy, which brings more responsibility on the government to plan for the future.

The Modi government has had an interesting stint till now. The government, specially the Prime Minister has gone all out to woo foreign investors with a relaxed foreign policy and ‘Make in India’ campaign. A smart move considering the pool of educated yet unemployed youth we have and how much we need a boost in our economy.

Smart Education: key to building a smart city
A part of the overall plan for India is building smart cities. A smart idea, considering that our speed of urbanisation is putting a load on existing cities. The whole economy is shifting towards urban from rural. With most industries near major cities, each year sees millions of people shifting from their towns to urban areas. Just a handful of cities catering to millions, the time is not far when the existing infrastructure and management will not be able to handle the numbers.

Included in Modi’s vision for future, not much had been done about the dream till recently, one reason being a very small amount allocated for the project in this year’s budget. Before we go on, let us recap on what exactly are smart cities. In today’s world all things ‘smart’ are related to technology. Same is with our future cities. A smart city is an urban space that is ecologically balanced, technologically integrated and well planned, relying on information technology to improve efficiency. Since it is a very broad term, the ministry for Urban Development tries to define it as ‘Smart Cities are those that are able to attract investments and experts & professionals. Good quality infrastructure, simple and transparent online business and public services processes that make it easy to practice one’s profession or to establish an enterprise and run it efficiently without any bureaucratic hassles are essential features of a citizen centric and investor-friendly smart city’.

The Union Cabinet has recently passed an approval of Rs 48,000 crore for the smart cities mission, out of which Rs100 crore will be given to each city every year for the next five years. This is not a very big amount if we look at the ambition of the government. They have identified roughly hundred cities to be converted into smart cities over a period of time. Apart from the internal resources, the government is making efforts in securing private funds and foreign investments to speed up the process.

Safter and more agile educational institutions
The whole project of smart cities opens up avenues for the country. Technology will be the buzzword and the way of living will be changing for the better. Considering the requirements that the future brings, the education system will have to be revamped too.

The traditional education system that we currently follow is already outdated. In the whole scenario of changing India, education will be more accessible because of technology. Unlike the conventional system where a student has to physically go to school daily from Kindergarten to class 12th, in the future, this may not be necessary. In future, the school may come to you. Many countries are aiming for mobile education now which promises to retain millions of students in schools and reduce drop outs dramatically.

Even for a physical attendance in school, connectivity will be better. The intelligent systems of smart cities will help educational institutions manage their security, energy systems, communication and transportation better. It will help connect departments, schools, colleges and campuses and enable virtual and online learning. From text books to dynamic learning which is delivered through computers and smartphones, education will be more focussed on student, their pace and their style of learning. The schools will stay up to date with easy flow and access to information, data integration and leverage all teaching resources across campuses, cities, countries and world.

A lot of companies have already started working on the dynamic teaching model, so you can expect a lot of new products and solutions to enable smarter education systems for the future smart cities.

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