The unequal division of World in its various forms is an issue that define the standard of living of Human Beings. Wherever people live they confront with the inequalities. In this Globalized World the contemporary challenges we are confronting is with the Digital inequality. One of the major aspects where this digital inequality is having significant impact is on educational divide growing due to the technological inequality. Industrial solutions by EdTech leaders are reinforcing facilities to grapple with educational gap so that no geographical blockade could be there in addressing the Digital Divide.
These constituent factors create gap which continue to persist within and between countries. But in some parts of Nations these divides are being more pronounced. Both the internal and external challenges would continue to grow over if this technological fraction grew.
Understanding the Digital Divide
Digital Divide could be understood as the gap between 2 categories of people with regular effective access to internet & technology & people with less or no access to technology. With digitization, internet has become the most important tool to maintain the communication & knowledge acquisition and with pandemic now the whole world relies heavily upon the same. But simultaneously, the digital gap in India is still a persistent problem. We see gap between urban and rural areas that is being tried to take the edge off so that it could be narrowed. People without access to internet and ICT are put towards the socio-economic disadvantage.
Prominent levels of digital imbalances discourage skills accumulation, which affects social and economic mobility and human development. Due to such uncertainty and insecurity, it undermines trust in institutions and government, increasing social division and conflicts.
With emergent technology advancements we are solving many challenges across the map but still the gap existing between urban & rural space is yet to be bridged effectively. Though we have come quite far with leading EdTech brands like ViewSonic, Extramarks, LEAD Schools, CodeChef and Globus Infocom taking the lead to penetrate the rural education space with educational technology solutions tailor made to address the specific challenges of this category. But still, we have a long way to go.
We can Bridge the Digital Divide by,
- Increasing Digital literacy to make people aware
- Increasing affordability for easy accessibility
- Internet infrastructure development making it approachable for everyone
- Addressing gender gap in internet access making women independent
- Promoting innovations; intensifying development
- Conducting Digital Divide assessment with the intention that no one will be left behind
How technology is removing Geographical Barriers
Developing nations like India is the one that would hit hardest by digital exclusion. Majority are investing in Digital inclusion programmes. Great lockdown has transpired innovative ideas among countries to improve access to internet and cater to increasing demand of e-schooling. People with the support of Government’s policies are now being well informed about the benefits of technological solutions being provided by numerous industries in mitigating the disparity. Leaders in Digital Education are developing worldwide solutions for e-learning.
Education being the most important instrument providing the stability of life; digital divide must be reduced in this case while other areas where technology is helping to remove the Digital Divide are:
Removing distance barriers in health care
The globalized world allows people to not be dependent on only one place but with the facilities provided today due to technological upliftment there is no barriers to healthcare anyone can enjoy.
Since due to recent crisis healthcare management have become so much activated. The roadblock created by pandemic led to the rise of innovations to make life of humans secure and safe. Distance is not matter now; anybody can avail anything from anywhere.
Addressing barriers to learning
One of the most fundamental fringe benefit due to technological evolution is breakthrough in e-learning. Due to digital divide globally major groups of people are deprived of the convenience today technological solutions provide.
With recent innovations, EdTech industry leaders are evolving solutions which is helping to shrink the digital gap globally. Explicitly urban-rural divide is being minimized with EdTech industries innovations like developing Digital Board solutions for teaching by companies like Globus Infocom and Dell; there are Smart Boards developed by HCL, Digital Signage developed by LG and most widespread used products in hybrid learning that is Interactive Flat Panel Displays are being provided by wide-ranging companies like ViewSonic, Hitachi, Dell and Globus Infocom etc. making education easily accessible and approachable. It organizes student’s interactive learning by enhancing student’s active participation. The standard and quality education as provided by proficiency of recent technological solutions is now transposing rural growth by overcoming the divide.
Eliminating communication barriers
However, innovative solutions have emerged to remove barriers of accessibility. Different technological solutions have different role to play. EdTech leaders are making it easier to bridge barriers in communication. EdTech companies in India like Globus Infocom, Zybro, Sanako India, FluentU, Smart English Lab etc. are producing the Digital Language Lab solutions for schools. Language lab for schools is a system that transforms a passive language class into an active speaking practice.
Since English is a universal language spoken everywhere, hence it is important to learn this language in schools and have good command over it. Apart from this such language labs also help learning mother tongue Hindi & the ancient language Sanskrit to promote language efficiency across India.
Removing physical and cultural obstacles
The upcoming technological solutions of virtual interface have decoded this major challenge of the time. The recent crisis due to the epidemic Covid-19 has proven to be the significant problem where different innovations proved to be boon for widespread confrontations. Work related challenges were solved by bringing the option of work from home, where digital solutions provided by companies proved to be the blessings in continuing the businesses without much loss.
Similarly distinct institutions, Schools, Government offices and even political meetings switched to online mode through solutions. Schools turned into major hub for online learning where education technology providers and to wrestle with the barriers. These different developments in different fields by minimizing the digital divide helped in removal of physical and cultural barriers.
Removing digital divide for enhancing economy
Technology have always fueled the economic growth and standard of living of people. With the rise of globalization making world fully integrated and dependent on each other growth of one country consequently affect the other. Therefore, elimination of digital divide is need of the hour.
Decreasing digital divide can create massive economic impact worldwide by generating employment, by generating awareness so that inequality in this arena could also be considered and hence solved.
Technology especially educational technology brand and digital solutions have aided in addressing a range of emergency situations and crises all over the world. Considerable progress in past decade in terms of access to ICT and in improving speeds have fueled the progress. Technology in classrooms have demonstrated effective learning which could be immense help in curtailing the gap between urban and rural education quality by enhancing the access to quality education. These technologies in classrooms are being provided by different EdTech companies in India like Dell, LG, Hitachi, ViewSonic and Globus Infocom in India. Policy makers and executives now recognize that it’s time to redefine the digital divide to broaden the term beyond mere technology. Technology can only be harnessed efficiently if the underlying problems of meaningful access and rights-based policies are addressed.
In redefining the Digital Divide, Countries will find that fundamental access has improved but nature of divide has changed. Comparative cooperation is needed on how to ensure internet and digital connectivity to students which could be immense help in this.
India can harness opportunity by encouraging the manufacturing of EdTech equipment that can be used for education services as it serves twin purposes of manufacturing and bridging Digital Divide.