Rural India is still struggling with widespread poverty, limited opportunity, and low teacher attendance rates in school. What role can the virtual classroom play in improving the quality of education and life?
In June last year, the Madhya Pradesh government took a leap forward by introducing an attendance tracking application on smartphones to tackle teacher absenteeism. The situation had hit at an all time low when a study found that some teachers were absent for 23 of their 24 years of service. A study done by the University of California pegged the fiscal cost of such absenteeism at $1.5 billion a year. Districts like Dhar and Burhanpur are beautiful, river-side, and have great historical meaning in our heartland. They can also be a bleak place to live.
The virtual classroom presents us with a great opportunity to tackle this problem. Willing teachers from around the world and the country can be tapped without their physical presence with the help of the virtual classroom. This would enable the rural children to get the quality of education they should be getting and their parents expect from schools.
When teachers, pundits, and theorists analyze our Educational system, they usually focus on urban and suburban schools and colleges, but rural schools make up for more than 50% of our country. Unlike many of the urban peers, students here fight with generational poverty, low quality of education, a lack of awareness and limited job opportunities. Virtual classrooms could easily help these children get a better quality of education and ensure a bright future ahead. Interactions with their urban peers, guest lectures by leading industry specialists, virtual tours of various places all over the world, would open their minds to the possibilities that exist through education all through the medium of virtual classrooms.
A report released by the World Bank last year in October suggested that India might be overestimating the number of it’s poor, but it still doesn’t change the fact that nearly 7% of the rural population of our country is still facing extreme poverty. The government taking an initiative towards virtual classrooms shows that they are trying to take a step ahead towards building awareness through higher quality of education.
With the Modi government allocating close to 100 Cr towards virtual classrooms, let us analyze what could possibly be the benefits of such a system and how we could salvage rural India through them. We will be taking an in-depth look at the classrooms and schools in rural India and tackling all the problems they face with the help of virtual classrooms.
In the coming months, we will study the number of states with the highest rural population facing poverty, the quality of education and life in such areas and how virtual classrooms could be effective in providing students with the quality of education they require to uplift their lives and break out of poverty.
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