Ecommerce in education
The cars have started driving themselves, colonies on Mars are no longer fantastic fiction, Virtual world is real, tricorders and communicators are facts, yet millions of children still remain unenrolled in schools and of those in school still learn through methods from their grandparent’s era.
by Amit Mishra
As per UNESCO in 2010, 61 million primary school-age children were not enrolled in school. Of these children, 47% were never expected to enter school, 26% attended school but left, and the remaining 27% are expected to attend school in the future. Further, children living in a rural environment are twice as likely to be out of school as urban children. The reasons for this can be attributed to lack of infrastructure, conflicts, unavailability of requisite infrastructure or funds, remote locations and so forth.
However this is just one aspect of overall problem, even among those who get education we often witness
- Outdated curriculum being taught is out-of-date which needs to be upgraded
- Skill obsolescence has become common requiring one to relearn to remain employable.
- New breakthroughs and research are yet to penetrate sufficiently to make the difference they set out to.
- A major gap between the developed countries and rest of the world as to how the education is imparted.
While billions is being spent globally for the education sector, its impact and efficiency still remains low and just making everyone literate would simply not meet the core requirement of Education i.e. to be able to live one’s life with dignity.
Technology has always been called a great leveler and Ecommerce has a potential to transform the education sector just like Gutenburg’s printing press.It can not only bridge the gap in content quality and resource mobility but also revolutionize the way content is created,delivered and consumed globally.
The pace of developments has skyrocketed in recent times riding the dot com era and the current global ecommerce boom. E learning has become much more accepted, online education is provided by almost all institutions of higher learning, the internet has reached to the nooks and corners of the world and even the remotest villages will soon be able to access the world wide web sooner rather than later.
Infrastructures are no longer a big hindrances, a teacher from one corner of the world can easily communicate and teach students spread across the world. Companies like Udemy, a market place of online courses, Edmodo – Social learning network, Lynda.com, Udacity, Coursera are some of the most successful names which are bridging global distances and boundaries to enable students learn the best courses.
However the technology is still evolving and there are as many if not more misses then the hits. The bigger challenge is not the demand but creating an environment which is both open to explore as well as facilitate the consumption and delivery of new technology products irrespective of location.
Even today the quality of education is measured by the how a student performs in standardized tests over a standardized curriculum. The focus is not on the inherent strengths of individual students but on their weakness in rest of subjects in a curriculum. Grades often become more important than curiosity. We all have always known the limitations the current education system suffers and it’s only now there seems to be a realistic chance to start working towards a complete change in the education sector ensuring not just education for all but the best education for all. After all we cannot march into 22nd century riding on 19th century education system.
The traditional education governing bodies, governments and schools yet to accept and proactively engage with these rapidly changes and as a result parents continue to remain conservative and hesitant to accept the newer platforms. However there always will be a significant lag for government organizations to recognize the new ways, hence the lead would have to be taken by the Corporates by accepting the new generation who have gained their expertise outside the classrooms driven by their curiosity and have equal access to resources.
The question is not whether Ecommerce has a potential to the field of education and learning, it has and it will, the lack of support can only delay the inevitable but technology will transform the entire education landscape. However the best way forward would be if the governments, academician and Ecommerce players can come together to build an ecosystem which smoothens the delivery and consumptions of the Education through Ecommerce
Amit is founder CEO of Agrim Education Services (SchoolSaamaan.com), an early stage company, with aspirations to bridge the education divide in India.The only time he is not running the company is when his two bundles of joy are running over him.