Education Sector Resisting the Adoption of Technology

Gopal Devenahalli, CEO, MeritTrac MeritTrac is a global testing and assessment company which provides innovative scientific assessment services to prominent educational institutions, government organizations and corporate entities.

The digital aeon has disrupted the global economy not just at the macro level, but also at the micro level across industries, including communication, healthcare, banking, education among others. The younger generations have taken to technology like fish taking to water. Thus, technology has not only empowered people to stay connected with the global trends, but has also given them the freedom to voice their opinions. This has largely cultivated a culture of constant learning, subsequently leading to career growth.

Adoption of Technology
Sectors like healthcare, banking, construction, communication, retail, logistics, travel and tourism, telecommunications, media and entertainment, and agriculture have actualized technology into their systems. The education sector too with some extent has adapted technological advancements, but no significant perceptible changes have been brought into the system. Technologies, such as cognitive computing, can be used across most industries to boost revenues, improve their efficiencies and even save lives. It provides cloud-based analytics for gaining business insights and with cognitive computing, users can visualize their data patterns.

Adoption of Technology by Educational Institutes
At a time when technology is being adopted by almost all verticals, the Indian education system is lagging. Incidents of question paper leaks hitting the headlines have become common and are no longer a shock factor. A large proportion of students applying for re-evaluation every year paint a dismal picture, highlighting the lackadaisical evaluation process that is debilitating the system. Despite attempts to expunge corruption, no concrete solution has been formulated to curb it and imbue transparency into the education system.

Resistance to change can be considered a major factor behind the non-acceptance of technological advancements. Most institutions still hold on to the traditional educational matrix of teaching and evaluation which do more harm than good. A notable reason has to be the infrastructure
that does not favour any ingress of technology into Tier 2-3 institutions.

Fallout of the Traditional Education System
The traditional teaching and assessment process have given birth to numerous issues rearing their head in the past few decades, including the question paper leaks, errors during valuation of papers, wrong assessments, misplaced answer scripts,to name a few. These issues have always existed and have dodged the students who genuinely work hard.

"While the digital technologies have ensconced itself across almost all sectors, the education sector is taking time to adopt it"

In the traditional method, a teacher preparing the question paper gets it printed. But, this has a high chance of students taking undue advantage of the situation by copying the questions and distributing it among fellow classmates, thus giving rise to an anarchy-like situation. Thanks to social media, dissemination of these question papers is now much easier & faster. To secure the examination process and avoid these unnecessary situations, institutions and universities need to adopt scientific technologies that can help secure the question papers and execute examination processes avoiding unwanted controversies.

Also, when it comes to evaluating the papers, one teacher has to assess and mark hundreds of papers, a tedious and time-taking process, and unwittingly precipitate miscalculations, and sometimes missing out correcting papers and answers. Corruption is unfortunately rampant in India across sectors. However, the intervention of technology can reduce these issues and maintain transparency within the system.

What can we do?
Pre-Examination: An indisputable problem that is a matter of concern for all students before their exams isn’t the exam fever, but it’s the fear of question papers leaking. Universities and boards must take immediate steps to reinin this problem and technology can come handy in providing a solution in such cases. There are technologies in the market now which allow for generation of on-time question papers. These question papers are prepared through an amalgamation of multiple question papers submitted by various teachers across the university/board, and later sent to the institution or examination centers, barely 15 minutes before the start of the exam and that too through a onetime password. Usage of this technology ensures security for the examination process and retains the faith of students in the education system.

Post-Examination: Results determine a student’s career. The idea behind the examinations is to assess and evaluate a student’s aptitude and when the result turns-out unfavorable due to wrong assessment, they can prove a shocker. Technologies like e-evaluation can come to the rescue in such cases. The teachers have to evaluate the papers through an online marking process and the technology ensures teachers do not err while totaling the marks or will not miss-out on evaluating a question. This technology also ensures that no answers are missed and no pages skipped.

Digital University: Digital universities encompass a basket of solutions that creates a comprehensive student management system using the Internet, mobile, chatbots and edge devices. It enables end-to-end digitization of the education value chain for their seamless application management, enrolment, academic content delivery and evaluations. The result is improved learning delivery, enhanced user experience and better student outcomes. While the digital technologies have ensconced itself across almost all sectors, the education sector is taking time to adopt it. But, it could only be a matter of time before the stakeholders feel that it’s imperative for the sector too to embrace it to optimise the utility of the education they impart.