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Opinion: Divya Gokulnath writes for Mint – ‘We must invest in our teachers for India to take its next big leap’

Team StoryWeavers|September 05, 2022, 16:33 IST|


In a special Teachers’ Day editorial for the Indian financial daily Mint, Divya Gokulnath, co-founder of BYJU’S, writes about how harnessing our technological capabilities to empower teachers digitally can provide the potential for India to become a ‘vishwaguru’ of the world. Read the full article on livemint.

Here are some key excerpts:

Through the 20th century, the sobriquet for India shifted from a newly independent country to a developing nation standing on the shoulders of a strong agrarian economy. With a tech talent demand-supply gap of just 21.1%—the lowest among major economies—and a significant leap in the Global Innovation Index over the last decade, the India of 2022 is staking its claim as an emerging innovation hub and a nation of ‘digital talent’ for the world. As architects of the future, the country’s teachers have contributed significantly to laying a foundation for this progress.

On how teachers act as critical catalysts of change:

Historically, teachers in India have built a powerful legacy of learning through the nation’s crest and troughs—from Aryabhatta and Savitra Bai Phule to Rabindranath Tagore and S. Radhakrishnan. Today, India is home to approximately 9.7 million teachers across 1.5 million schools. They continue to be a major marker of socio-economic development and are a critical piece in our quest to be a global powerhouse of learning. The pandemic offered a true reflection of this, as teachers around the country adapted to virtual mediums to ensure that learning did not stop. They emerged as critical catalysts of change by converting their homes into online classrooms, going beyond the call of duty to arrest learning loss, and focusing their energies on helping students navigate the new normal and become self-learners.

On evolving beyond traditional roles:

As newer formats such as hybrid learning gain ground in the post-pandemic phase, not only teachers but students too have been further empowered and are finding themselves in the driver’s seat of learning. And when students learn with autonomy and are engaged and motivated, information flows freely. They achieve higher levels of cognition and experience ‘aha’ moments. As a teacher, these ‘aha’ moments are the most gratifying and something I can personally vouch for. This is when teachers can grow beyond their traditional roles of imparting knowledge to play a larger role in transforming how children learn and mitigating the challenges that education faces.

Underscoring technology as the solution: 

In our endeavour to make education accessible and equitable at scale, the role of technology cannot be overstated. Today, democratised digital platforms are enabling teachers to reach and deliver quality learning to students around the world. The burgeoning edtech ecosystem in the country is also making inroads to bridge gaps in access, while also shining a light on Made-in-India learning programmes. Effective partnerships among all stakeholders for low-cost, last-mile delivery of quality learning hold the key to setting the course for our collective future, as investing in our teaching workforce is a critical component not just from a social development perspective, but economic as well.

The way forward:

Armed with the trifecta of skilled teachers, technological expertise and centuries-old culture of celebrating teachers, the next 25 years will be determined by how well we educate our people. When teachers are digitally empowered, they have the potential to greatly expand educational opportunities. By bringing together India’s massive tech talent and historic aptitude in teaching, the country can emerge as the ‘vishwaguru’ of the world, and it would not be premature to predict that India’s global tech prowess can make way for its teaching prowess in the coming decades.

About the Author

Toyoja believes that kindness goes a long way. Having worked with some of the country's top news publications in the past, Toyoja values the importance of honest and responsible storytelling. When she isn't working, Toyoja enjoys spending time with her family, listening to history-based podcasts, watching true crime documentaries, reading, painting, exploring the outdoors and spending time with her pets.

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