From Kul Gurus to Cool Gurus …. ! The much awaited breakthrough of technology in Education where teachers become Phygital !!
Sandeep Mukherjee| Kul Gurus
Mr Sandeep Mukherjee | Kul Gurus to Cool Gurus

From the days of Gurukuls, Indian education system has been Guru-centric. Gurus or teachers play pivotal role in the entire organism of education in the country. A country like India which has bio diversities, socio economic differences, societal patterns of culture and habit and a huge population of children not going to school, will certainly find it too difficult to cope with the odd and unforeseen challenges of the situation that will stand out in schools in the Post – Corona Era!

Till now our fundamental thrust in school education has been to transfer basic book oriented stored and archived knowledge bank to students through set patters of curriculum with help of teachers in a conventional classroom setup. The new education policy, in short, aimed at diversifying the choice of subjects advocating, at the same time, ways and means for roping in more and more number of students who either were dropping out of the system or were totally deprived of it.

Had this Coronavirus attack not been there, certainly things would have taken for better. But now that situation has changed with new parameters of schooling involving social distancing, hygienic orders, protecting children from viral infections etc, it is not possible for schools to go on with the avenues of modern education as dictated in the said Education Policy.

When Prime Minister Modi announced Janta Curfew on 22nd March, people of India accepted it more as fun and less as a measure to curb the spread of Corona. Nevertheless, all played to the goal and observed total curfew. What was not then was that thgis state of affairs is going to continue for quite some time. Thousands and lakhs of students suddenly got confined into the four walls of their houses. Being at the fag end of the session most of them didn’t even have their books for the next class. Thanks to technology that came in as a titanic boon for the entire education sector of the country. Teachers, although were not at all prepared for this unforeseen circumstance, yet, came out with full force to continue teaching from home on wires and on wire nots.

Thus came in the mega concept of online teaching, webinars, live sessions on various interactive platforms like Zoom, MS Teams, Google Classes, YouTube Live etc. Things suddenly became virtual from physical…in fact phygital ! Students, teachers and parents all stakeholders accepted this digital revolution so readily at such a short span of time that before it could get settled into the system, students were already looking for upgrades and faster and more efficient versions of the various tools of online teaching. Teaching from home was indeed a challenge for a country like India where technological breakthrough is yet to come in full swing. India being a country of villages and mass rural settlements even today as good as 60% of the inhabited area of the country suffer from lack of internet facility or poor and negligible data speed. Schools in the suburban or exterior rural areas still suffer from this so called online magic.

All said and done, online teaching and learning have finally given birth to an all new saga of educational breakthrough in India with the aid of technology. What is more important here to note and underline is the massive compulsion for our oriental teacher community to become techno savvy. Teachers teaching Hindi and Sanskrit and Art and Music are also suddenly being realized to be smart on technology. Students find it immensely interesting obviously as anything digital gives a push to their adrenalin rush, they find thrill and unbound excitement in the game of digital learning.

Today’s kids are thus going to be the change makers for the upcoming generations of modern Post Covid Era of education. Whatever experiments, trials and errors this generation of students would do would set breakthrough for generations to come. Governments and Board of Education in all states of the country are certainly going to pay emphasis in technological R&D with concentration of magnified resources ever than before.

Soon Co-Education will be defined as an educational system where both teachers and students learn together…and learn how to master technological wonders to continue learning rest of the subjects. Our teachers, by force of the demand of this tech based education system, are learning how to teach all over again. Students being the kernels of the 21st C, are already steps ahead in technological breakthrough vis-à-vis their Gurus, and hence, this online education is more of a fun and game for the students being a nightmare for the teachers at the same time, though! So, in the process, it is not only a co-learning but whole big system of co-education that has come into existence now which would see quite few rapid changes n the near future as half the country is busy reinventing technology to teach and interact with people distantly while the other half being selling sanitizing and UV equipment.

While majority of clinical laboratories of the world are busy carrying out experiments to discover the vaccine for Coronavirus, trust me, the rest of the world is busy sharpening the antennas of Artificial Intelligence as the Alexas and the Siris are going to play pivotal roles in the education system of the times to come. If only these AI dolls could be submerged into some magnetic wave pools of values and ethics..they would have been totally successful in replacing the teachers in the classrooms.

But as I said in the very beginning, India has been a country of Gurus and Gurukuls, teachers will continue to play their eminence in educating students, in giving away wisdom and knowledge to the youth of tomorrow through schools of tomorrow, some virtual and some digital and some phygital ! Yes, Alexas and Siris will have major role in future education but they will for sure work under the expertise of the spectacularly wise and extraordinarily tech savvy teachers of the future. So, what does the future education system have in its cove…Artificial Intelligence or Intelligence with Artificial Devices ? Well, the time to come will unveil the answer from its mantle.

About the Author :  

Mr Sandeep Mukherjee is a freelance writer who writes on contemporary educational, social and political issues from time to time. Many of his articles have been published in magazines and newspapers and web portals of repute viz The Dainik Jagran, The Rashtriya Sahara, The Knowledge Review, The Educationa World, The Education Today, The Elete, The Panchjanya, The Creer 360, The Wednesday Times, The Edubench, The Purvapost, The Bhadaini Samachar, The Prabhat Khabar etc.

In the professional capacity, he works as the Group COO of the Sunbeam Group of Educational Institutions, Varanasi.

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