World Economic Forum launched the ‘Education 4.0 India Report’

Education 4.0 Report: The new Education 4.0 India report was jointly released by the World Economic Forum, the United Nations Children's Education Fund (UNICEF), and YuWaah in a collaboration with Generation Unlimited India.

Key Points:

  • The report offers a plan to close educational gaps with the help of the latest technology and make education accessible to all.
  • The information was published under Education 4.0 India initiative, launched in May 2020.
  • It has brought together more than 40 partners from academic, start-up, government, and education technology fields.
  • The report is a result of their deliberations and is aimed at building a robust strategy that can be widely implemented, while being cost-effective and sustainable.
  • The report identifies gaps and outlines interventions, each substantiated by case studies and an implementation roadmap to bring impact on scale under four themes 
  1. Foundational literacy and numeracy
  2. Teacher professional development
  3. School-to-work transition
  4. Connecting the unconnected 

Key Findings of the Report:

The Education Market:

  • After the US, India is the second-largest market for online education.
  • With conducive policies and initiatives of the government, such as the National Education Policy 2020 and over 5000 EdTech start-ups across the learning lifecycle, the current education environment is potent for digital transformation.
  • However, a lack of coordinated efforts has led to an isolated skilling ecosystem that has not been able to achieve its maximum potential.
  • These issues can be resolved with the help of flipbooks, dynamic content, and read-aloud techniques.
  • Furthermore, the usage of digital tools can be used to solve various education-related issues and make schoolchildren's learning enjoyable and engaging.

The Pandemic Effect:

  • Even though the Covid-19 pandemic has mostly abated in much of the world, India's school-to-work (S2W) transition process continues to face substantial obstacles such as -
  • Lack of trainers,
  • Insufficient resources,
  • Infrastructure gaps,
  • Poor integration with mainstream school Education curriculum and
  • Poorly links between local skill gaps and vocational courses.

(The term S2W transition refers to the process of preparing tudents job-ready in a raoidly changing labour market.)

  • More than 60 million secondary and higher secondary students attend schools in India, yet only 85% have included vocational courses in their curriculum.
  • The report noted that many students and parents consider vocational education the second-best option to mainstream education.

The Career Backlog:

  • Employers expect students to have high level of competencies, knowledge and skills related to their jobs.
  • They also favour those students with strong communication skills, teamwork and problem-solving and critical thinking capabilities.
  • Currently, there is now no institutional channel to incorporate the participation of industries in order to address this issue, and the educational system in schools lacks the resources to meet the demands of the industry.
  • In addition, credits cannot be transferred between formal and informal education streams, making it challenging for students to link their credits if they wish to pursue higher education after taking vocational courses (or vice versa). This discourages mobility between the two streams.

The report recommends -

  • Improving career awareness,
  • Expanding employment opportunities through Internships and apprenticeships,
  • Allowing credit transferability so that Students can switch between formal and Informal educational settings,
  • Fostering holistic development through language learning,
  • STEM-based coursework, and
  • Life skills coaching, among other things.

About Education 4.0 report:

  • Education 4.0 India initiative was launched in May 2020.
  • It aims to address the disparities in India’s education sector and to empower and engage young people.
  • It proposes a roadmap to improve India’s school system and serves as a call to action to all stakeholders in the ed-tech space to come together to transform the sector.
  • The Education 4.0 report assesses the progress and findings from Education 4.0 India initiative, which focuses on the use of Industrial Revolution 4.0 technologies in improving the learning outcomes and reducing inequalities in India’s education sector.
  • The report identifies gaps in foundational literacy and numeracy, teacher professional development, school-to-work transition and connecting the unconnected and suggests solutions with five common building blocks – curriculum, content, capacity, community and digital infrastructure.
  • It also provides a framework for the development of scalable pilots that can be implemented by state governments and ecosystem partners.
  • This includes best practices that can augment the existing education ecosystem and be useful for a wide range of stakeholders.