A child born today is born in the age of technology. They have no idea about what preceded the version of mobile phones in their hands. They don’t even know a time that existed when owning a smartphone was not even a dream, simply because it was not invented back then. While computers and laptops were a luxury only a few people could afford, even fewer could operate. It may seem this is the story of some centuries ago, but this is the reality in which all the generation Z children have lived.
Nobody anticipated the rate of technological advances, and the mass population found it difficult to adjust to rapidly changing norms and devices. In the same way, nobody expected the importance of operating a computer successfully in India before the Covid-19 pandemic set the whole education sector in a frenzy.
As a product of the Indian education system, I have realized that the computer is a graded subject, and hence, it is a waste of time to study it. The governance of knowledge based on marks is well-rooted in India. Computers are an optional subject according to the curriculum. Unfortunately, no matter what sphere of life a person is in, the knowledge of using a computer is an important skill, and there is no running from it. The Gartner 2019(1) digital workspace survey found that India is the most digitally dexterous country globally because it has the largest generation Z population willing to learn the skills and adopt new technologies. However, the education system fails to cater to these needs.
According to the Periodic Lab Force Survey(2) 2017-18, approximately only 7% of people in India receive technical training, which means 93% of the population cannot effectively use those skills. As a result, recent University graduates struggle with using Google slides and spreadsheets, and typing becomes a nightmare. In addition to the knowledge that students are provided within their elementary, primary, and secondary school years, they must be taught to harness the available resources technically. The problem is colossal, but the solution is quite simple. The schools already have the infrastructure of computer labs and the faculty who teach Computer Science. The need of the hour is to change the method of teaching.
According to a report commissioned by Amazon Web Services(3), only 12% of the employees in India are digitally skilled. In light of the current pandemic and the increasing use of virtual reality and technology, India will have to increase this percentage by ninefold to meet the demands by 2025. The time prescribed by Amazon Web Services is quite limited, but it also emphasizes the need to take action. To meet the demands of changing times, schools should take an active decision to change curriculums and focus on changing the teaching approach. Instead of teaching these skills through theory, they should be conducted using practical methods. Schools should develop typing skills from an early age, as we do with the craft of writing. Schools should change their syllabus and teach the students skills like presentation and spreadsheet, which will help them in their future life. The change will not require any new investment on the part of the schools, but it will positively impact children’s lives in the long run.