Our theme this year is Learning 4.0: Connecting the Dots and Reaching the Unreached.
The second edition of FoL aims to promote innovation and help foster dialogues between the major actors shaping the 21st-century learning models – academics, entrepreneurs, regulators, and technologists.
The educational sector is set for a major and likely disruptive makeover. A decade ago the possibility of unlimited unfettered access to education appeared far-fetched. Driven by the forces of globalization, advances in information and communication technologies, and the next generation of tech-savvy learners, education is fast evolving toward an open, always available and personalized model, possibly breaking the stranglehold of traditional universities.
The enticing promise of digitization in transforming education and learning is now uncontested by both educationists and policymakers. Expectations that digital innovations would make education both affordable and accessible has been a dominant theme driving these discussions. While there has been some progress on these fronts, the overall impact on the ground has been rather muted. Prior research and anecdotal evidence indicate that the impact of digital technologies in transforming education may be muted due to a variety of reasons. These include lack of supporting infrastructure, financial constraints faced by the targeted beneficiaries, technology barriers, lack of appropriate technologies and a diffusion of effort due to the emergence of multiple competing platforms and business models or simply lack of interest.
India is a good case in point. Despite the emphasis on a digital transformation of the economy, the rural-urban divide is on internet penetration is huge, with the internet penetration in urban and rural areas pegged at 65 percent and 20 percent respectively leaving a significant percent of India’s population unserved or underserved with regards to educational services. The situation in much of South Asia is similar. What accounts for these gaps in technology, policy, and practice? How can these gaps be bridged? How can technological advancements be leveraged to make a high-quality education affordable, accessible and empowering for the vast majority of the unserved population.