Seizing the future: How education can truly empower our youth
By Divya Gokulnath
India is its youth. They are the collective power that can steer the course of society. They are the voice of agency and confidence that can bring about colossal changes to last a lifetime. If we want to unlock India’s potential, then it’s the development of our youth that needs to be at the forefront.
India has one of the largest school-going populations in the world, and over 50% of Indians are 25 years or older. But for our youth to be a valuable asset in development, we need to give them the right tools, the right kind of education. In the absence of quality education, our young population can become a burden on the economy, but with the right learning opportunities they can be empowered to meet their full potential.
Despite ‘learning’ playing a crucial role in a nation’s progress, the education systems in India, and around the world, have remained largely unchanged. Challenges such as lack of access to quality teachers, lack of personalised learning, learning driven by the fear of exams and a system of rote learning still prevail.
This leads to weak conceptual understanding in students. Not only does this limit their potential, but they may also find it hard to logically reason and critically think when they enter a workplace. Add to this the fact that according to the World Economic Forum, 65% of the children entering primary schools will find themselves in jobs that do not exist today. To do the talent of our youth the justice it deserves, we need to leverage our existing school systems and use accessible and effective learning to prepare them for the unseen jobs of tomorrow.
Tech-enabled learning is more relevant today given that screens have become the primary mode of media consumption. Research shows that children aged 5-16 are digital-natives. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has led to a mindset shift amongst parents and teachers towards online learning—a welcome change. With the digital divide steadily reducing, online learning has the potential to fulfil the aspirations of every student irrespective of their background or location.
Education can transform our country and our mission at BYJU’S has been to help in this transformation by democratising learning—with the right tools, nothing is impossible. For us, the real measure of success is not in creating a billion-dollar company but in successfully changing the way millions think and learn.
(The author is co-founder & director, BYJU’S)