Technology must be accessible and affordable, says Vice President

Deepali Pandit
File Photo: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu

File Photo: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu today emphasised on the need to make technology accessible and affordable for all. He noted that there were many children who did not have access to digital devices and in order to provide universal quality primary education, it was important to address the issue of this wide gap in access to technology.

The Vice President today virtually released the book, ‘Future of Higher Education- Nine Megatrends’ written by V Pattabhi Ram.

Speaking on the impact of the lockdown on the students he said, “A large number of students are impacted due to the lockdown as they find it hard to study online. Many of them need hand-holding to shift from offline to online. They require proper training to pursue education through online modes.”

“Technology opens up new possibilities but also makes us realize the big digital divide in our society,” he added.

Noting that things around us were no longer the same due to the pandemic, he said that we must understand the changes and adapt creatively to the new normal. “Let us prepare for and shape the future by turning adversity into an opportunity,” he added.

Stating that many parents in India still cannot afford digital devices, he said that bridging the digital divide was too big and complex for the government alone to accomplish the task and urged the private sector, especially educational technology firms to contextualize the products at affordable prices as per the needs of learners. “This is your time to make a momentous contribution to nation-building and to securing a bright future for all our children”, he added.

The Vice President also quoted Prime Minister Narendra Modi words, “In future, online should be the main line, so that there is no need for any line.”

Observing that Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality will enter classrooms more rapidly, Vice President said this would transform the way teachers teach and students learn.

Vice President urged the teachers to impart education in tune with the changing requirements. “The teacher now plays the role of a facilitator, guide, counsellor, coach and many a time that of a friend to the student”, he added.

Noting that the huge demographic advantage is waiting to be converted into a demographic dividend, the Vice President said “we should not miss this opportunity. We should enhance access to knowledge and skills to all children so that each one of them realizes his or her innate potential”.

Highlighting the importance of value-based education, the Vice President called for developing a model of education that reflects Indian culture and ethos. “We need to inculcate cultural, moral, ethical and spiritual values among children”, he added.