Despite the pandemic, Manish Sisodia believes technology can only be a value addition in education, not a replacement

The Delhi Deputy-CM and Education Minister said that the COVID-19 pandemic had forced education sector to adopt technology
Manish Sisodia | Pic: PTI
Manish Sisodia | Pic: PTI

If technology could replace classroom teaching and learning, schools and colleges in various counties would have shut down decades ago, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Thursday. The minister was addressing the Digital India Conclave, where he discussed the impact of technology on education post the COVID-19 outbreak.

"Technology is a tool to improve education, it can add value to education, but technology can never replace classroom teaching-learning experience. If that were the case, schools and colleges in countries leading in technology would have shut down decades ago, and the entire education system would have shifted to digital platforms," Sisodia said.

"Before COVID-19, the education system was traditionally functioning and was adopting technology slowly. COVID-19, however, forced us to adopt technology in education. The entire education system had to shift to digital platforms. While this was not a good situation, we made better use of technology," he added.

Sisodia, who is also Delhi's Education Minister, said now that COVID-19 is under control, a big question before the education system is to what extent technology can be integrated with it. "Today, there is a need to adopt such a blended and hybrid model of education which is neither completely conventional nor completely technology-based because while on one hand, we are teaching our children to learn and take advantage of technology, at the same time, we are also helping them become socially and emotionally healthy individuals and responsible citizens," he said.

Technology acts as a value-addition to education and is not its replacement, Sisodia asserted. "Even if this is to be done, the whole concept of the school will need to be thought of in a new way because today there are many things like education, peer learning, one-to-one learning, social-emotional learning etc. for which technology is not a solution. "The Delhi government is going to start virtual schools as an experiment. Their purpose is to know whether a school can be taken out of its physical boundaries through technology," he added.

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