Exploratory Essay on Digitization in India

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As we know, In today’s modern world new and rapidly improving technologies are in the process of transforming India’s higher education system. With the help of technology like ICT, we can enhance the learning experience of the students and teachers in a cost-effective manner. Initiatives like SWAYAM and SWAYAM PRABHA, Shodhganga, Shodhgangotri, Open Journal Access System, and Virtual Labs have made knowledge accessible to all across the nation. The Massive Open Online Courses work as digital learning platforms to meet the needs of students from diverse backgrounds. This is mainly because 60 percent of the working population is still offline and does not participate in the digital economy. Lack of funding to support the purchase of the technology, lack of training among established teaching practitioners, lack of motivation, and the need to have teachers empowered to use ICT as a teaching tool are also some factors instrumental to its slow acceptance. In the digital era, it is necessary to re-structure and re-focus the institutions and organizations. The research paper mainly focuses on digitization and advancement in all the phases of higher education.

1. Introduction

In recent years, India has fixed its position in the field of rapid advancement in ‘globalization’ leading to relaxation in the international barriers and transformation of the business world, thereby, expanding its reach to different colleges and universities across India. The world today is in the midst of a digital revolution in every sphere of human life. This revolution has introduced multiple avenues as well as challenges with respect to new technologies. The infusion of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the education system has witnessed a transformation from a period of information scarcity to a knowledge explosion. The higher education institutes are in for a complete overhaul with the introduction of robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology, business informatics, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, the internet of things ( IoT) the networked connection of everyday objects via digital systems, the fifth generation wireless technologies (5G),3 D printing and much more.

All of these are bound to outdate the present curricula, research, and skilling programs. The technological revolution has brought changes in the management of higher education institutions. The role, needs and expectations of the students, from the academic and administrative staff members, have been redefined. Teaching pedagogy in the classroom has totally been revamped. Students learn from the online resources, books, journals, articles, reports, and data provided by the universities. Evolving a digital workplace culture is a step towards building leadership, which will motivate, inspire and empower the employees to achieve organizational excellence. The “Vision 2020” aims at creating a society where human capital works faster with accelerated performance in the digitized environment and feels happy, healthy, and satisfied. It aims at working in collaboration, interactive communication, involvement, innovative policies, and respect for colleagues at the workplace.

1.1 Review of literature:

“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is most important.” - Bill Gates

According to Bill Gates, In today’s world, we cannot live without technology. Motivating teachers and making them use the best of it is a major task. We are living in a world where there are advancements happening with lightning speed. One day we were using technological equipment, and the next you know that it became obsolete. So, in order to move with the speed of the world and the brimming thinking minds, it is necessary to inculcate technology in the regular curriculum. If teaching is considered as a teaching-learning experience for both parties (teachers as well as students), then, it leads to a beautiful journey where both teachers are students become each other’s students and teachers at the same time!

1.2 Research methodology:

This research paper is based on the collection and analysis of the secondary data. The secondary data is composed of the literature available in different scholarly research articles belonging to several national and international journals.

1.3 Hypothesis:

  1. ICT in higher education makes communication more quick and effective.
  2. The process of infusing technology into the education system of India has been slow.

1.4 Objectives of the study

  1. To explain the role of ICT in higher education.
  2. To highlight its trends and issues.

1.5 Importance of the study

In the current scenario, sustainable education is possible through the infusion of new-age technology in the higher education system. Digital technology helps to improve accessibility, quality, and flexibility in the education system. In view of the changing demands ICT in higher education is not a choice but a necessity.

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2. Role of ICT in higher education.

Three basic foundations of sustainable education are wider accessibility, equity in opportunities, and good quality. Technology in education assists in storing, transferring, and sharing knowledge efficiently. ICT in curriculum bridges the digital divide among learners from diverse backgrounds and strengthens learning and communication activities.

  • The adoption of new-age technology in the learning strategies in classrooms has increased the efficiency of program delivery, widened the opportunities for flexible delivery, and provided support to customize educational programs as per the capacity of the learner.
  • Virtual learning in higher education creates an enjoyable and complete learning process with unlimited reach. It helps the lecturers to add life to what they are teaching. It makes learning more focused and provides an opportunity for the learner to have a choice-based learning approach. The Artificial Intelligence (AI) bot smoothly replaces the teacher and effectively interacts with the students on demand. It works like an Online Educator, or even better, has the advantage of video conferencing and video data transfer instantaneously.
  • The workplace culture can be digitized through ICT skills in three parameters namely, E-learning, E- libraries, and E-governance. E-learning is an upcoming delivery media for education and training. It enables students and users to learn anytime, anywhere through any tool which includes training, delivery of information and guidance from experts, Industry, professors, and websites via electronic devices or virtual classrooms like MOOCs.
  • MOOCs are a package of online courses including video lectures, quizzes, MCQs, and case studies. Teachers are improvising their skills to create e-content, and online lectures through videos, skype, and YouTube. This will equip students to acquire additional ICT skills for employment in the digital economy. M –learning empowers learning through mobiles, smartphones, portable media players, and personal digital assistants.
  • E- libraries create digital knowledge centers and their access through e-books, online catalogs, online journals, etc. Students from any part of the world can access them freely. The pay-per-download (PPD) model is an initiative to enable learners to acquire information as per choice. It is a subscription fee chargeable towards the e-resources in order to get a return on investment on INFLIBNET.
  • E-governance helps to innovate, improve, and transform institutions to bring efficiency, transparency, and accountability. Through the web–portal research consultancy, best practices student support systems are accessed. In the first phase of e-governance, as the mandatory requirement of NAAC all the relevant information has been digitized, In the second phase, under the Digital India scheme, it has been made compulsory for all educational institutions to process the information –procurement digitally through the web portal of National Informatics Corporation and Registration, admission and fees payment through the gateway of University web portal. In the third phase to make universities vibrant and ensure the fastest delivery of services to the stakeholders, integrating various working levels of Management Information Systems using the applications, systems, and services through Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is crucial.
  • The basic difference between conventional teaching and contemporary teaching is that while the former emphasizes the content and its learning, the latter focuses on selecting a curriculum or content that enhances the competency and performance of the learner.

3. Emerging trends and issues

India is the seventh largest economy in the world in terms of GDP and the third largest by purchasing power after the USA and China. The education industry in India is estimated to reach US $ 144 billion by 2020 from US$ 97.8 billion in 2016. The Government targets gross enrolment ratios of 30 percent for higher education by the year 2020. By 2030, it is estimated that India’s higher education system will have adopted transformative and innovative approaches to higher education. It aims to have an augmented gross enrolment ratio of 50 percent with lesser interstate and inter-gender disparities and to be amongst the top 5 countries in the world in terms of research output with an annual R&D spend of US 140 billion. As per the Internal Telecommunication Union, 43 percent of the world’s population is now online, with some form of regular access to the internet. The number of internet users rise globally by 3.2 billion of whom only 2 billion are from developing countries. The challenges they face are high cost and low access. resistance to change, lack of awareness, and quality content. As per UN data, India is home to the largest number of illiterate adults on the planet. In 2015, with a population of 1.2 billion, it has 40 percent of the population below 18 years and 55 percent under 20 years.

ICT is a force that has changed many aspects of our life but in the field of education, its influence has been far less. At present, only 10 percent of the population belongs to the formal sector while 90 percent is in the informal sector with no privileges of social security, or workplace benefits. Sixty percent of the population is still offline and does not participate in the digital economy. Teacher’s education in schools and colleges is not up to the mark. The state of digital infrastructure in these institutions is not satisfactory. They lack the necessary equipment to access the internet. Teachers lack the competencies required for e-learning. They exhibit inertia to accept changes and adopt new initiatives in teaching. The same applies to distance and open learning institutes. They challenge the concept and viability of digital platforms in teacher training programs. MOOCs. Though NCTE has advocated MOOC in various curricula based on NCFTE-2009, very few universities have adopted have adopted it. Digital technology is a huge investment. Persistent problems of digital divide across gender, geography, age, and income in each country.

With time new issues like changes in the makeup of the teacher pool, changes in the learner's profile, and changes in the cost and economics of course delivery emerge. The changing role of teachers will increase the opportunities for many including workplace trainers, mentors, specialists from the workplace, and others. There will be an expanding pool of students from diverse backgrounds. The cost of developing new technology-facilitated learning materials infrastructure course, development is quite high. The factors that have been instrumental are lack of funding to support the purchase of the technology, lack of training among established teaching practitioners, lack of motivation, and the need to have teachers empowered to use ICT as a teaching tool. People in rural areas have little or no access to the internet and electricity.

4. Initiatives

In the digital era, India has to re-structure and re-focus its institutions and organizations. The Government of India inaugurated the SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active –Learning for Young Aspiring Minds) portal (2016) and SWAYAMPRABHA in 2017 apart from Shodhganga, Shodhgangotri, Open Journal Access System (OJAS), Virtual Labs to make knowledge accessible at all across the nation. The Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) work as digital learning platforms. The National Digital Library provides free access to over 70 lakh at the doorstep. Web 2.0 tools such as blogs, wikis, and podcasts, have opened a plethora of opportunities for fulfilling social needs and interactive learning. Neo ICT resources like Learning Management Systems (LMS), Google tools, Open Educational Resources (OERs), and MOOCs are successful in global institutions. MHRD in India is trying to match up OER in Refresher Courses for Teachers and Teacher Educator Portals. There is a need to compete with the technology, and infrastructure, and become digital in terms of knowledge, staff, and potential students. The Ministry of HRD, GOI, has made it mandatory for all Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) to participate in the National Institution Ranking Framework (NIRF) to secure ranking in the globalized world. It has yet to gear up with all the disruptive changes. The Government of India has the mandate to bring 20 Institutes of Higher Education as World Class Institutes of Excellence. To achieve all this the Higher Education Financing Authority (HEFA) has granted a budget of Rs 2,750 crores in FY 19. A new scheme called Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE) aims to promote learning-based outcomes and research.

5. Limitations

Due to time constraints, primary data has not been collected to get actual data about the current scenario of digitization in a particular area or across India.

6. Conclusion

The study reveals that it is now difficult to imagine a world without information technology. The current education system of India needs to have a paradigm shift in its education system. In the digital era, there is a need to restructure and refocus its institutions and organizations.


  1. Jain Rakshak et Singh A.k.(2018)” Exploring the effective MOOC Development Methodology for SWAYAM, University News Vol 56 No 31), July 30-Aug 05, Association of Indian Universities, New Delhi.
  2. King John (2017), “Reimaging the role of technology in higher education”, Office of Educational Technology, US Department of Education, Jan.
  3. Ramaswamy Sasikala et al (2018)” New Education for New India”, University News, Vol 56 No, 24, Association of Indian Universities, New Delhi, June 11-17.
  4. Kumaravelu. G (2018)” Information Processing Skills in Higher Education”, University News, Vol 56, No 21, Association of Indian Universities, New Delhi, May 21-27.
  5. Sikandar Anita et Dahiya Richa (2018)” Need for Digitalised Workplace Culture in Indian Universities, University News, Vol 56No 30, Association of Indian Universities, New Delhi, July 23-29.
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