Educational researcher Sugata Mitra said here Saturday that good
education in India was limited to only those in cities and that
the quality of education is dismal in rural India.
Mitra, who recently won $1 million in prize money for innovation
in education techniques, told IANS: "In India, good education
appears to be the fiefdom of those living in urban areas. The
further you go away towards rural parts of India, the quality of
education deteriorates rapidly."
"Good teachers migrate to cities in search of better
opportunities, leaving the not-so-good ones behind. Training the
existing teachers is the next best option. But after the training,
the trained teachers migrate to the cities too," he said.
"Training more teachers isn't a solution," he said, adding that
the "Internet could work as a great leveler in such a piquant
"The Internet performs in the same manner, be it in urban or rural
areas," he said.
Mitra said that he was scouting for a place to set up his 'School
in the Cloud,' a learning lab for children, in India.
"We are excited to be starting work on it soon but there are still
a lot of loose ends to be tied up. We need a place which does not
have a school nearby but yet has electricity and broadband
connectivity. We have a few options in Western India, the
Sundarbans and Orissa," he said.
Mitra said that while ideas and engineering innovations were
necessary, sustainability was an issue which was necessary to
ensure that projects like the globally acclaimed 'Hole in the
Wall' - project started in 1999 - lasted the distance.
"I would probably have shifted to tablets," he said, when asked
what modifications would he made to his project, which involved
installing a computer near a slum in New Delhi.
'Hole in the Wall' was an eye-opener because it drove home a
previously unimaginable message that children who were deprived of
English language skills and were computer illiterates gradually
learnt to use a computer to their advantage.
Mitra, a professor of educational technology at the Newcastle
University, recently won the $1 million TED prize. He is known for
his pursuit of "minimally invasive education", which advocates a
rethink of conventional schooling systems.