Distance education could address dearth of teachers: Sibal

New Delhi, Nov 19 (Inditop.com) Distance education, via cell phones and other technology geared to provide open access to education, could address the dearth of teachers plaguing the Indian education system, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said Thursday.

“There is a need for distance education (in India) because conventional teaching methods cannot meet the challenges of our young population,” Sibal said.

The minister was speaking at a function of the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of the country’s largest distance learning provider, the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).

Sibal informed that at present over 500 million people were under 25 years of age, and by 2020 the average age of an Indian would be 29 years.

“Thus we should be able to provide proactive and quality education for our young which may not be possible if we limit ourselves to formal pedagogical methodology,” he said.

He added that there was a need to “invest on technologies and develop methods that would enable access to complex education resources”.

The minister pointed out that the use of cell phones, air waves and wi fi could be tapped for distance education. “In the absence of adequate teachers, interactive teaching is essential,” he said.

“Although the Internet is a large resource feed, instruments that disseminate knowledge will also undergo change (as technology evolves),” Sibal added.

He concluded by saying that if India wants to fulfil its goal of achieving “over 90 percent literacy soon” from the current 64 percent then there was “a need to investigate, innovate and look for newer solutions”.