Web3 And Its Impact On the Indian Education Sector
The education sector in India had stayed dormant for several decades post-independence
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Education author, Paul D. Spears' saying, "Education is a key element for human flourishing," falls short in this day and age. Education is key, however, the channel of dissemination must evolve along with other facets of human life. Societies across time have had dialogues in development, innovation and growth. The education sector in India had stayed dormant for several decades post-independence. Things started changing—for the better—in the past couple of decades, however, the pace of change has been moderate at best. The sector is now ripe to take big strides thanks to the tech-boom.
Today we stand at a precipice of a major change, much like in Y2K and the ushering in of the age of digital information. The only difference is that there's no gloom and doom with this change, but a sense of progress and excitement. The change being referred to is, of course, today's hot topic: the initiation of Web3, or 'semantic Web,' or 'spatial Web,' or 'the 3D Web of the future.'
Why Web3 and why now?
For those still not familiar with the concept, Web3 is, simply put, the next phase of our digital evolution. It is being touted as a new, better Internet that incorporates concepts such as decentralization, blockchain technologies, and token-based economics. Web3 is the closest model to a democratic educational system wherein a lack of access will be a thing of the past. The education sector undoubtedly stands to benefit the most from Web3 versus others. If one still doubts this fact, the recent study issued by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) might make you feel differently. It stated that of the 1 billion children that attend school, a whopping 600 million do not reach even a proficient level in reading or mathematics. The UN has called it the biggest global challenge that will hold millions back at work, life and economic productivity. It truly is an urgent matter of concern and Web3 could not have been more timely.
So, what is it?
If Web 1 was the 'read only' version of the internet and Web 2 was the read-and-write version with the transfer of knowledge still lying within the confines of schools and universities, then Web 3 harnesses the blockchain, NFTs and the metaverse as the catalyst for the paradigm shift. This translates into learners benefitting from greater access to a broader base of information. Web3 will allow access to higher education at a collegiate level where students can pick specialized subjects that they are interested in rather than prescribe to a stringent list of pre-decided curricula.
What will it do?
Web3 comes with many firsts to truly democratize education. This will be the first time in human civilization that every child will have the same access to education irrespective of their background. Our constitution guarantees the basic fundamental right to free and mandatory education, and this is our chance to make it a reality. It will be the first time that education will adopt a pay-as-you-learn model for students as they follow the concerned professor and their modules instead of the institute. Simply put, your child's dream of going to Harvard or Oxford is no longer marred by nepotism nor is it financially unfathomable. It will be the first active measure we have taken towards reducing student debt. RBI reports that as of August 26, 2022, student debt in India amounts to INR 1,45,785 crore. Our economy will not allow for a full waiver of this debt as US President Biden had recently announced. Blockchain will go a long way in stopping student debt accumulation and the crippling repayment burden that comes with it.
Is it credible though?
The short answer, yes. The credibility of Web3 lies in the fact that much like institutes that require accreditations and certifications with Registrars to show authenticity, centres of learning in the metaverse will need a DAO (decentralized autonomous organizations) certification. This will allow a virtual environment wherein students can join communities based on their interests, learn from legitimate like-minded sources and even pay through NFTs. Learning will finally be on the student's terms to play to their strengths and hone their life skills. DAO will allow for greater transparency in governance where the students (who are the key stakeholders), will be given a voice on matters such as content, delivery and the source of information.
Web3 brings advantages and access like never before. Experiential learning becomes a lifelong endeavour, a habit led by motivation, and not a standardized chalk-n-talk methodology of yesteryears.