Ministry of Human Resource and Development last year issued an order to all 900 universities and 40,000 affiliated colleges across India regarding free Wifi at Education Institutes. The colleges and universities have been asked to collaborate with private players to provide at least 1GB of free data per student, per month. This could bring about a paradigm shift for India’s educational institutions and students alike.
Impact of technology evolution on the education sector
The evolution of technology and improved Internet connectivity has brought about several benefits for the education sector. It has allowed students and educators to connect with global educators through seminars, live online lectures, and stay abreast with the latest advancements in their respective fields.
The concept of online learning and self-teaching has become widely accepted, leading to growth in massive open online courses and blended learning. As per statistics, India is the world’s second large market by subscriber base, after the US, and also among the fastest-growing markets for such online platforms. In fact to support online learning and make quality resources available to remote parts of the country the Indian government started its own MOOCs platform SWAYAM in the year 2017.
The trends show that Indian students have increasingly started expecting to connect with their educational resources anytime, anywhere and at their convenience. They also like to be able to connect with quality educators from around the world and learn from them. In fact, not just students but teachers also tend to benefit a lot from knowledge sharing with their global counterparts and online training programs. Further, Cloud-based applications enable educators to upload podcasts, lectures online, increasing convenience for all. Connected learning thusis fast becoming an integral part of modern education and a powerful teaching tool for educators.
These dynamic changes in learning and knowledge sharing behavior of students and teachers have led to growth in demand for better bandwidth. The access to the internet in schools , colleges has existed for a while now, but free Wifi can take the experience to the next level. While 3G, 4G or even the upcoming 5G technology can offer an enhanced experience, it will not be affordable for all segments of students. Further with the upsurge in data demands, mobile technologies alone may not even be able to meet all the data demand. As per industry forecasts, the total worldwide data will swell to 163ZB by 2025, 10 times the amount today.
Wifi at Education Institutes will help in providing low cost and affordable high-quality e-content of all learners in the country and set new benchmarks for connected learning in India. Smart education techniques can be accessible to anyone, anywhere, which would increase digital inclusion.
What universities need to keep in mind for Free Wifi?
The creation of digital campuses and the implementation of free wifi everywhere is not going to be an easy task though. It will require consolidated effort by both universities and private players. The infrastructure cost for option fiber, access points will need to be borne by telcos. 24X7 monitoring of the network and enforcement of requisite policies for the subscribers will also need to be provisioned. It, therefore, becomes important for educational institutions to engage with telcos or infrastructure providers who can adhere to all the guidelines.
Adhering to all security and DoT compliant policies is a prime focus for us at Firefly. We endeavor to provide seamless, high-speed and secure data connectivity to all on any Wi-Fi enabled devices. We have been able to establish our presence through an array of top-tier locations covering educational institutes, hospitals, malls, cafes, public hangouts and markets, institutional premises, transit points and corporate parks across the major Indian cities.