It has been rightly said that the world has become a global village and is learning to live together. In contemporary times, socio-economic and cultural patterns have changed across the world at a dynamic speed. The educational patterns have been subjected to profound changes across the world. In digitalization, various important countries worldwide are now moving towards online procedures and are providing students with facilities that are deemed important for online education. In the wake of Covid-19, most countries have moved towards digitalization, especially in terms of education which has been regarded as an important development in contemporary times. Although the digitalization of education is creating various issues for the students, countries prioritize the distant learning platforms at any cost. Because of this, the phenomenon of education is moving quite quickly from the old practices and the patterns to the new ones, which no doubt is challenging but is also comprehensive and effective.
The phenomenon of urban growth has yielded important results for the world on the whole. In contemporary times, various countries of the world are prone to urbanization. Urbanization is considered a challenge to various countries globally as it is playing an important role in changing the overall dimensions of societies at large. According to the report of UNDP, by2 2030, more than 5 billion people—60% of the 2010 global population—will live in cities. Urbanization is considered a challenge because the countries are not quite ready to deal with this huge population influx to the cities at such a high rate. Over the decades, the world population is increasing at a rapid pace. With that, most of the population is moving towards cities to have better opportunities for living their lives. Because of this and various other reasons, urbanization is becoming an important challenge in contemporary times. Urbanization is becoming a challenge; instead, most countries have remained unable to solve this urbanization problem comprehensively. Various strategies have been implemented worldwide to deal with urbanization, but until now, the pressure of rapid urban growth has remained a very pressing problem.
As educational institutions are swiftly shifting towards digitalization, here lies an important question: How will it cater to the pressure of rapid urban growth? Coming towards the challenges which have been associated with urbanization, it seems that although digitalization can cater to various important issues, on the whole, it will not prove that much efficient and effective to deal with rapid urban growth because digitalization as a process is not available to all the countries of the world. This issue on the end of various important countries, as they lack digitalization, is a serious problem. In its presence, the process of catering to the problem of rapid urban growth becomes quite difficult to manage. Various important issues are associated with the digitalization of educational institutions, because of which it will not be able to cater to the pressure of rapid urban growth.
Process of Digitalization of Educational Institutions
The challenges associated with the process of digitalization of educational institutions are as follows.
Firstly, it is important to mention here that to swiftly shift educational institutions to digitalization, a very responsive, effective, and efficient internet connection is required. Although in various first-world countries, internet connections are not a problem, it is considered a serious question in the developing world because of which digitalization is suffering from problems in the developing and under-developed countries. To completely digitalize the educational patterns, it is deemed necessary that the problems of coverage and connection should be solved as a priority. Having such a grim picture of connections across the world, the challenge of catering the rapid urban growth seems to be a problem that will not be dealt with comprehensively.
In addition, various stakeholders will be involved in digitalization, and they can have varying interests of their own. Importantly, because of such varying interests, the result may not yield important results on the whole. Such varying interests on behalf of stakeholders will not cater to the pressure of rapid urban growth. Various stakeholders will pursue their specific agendas, which will not help solve the problem of rapid urban growth because this problem will remain intact in the long run.
Moreover, the issues associated with urbanization like effective governance, planning, and vice versa cannot be yielded in the frame of digitalization as these are the issues beyond the framework of digitalization of educational institutions. A huge infrastructural capability is required to effectively manage such problems, which seems unlikely on account of digitalization. It is important to mention here that technology has a relevant framework of its own, and it cannot work in all the frameworks. As digitalization does not offer any sustainable solutions to such problems, it seems unlikely that it will cater to the rapid urban growth.
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Another important issue related to digitalization is that in developing and under-developed countries, there are various social and societal stereotypes because of which women are not allowed to have formal education. In the process of digitalization, using of the internet is very important, and women are not allowed to make use of this facility on the whole because of which they remain backward in the long run. As women are not allowed to make proper use of this facility. Hence the problems associated with rapid urban growth will increase because women constitute a considerable portion of the population. When they are kept unaware of all the happenings around them, it becomes difficult to cater to the pressure of rapid urban growth.
Another important problem that has been encountered in this phenomenon is that internet services are prone to cyber-attacks, and because of this, misinformation and irrelevant data can spread amongst people. As the internet services are quite unsecure, the digitalization of educational institutions is also at risk because problems of grave nature can arise. As cyber-attacks largely contribute to spreading misinformation, in no possible way can they cater to the pressure of rapid urban growth, which has some problems associated with it?
By discussing various important problems associated with online education and digitalization, it seems evident that the problems of urban growth cannot be effectively dealt with considering digitalization in the long run. Although digitalization offers solutions to various problems which are associated with urbanization but on the whole, some problems are beyond the framework of digitalization, so it cannot prove helpful in this regard.
Furthermore, it is important to discuss that how the pressure of rapid urban growth can be catered to effectively and efficiently. Firstly, it is important to mention that governance is considered an important phenomenon that plays an important role in solving various issues which are associated with urban growth. Planning and management play an important role in solving the issues which are associated with urban growth. When planning is done effectively and efficiently, various problems associated with governance are solved fully.
Secondly, the problems associated with overpopulation should be told to be the public. The public should be made aware of these problems, which play an important role in making lives difficult.
Thirdly, the government should enact those policies that help control the population in the long run because when resources and an ever-increasing population are absent, it becomes difficult to manage these problems effectively.
In a nutshell, with the tide of globalization in full swing, education, like other important aspects, is also experiencing digitalization because the world, on the whole, is slowly moving towards online platforms. In the wake of these events, the pressure of urban growth is becoming intense because most people are moving towards cities to have better jobs and better exposure to various important economic opportunities. As education is swiftly shifting towards digitalization, the pressure of rapid urban growth is becoming quite pressing. In various important aspects, online education through digitalization can cater to rapid urban growth, but there are some issues like governance, planning which are beyond the framework of technology. These are considered key ingredients that play a vital role in catering to the pressure of rapid urban growth other than the digitalization of educational institutions. Although digitalization does solve some of the problems in the long run, it cannot cater to the pressure of rapid urban growth.
Usama Mumtaz, Muhammad Yousuf, M.Wajahat Hussain, and Kiran Akhter