COVID-19 has impacted 80% of all enrolled students across the world. This translates to over 1.2 billion children being out of the classroom. It has impacted close to 32 crore students across India.
How is this pandemic shaping the future of education in India?
The pandemic has forced many educational institutions to compulsively move on to online learning.
In addition to students and teachers adjusting to this new reality, this sudden change in situation poses challenges such as technology adaptation, acceptance, broadband availability, affordability of electronic devices, lack of physical interaction, and a lot more.
The one-size-fits-all approach to education is changing. The schools are focussing on leveraging technology, instructional design, and teaching methods to offer an immersive learning experience. Let us have a brief look at the changes that seem most probable in the Indian education system.
NEP 2020 National Educational Policy
Coincidentally, the National Educational Policy proposes to revamp all the aspects of education. The timing just looks right. We can convert this “adversity called COVID‑19” into an opportunity.
Change in Standard Schedules
As and when schools and other educational institutions open-up after Covid-19, the new social distancing norms might mean schools working in shifts, following strict sanitization processes.
School bags may get Lighter
An average Indian school kid carries about 1.5 KG to 5KG of weight every day to school. The digitalization of education can help in shedding some weight from the school bag. The concept of homework and assignments might completely move online
Training the Teachers
The role of the teacher will grow from being just a knowledge bearer to being a facilitator in the acquisition of knowledge. Teachers will have to be trained for online teaching as well. It will ensure that they are able to seamlessly switch between online and offline modes of teaching.
- Creating an Ecosystem for Blended Learning
Schools might opt for blended learning, a mix of online learning and face-to-face learning. Students will only attend in-person classes for subjects that cannot be delivered in the digital model, e.g.: practical experiments, etc. Governments, corporates, and private organizations will have to work on strengthening infrastructure, facilities, and connectivity to build a sound e-learning ecosystem.
- Harnessing technology for convenience and excellence in education
The individualized real-time data that online learning offers will help teachers focus on teaching and helping students to move ahead. Parents will become more involved and connected with their child’s learning.
The schools are likely to morph into “learning hubs” with efficient use of technology. AI, cloud computing, and data management can help personalize education.
- EdTech Companies Will Take Centre stage
There has been a spurt in usage of language apps, virtual tutoring, online learning apps since COVID-19. The overall market for online education projected to reach $350 Billion by 2025. Going by the likes of BYJU’s, Vedantu, Unacademy, etc., attracting investments to the tune of US$18.66 billion in 2019. The future looks bright for these companies.
- Matthew Effect in Education
The NEP 2020 emphasizes creating a level-playing field and the advent of innovations in technology seems to boost a positive change in education. However, one cannot overlook the fact that: children from prosperous communities (. i.e. well-educated parents and/or financially upward classes) will gain the immediate benefit of the introduction of technology.
- The Way Forward
Educational institutes, parents, students and the corporate world have already risen to the challenge from these unforeseen of events. It seems in all probability an inclusive, robust online learning ecosystem backed by data connectivity and affordability across the length and breadth of the country is the need of the hour.
This coupled with collaboration between parents, teachers, educational institutes, Edtech companies, policymakers and corporates will see us through this disruption.
The future of learning, education, and upskilling has always looked bright for India and will continue to be so. Let us know what you think.