'Technology Can Never Substitute In-class Training' Says B-School Directors

At the recently held Future of Management Education Conclave organized by BW Education, directors of India's renowned B-schools shared how the corona pandemic has affected their process of imparting education to their students.

Management schools have been adversely impacted because of the COVID-19 pandemic. New technological tools are now taking their place in the daily routine of students; virtual classrooms are a part of it. The question remains what the future of business schools is going to look like. 

L K Tripathi, Director, Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies, Pune, said, “There is no replacement for face-to-face learning. However, in the present situation, the technology has helped us a lot in all the three fields of design, delivery and evolution of curriculum.” The director was speaking at the recently held virtual Future of Management Education Conclave organized by BW Education. Other notable dignitaries present were Himanshu Rai, Director, IIM Indore; R. Raman, Director, Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (SIBM), Pune.

Taking the discussion further, Himanshu Rai, Director, IIM Indore, stated, “Covid-19 has taught us that technology can never be a substitute for the in-class training.” “How long do you actually teach on a camera? A teacher draws his energy when he sees a class full of students. I am desperately waiting for my students to come back to the campus,” Rai said.

Limitations of Technology

Can technology compensate for everything that was good in the pre-Covid era? R. Raman, Director, SIBM Pune, shared his views: “This pandemic has thrown on B-schools to go forcefully online. It is not by choice but it is by design that you have no option but to go for it.” 

“Though it also creates opportunities for global classrooms, there are also negatives with it as all students are not happy going online," Raman said. He added, "Like when I'm in a classroom, I possibly can see this way and that way, but if I am in an online classroom the moment I am turning this way (one side), the person who is speaking might think that I'm not listening. So look at the amount of stress that it puts on the student that you are constantly watching the camera and nodding”. Raman stated that the positive part is that you are able to continue with your curriculum.

It is undeniable that technology is a great enabler. Hence, technology, even if under the pressure of corona pandemic, has opened several possibilities for the education sector. “I think this situation has taught us the limitations of technology, so much as the situational context of our countries is concerned, but at the same time it has opened up new vistas some of the things which had we never thought of,” Rai stated. 

Tripathi informed, “We pre-recorded all the lectures and stored them in the cloud to give it to the students as and when it is required. When a lot of universities of state government have been struggling to find a solution, we went ahead and started our first semester at the time and the second semester will be starting from the coming Monday (today).”

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