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How Covid Is Acting As Chief Digital Disruptor In India For Education Sector

The complete teaching structure in our country also had to change overnight and we should appreciate the authorities who have been working day in and out to implement wonderful amendments to the existing policies which reflect the need of the hour.

The hitherto unseen deadly global pandemic caused by Covid virus is turning out to be a big challenge for the global economy and has affected all sectors in such a drastic way that industries are shaken, GDPs have fallen sharply and the education sector is no such exception.

The complete teaching structure in our country also had to change overnight and we should appreciate the authorities who have been working day in and out to implement wonderful amendments to the existing policies which reflect the need of the hour. The crisis is also seeing digital learning as an emerging trend and an essential integrated resource for education. India is perhaps best poised to usher in critical bottom up reforms in the education structure and NEP 2020 together with advent of Ed-tech revolution can actually make our country a world leader in digital learning solutions.

Taking a look at what the stats are telling us, the education system is facing a new crisis, as more than 160 countries mandated some form of school closures impacting at least 1.5 billion children and youth as per a World Bank report. While school closures seem to present a logical solution to enforce social distancing within communities, prolonged closures tend to have a disproportionately negative impact on the most vulnerable students. However in India ,thanks to the efforts of the government and ministries and especially the ‘quick learner’ teachers across the nation who have managed to ensure the continuity of learning in these demanding times and are acting as key catalyst in refurbishing the whole learning process.

Necessity is the mother of invention and coming to the aid of this new shift to online learning are enterprise level tools like  Jio Meet, Google Classroom/Meet, Microsoft Teams, Zoom etc. on one end and ed-tech platforms focussed on K-12 like Byju’s ,Vedantu as well as  niche platforms like cuemath , whitehat jr , doubtnut etc.

While Covid also triggered work from home and layoffs, under the guidance and strategic messaging right from top about becoming aatmanirbhar or self-reliant and the importance of having a more resilient second income /digital income has also pushed the adoption, revenues and valuations of other online learning and enabling platform like upgrad, unacademy ,leverage edu, Gyanistan

Infact the new age learning platforms like BYJU’s has now become one of the world’s most highly valued ed-tech companies coupled with a $10Billion + valuation and a 200%+ increase in the number of new students using its product as per the reports.

Certainly the ed-tech sector has been witnessing  high growth since pre-Covid times as well but the current scenario has fostered the investments at whopping 18.66 billion USD in 2019 to an expected 350 billion USD figure by 2025. It looks like the next decade truly is the age of on-demand, vernacular & virtual tutoring, video based solutions and e-learning software, defining the next ‘Digital Age’ of education!

Stakeholders are also giving opinions about how this flexibility in the education system needs consistent attention from the concerned authorities even after the pandemic. The blended mode of combining physical interactions along with the innovative online technologies is really constructive as this will not only allow students to learn anytime, any device and anywhere but also develop new skills in the process of learning from multiple sources and a broader knowledgebase rather than being confined to a single source and also give them time to explore and hone their passions and true callings. This fusion can turn out to be an ideal solution for holistic development of a child’s potential.

At the same time, we cannot deny the ground reality of an age old system relocating to e-learning with hiccups and new ways of interaction taking its own time to become the new normal especially with the digital divide that still exists. The students who are deprived of connectivity and bandwidth coupled with their economic constraints will take more time than their counterparts but the quintessential Indian spirit of innovation, jugaad and entrepreneurship riding on the better internet connectivity by the likes of Jio and gram panchayat level broadband connectivity by government might just prove to be the magic bullet. 

Change is the only constant, and now that it has come unanticipated, it is very important to not keep brooding over the setbacks but adapt to it in the best possible manner, make a stronger comeback and unlock the opportunities that the in-Covid and post-Covid world presents to us. This new tryst with destiny might just prove to be the harbinger of ultra-rapid digitization of education which the nation has needed for long but was never too ready turning Covid from an adversity into an opportunity and make India the Vishwaguru again, the ultimate Online Gurukul of knowledge , learning and education. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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