Earlier this year in March an unexpected pandemic paved its way into India and the government imposed a lockdown that has been active since then. The government started to close educational institutions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 across states . During the period of the lockdown, the education industry in India witnessed new changes like the emergence of e-learning.
Throughout the world institutes, schools are adopting virtual learning platforms and the learning which halted for a few months now has started to improve. During this period virtual learning has emerged as a reliable platform for institutes across the nation. Inexpensive data plans are a boon for lower and middle-class students who can easily access the classrooms without worrying throughout the country even in rural and small cities or suburbs. Virtual learning can be the next big sector for the Indian business industry.
Virtual learning has been a part of education in India for over a long period of time, but over the period the industry has changed significantly. India is the second-largest Ed-tech market in the world. We are witnessing that many potential players are entering the market but as the future of the industry is concerned those who are more adaptive to market demands and can develop relevant solutions, will sail through.
It cannot be replaced by traditional learning practices shortly but can complement traditional learning by creating an engaging environment with the help of audio-video, VR technologies. The school work will be supported by online tools and this can also result in less dependency on attending regular classes.
The education in India experienced both negatives and positives due to COVID-19. This pandemic has had many negative impacts on school or higher education but, the education sector has reacted in a positive way to these barriers.
How corona-virus impacted Indian education positively
- A hybrid approach to learning: The digital revolution has accelerated the delivery of education to a larger group of students. Now institutes have adopted a hybrid approach to learning. It has enabled all students and teachers to be maters of technology. All new developments in the area have given space for the development of a more adaptable development of the syllabus.
- Rise of virtual conferences: During the period of lock-down almost every educational institute as well as business and government has adopted a virtual mode of meeting through various apps like Google meet and Zoom which has made it easier for students and teachers to hold meetings.
- Improved digital literacy: The future belongs to technology and eventually every single person will be affected by it, so it is the need of the hour that everybody has a basic knowledge of these products. This pandemic has brought these changes throughout the nation during the lock-down period.
- Growth of the Ed-tech sector: Use of learning solutions by schools and colleges has created a potential market for Ed-tech firms. The products from these companies are in huge demand. It is a great opportunity for big players to grow their presence as well as for new ventures to establish themselves.
- Demand for virtual education: As it is highly contagious for students to go to their respective institutes, new ways of learning have emerged that are providing the best opportunities from across the globe for better learning. Many reputed institutions are providing virtual courses for the students which will help students positively.
Negative outcomes of corona-virus on education:
- The halting of the educational sector: All the classroom activities have been dismissed and all the examinations for colleges as well as for jobs postponed. There are uncertainties about the exams like NEET or JEE which has resulted in nationwide protests. The admission process for all the institutes has been terminated for a few months. This long gap will be much difficult for students
- Impact education sector employment: Many recruitment processes have been postponed due to corona-virus. Many companies are delaying their placement process which is very strenuous for the batch of 2021. There is almost no government recruitment at the time. As economic conditions are expected to get much worse, it is going to hit the employment sector harshly.
- The unpreparedness of students and teachers for online classes: A lot of teachers who are comparatively old, are finding it difficult to adopt this new way of teaching. They are not familiar with the basic functioning of online tools which creates a lot of problems for students. In rural areas, students do not have adequate knowledge of computer applications which is hampering their learning.
- No global job opportunities: Many bright students from reputed institutes like IIMs and IITs are going to pass out this year but much to their disappointment due to the restrictions imposed by governments throughout the world, they are not going to get jobs outside the country. Many students who got their jobs before corona-virus are not able to reach their respective job locations due to ban on cross border travelling.
- No access to the internet: In many remote or rural areas many students of government as well as private institutions are not able to use online platforms for smoothly attending their classes due to the lack of digital infrastructure which is affecting their careers badly. Economic instability is another reason for not being able to resume their education virtually.
Coronavirus has hit education very harshly. It has created many problems but there are also some opportunities which have the potential to evolve in the near future. The government and institutions are exploring some possibilities in virtual learning and distance education. The nation is not ready to provide proper education to every single student. Students who do not have proper digital gadgets for online learning will suffer. Indian government should pay the attention to both students and teachers who suffered due to this pandemic.