With a lockdown imposed across the world to curb the further dissemination of the virus, people are slowly adjusting to the massive shift in conventional lifestyle brought upon by the pandemic. As instructed by the WHO, practising a policy of physical distancing amongst all populations is of the utmost importance. Therefore in compliance with this essential protocol, all schools, colleges, libraries, universities, coaching centres etc remain closed.
One can imagine the impact of this shutdown on students. The various state governments and the respective education boards would have surely been caught in a state of limbo, if not for the emergence of the budding Indian edutech industry.
The lockdown has hindered the flow and continuity of the students’ learning process across the country. Thus both students and teachers alike are resorting to unconventional pedagogical pathways with all traditional centres of learning coming to a halt.
As a result of the edtech revolution, there has been an enormous transition from the offline physical mediums of education to online remote learning modes. Students are now equipped to learn from the safety of their homes without having to venture outside. Through a multitude of online learning platforms that are available today, the edutech industry is ensuring that even if students can no longer go to their schools, at least the virtual classrooms should reach their homes.
The finance minister of India has instructed all state education boards along with the government and private school to adopt a swift digital learning transition.
These new and advanced online learning mediums are well equipped to cater to the vast and varying needs of the countless Indian students whose studies have been severely disrupted by the coronavirus lockdown.
The proposed governmental scheme, the ‘PMeVIDYA’ program will seek to provide multi-mode access to digital learning with immediate effect. Moreover, it will also authorize over a 100 state and central universities to start online courses by May 30. The highly anticipated ‘PM eVIDYA’ program will consist of ‘Diksha’ involving e-content and QR coded energized textbooks for all classes.
Besides this, one earmarked TV channel per class from 1 to 12 will also be extended to the students providing optimum educational benefits. It also ambitions to appropriate the use of radio, community radio and podcasts and special e-content to provide specialized and tailored learning methodologies to the visually and hearing impaired.
Such a transition from the conventional form of school education to a remote online learning via edutech platforms are slowly but surely, reinventing the jaded pedagogical curve in the country.
In addition to this, various state government has tied up with ed tech platforms. Toppr.in with Rajasthan State Board, Bright Tutee with Rajasthan, Haryana and Nagaland State Board and Eckovation with Bihar State Board to name a few.
Students are one of the worst affected sections of society due to the nation-wide closure, where public gatherings of all types are outlawed. Cut-off from their schools and the guidance of their teachers, the students would have been left in the dark, if not for the innovations of the rising edutech industry.
Through advanced and cutting-edge technologies such as AI, ML and Deep Learning, these rising new-age online learning platforms are now superseding the conventional pedagogical structures.
For students hailing from the weaker and marginalized sections of society, these online learning portals are proving especially invaluable in maintaining their learning process. With schools out of order, these students cannot match the learning curve of their privileged big-city counterparts. Thus, it is the duty of the government to ensure that the students residing in these backward regions of the country should have access to the minimum facility, i.e. a computer system and an internet connection, needed to make online learning a true success.
Online learning players are also reinventing the modes of disseminating knowledge through a blend of hi-engagement audio-video mediums that offer a mélange of texts, sounds, images and films. These edtech channels are generating a spirit of scientific temper and enquiry in the minds of young learners through a combination of quirky yet interesting, fun yet informative learning elements.
This online learning approach is nothing short of revolutionary as it endeavours to captivate the students by presenting their lessons in a unique and learner-friendly format. It seeks to move beyond the limitations of the one-dimensional rote learning approach which was championed by the erstwhile didactic system.
Online learning helps to revive the natural penchant on the student’s part towards learning new concepts and enhancing one’s creative and intellectual faculties. Edtech platforms are also advancing online lessons in vernacular languages, besides the usual Hindi and English keeping in mind the diversity in language and culture that is witnessed across the country.
Online learning platforms have greatly succeeded in winning over its share of detractors. The newly developed, affordably-priced and student-friendly learning formats are in perfect accordance with the curriculum guidelines established by the state education boards. Therefore even the initial doubters and naysayers, who were dismissive of the edtech platforms for its lack of streamlined content and expensive nature, are now starting to embrace the comprehensive applications of online learning.
With the sudden discontinuation of offline learning institutions, the onus is on these edtech platforms to capitalize on the opportunity and become an authentic learning partner for about 260 million school students in India. Thus the education boards of most states in the country are partnering with several edutech players to ensure that the learning process of students continues smoothly without any impediments.
--Article by Anant Goyal, Director and Founder, Bright tutee.