“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today”. Malcolm X
No more knowledge monopoly
The post-COVID-19 world and the scenario which existed a few years before is worth noticing. With the advent of information technology powered by high-speed network connection and the latest smartphones loaded with the mobile application, the knowledge regarding any field of study is no more a monopoly of the teacher. The old days where the teacher knew everything is long over. At present, understanding a concept or learning new ideas is far easier than what existed before. The technology has acted as a leveller in the education industry.
Technology and associated challenges
Technology is definitely a boon for the world. During this time of pandemic staying at home and studying is the more sustainable solution. But let’s park the sheer diversity of India. Lack of internet connections, power cuts, low-speed internet data, a paucity of money and infrastructure primarily in the rural areas and government schools and in tier II and tier III cities are a big challenge for the education industry in this pandemic. The Human Development Index released by UNDP( United Nation Development Program) has placed India at 129th rank out of 189 countries in the year 2019. This rank is going to get further degraded after the setback due to this pandemic. Therefore, the himalayan challenge in front of the education industry is to reach out to the marginalised section of India and provide them with quality education.
Schools - A school has a diverse range of students right front the age of 3-4 till the age of early ’20s. Therefore, the challenge is worth pondering upon. Virtual platform in the form of Zoom classes were some of the quick solution implemented by the private schools. But the opinion of the parents, Education experts and faculty members stand divided when it comes to the utility of this process.
For young children sitting in front of the screen to take an online class can not only become a cause of their weak eyesight at an early age but also it can make kids addicted to the use of mobile phones. The frequent calls and messages during a session can also become the cause of their distraction and lack of focus thereby demeaning the whole process of an online class.
On the contrary, online classes can be beneficial for adolescents who are more tech-oriented and know how to use a smartphone and join an online class. However, a more grave issue cropping up is regarding the privacy of teachers. Use of abusive language and making a mockery of the process by mischievous elements is also juggernaut problem showing its ugly sides. Recently, keeping the pandemic into perspective the board exam of Std 10 & Std 12 have also been cancelled after the Supreme Court order.
University - The universities across India are equally in the doldrums. Recently, IIT Bombay has suspended its face to face classes for the entire semester and has opted for online lectures. In universities, it is easier to cope up with the challenge of this pandemic. The students in universities are adult students who are more self-driven and concerned for their career and future growth. However, conducting the semester exams is again a big challenge for the university. For example, the proposal for an open book exam was tabled at the University of Delhi. But the challenge of writing and then uploading the softcopy of these answer sheets online within a required span of time is a humongous challenge. The server capacity and crashing of the website due to extra traffic online remains a pressing concern.
Coaching Institutes - The coaching institutes preparing students for various competitive exams throughout India are much better placed. The use of online classes, uploading of video lectures on the respective websites and Pendrive courses are some of the best solutions which are sustainable and easily adaptable in this pandemic times.
This pandemic has brought new challenges for teachers in India. Lack of technological expertise and not remaining updated with the latest methods of teaching with the use of online classes has brought teachers into a mind-boggling scenario. They are expected to understand that they are not the only repository of knowledge in the eyes of students. Therefore, a teacher needs to cope with changing times and has to change according to the needs of the student. Students demand more cooperation and a sense of understanding from the teachers. They also need to update themselves with latest technology, use of zoom classes, adding students in the online class, solving their doubts and concerns regarding the subjects. More importantly, the delivery of the concept to the students needs to be enhanced with a more graphical and dynamic presentation for better understating, focus and developing interest of the student in the subject.
The lucrative business in the education sector largely revolved around the coaching centres for competitive exams and private schools in India. The industry which was booming often witnessing exponential growth is facing some sluggish growth at present. It is imperative on the part of the coaching institutes to take into consideration that the days of jam-packed classes are over. Institutes which have lack of space and were brimming with students even to the last centimetre of space available is no more a possibility now. In the coming times, with changed world scenario due to this pandemic, proper spacing between two students in the classes, sanitisation before entry into the class, use of alternate days and batches with more flexible timing to adjust the crowd will be required to be followed. Education platforms like MBAtrek, Unacademy, BYJU classes, Vedantu are some of the online education business companies witnessing exponential growth in India during this pandemic.