Has Coronavirus Opened The Doors For Online Education In India?

All the misconceptions about online education must be kept aside and knowledge should flourish in ever Indian household.

Since the start of corona virus epidemic, one thing that has changed is the way we all study. Educational sources are made available online so that there is no stoppage in the flow of knowledge. Penetration of online education available in India is highly varied. This can be changed by a number of ways.

Indian education system is based on the concept of memorising everything and then just producing a copy of it in the exam. After this the child forgets what was taught. It is scientifically proven that if a child is taught with sound effects and audio-visual content, the child will remember it for a much longer time.

Let’s not just study, let’s educate ourselves!

There are various benefits of learning from e-sources.

There is a wide variety of data available online: No matter what students’ study, from nursing to neuroscience, they can find the courses or programs they need online. Students can also earn every academic degree online, from a career certificate to a doctorate. This also promotes social distancing which is the need of the hour.

Comfortable learning environment: you can study at the ease of your home, your own comfortable surroundings. There are no physical class lectures and hence no show-off of uniform and any extra baggage. Students can just be how they are and attend lectures.

Pursue other courses: in India, education has always been treated as a huge deal. Students study for 10 hours daily to meet the societies expectations and to prove themselves. Along with flexible course structure classes, they can pursue their passion and not dwell into the misery of books.

More interaction and greater ability to concentrate: While contradictory evidence about the rate of online student participation versus participation in traditional courses exists, one thing remains certain: Online courses offer shy or more reticent students the opportunity to participate in class discussions more easily than face-to-face class sessions.

This segment is expected to leap from $ 247 million in 2016, to approximately $ 1.96 billion by 2021. That is a compound annual growth rate of 52%. The number of users enrolled for various online learning courses is estimated to grow to 1.6 million in 2016 to 9.6 million by the end of 2021. Indians are the second largest consumers on MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) like Coursera. Government initiatives like SWAYAM, E- Basta, E-Pathshaala, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyaan ( RMSA) etc. are furthering the spread of online education.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the global education technology sector, which includes online learning, was growing about 15.4% a year, with big name companies such as Google and Microsoft investing heavily in the industry, according to Kenneth Research. The United States is the largest market, with rapid growth also in India, China and South Korea, according to a report by ICEF Monitor, a market research firm focusing on international education. It is predicted that this growth rate will increase a lot for this year.

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Byju’s was founded in 2011 and is now reportedly worth $8 billion. When its learning app launched in 2015, only around a quarter of India’s population had access to the internet, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. Today, more than half does. That means education apps are no longer restricted to major urban centers or the wealthier members of society. Byju’s says that more than 60% of its students are from outside the 10 largest cities in India. The app is currently only available in Hindi and English, but Raveendran says Byju’s is in the process of adding more regional languages.

Regional language integration is highly demanded for online education to flourish in India.

There were a few universities which were highly globalised and converted into e-universities before this pandemic. Pearl Academy, the country’s premier design school, where undisrupted learning is happening despite the education lockdown is one of them. Another university that comes to mind is University of Petroleum and Energy Sciences (UPES) based at Dehradun where learning continues through online medium. It’s clear that Pearl Academy and UPES had unlocked their mindsets many years back which enables them to make a seamless transition. What did these two institutions do differently? They recognized the need far ahead of others and made sure that right investments were made in technology, training of faculty and students. Myths around online learning were removed, high quality content was created and partnerships with global players like Coursera was forged to ensure a top-notch student experience. Students at Pearl and UPES have access to nearly 3,600 courses from top global universities like Brown, Duke, Michigan, Insead, NYU etc.

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The shift which was observed in the online education segment was massive in india. People who do not have access to better quality internet connections and do not have the right infrastructure will be badly hit. “We are seeing an explosion of education shifting online, but it all happened so fast, and so many institutions were not prepared that much of what we are seeing isn’t effective online learning,” says Jennifer Mathes, interim CEO at the Online Learning Consortium, a nonprofit organization dedicated to virtual learning in higher education. “People were caught off guard at the college and elementary levels.”

Major part of India resides in the rural areas and people there do not have one mobile phone available specifically for educational purposes. India can take a few progressive actions to make sure that education is gone to every house.

The government can start airing a few educational lessons on doordarshan so that people in the villages can access it too.

“Partnership is the only way forward,” UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay said in a statement. Partnerships and collaborations can be done between companies and educational institutions in order to create a haste free learning method. Government can come forward and give the responsibility of online education in all schools owned and managed by them to companies as a part of their CSR.

Online education can come fully in India only if:

  1. We open our mind to the possibility of learning through e-lectures.
  2. People in the villages are taken care of.
  3. Regional languages are available
  4. Proper course structure is followed with lessons and assessments.
  5. Internet is provided to everyone at a low cost
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This system will be suitable for India in the long run only if everyone follows “Digital India” and adapts themselves with the rapid technology. Looking at the current demographic structure, this is a far-fetched idea and can be realised only with proper implementation.

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