Covid-19 has seen an unprecedented boom in start-ups, particularly in the Ed-Tech sector. But is everything Ed-Tech truly rosy?
In a matter of months, schools and colleges were forced to turn their attention towards imparting education using technology. Most of them were overwhelmed by such a sudden transition.
Some institutions provided online services on their own; some conceived apps for smooth functioning; and many turned to Ed-Tech companies for help.
Whether we like it or not, Ed-Tech is here to stay.
Nevertheless, this article takes on a 360 degree perspective of reality – the pros of online education, the cons and strategies to resolve them, and the even greater future possibilities of the Ed-Tech industry.
The Pros of Online Education
Marvels of Ed-Tech are obvious for everyone to see.
Distances and boundaries have blurred with education being brought right in our homes on our screens.
Using visual aids, graphic videos, AR, VR and the like, conceptual learning has taken a leap.
One can keep revising the classes until the idea is ingrained in the student’s mind.
Assessments are mostly error-free
In accordance with the need of the times, it has become necessary that the government facilitates online education to every student, irrespective of his financial, social and living premises.
Ed-Tech has opened unknown vistas in the field of education.
The Cons & Strategies to Resolve
It is hard to skip noticing the ‘glitches’ related to online education.
Some of the challenging aspects related to Ed-Tech dependence worth considering are as follows:
- Most Ed-Tech firms provide pre-recorded classes and videos that offer very little space for one-on-one doubt clearance opportunities and establishment of teacher-student rapport. Certainly a feeling of “human disconnection” there!
Resolution Strategy: This apparent “disconnection” could be resolved to some extent by making sure that the Ed-Tech team appoints a particular teaching staff member to address the needs and concerns of a specific group of students. Nothing can replace the comfort and effectiveness of genuine human regard and empathy.
- Most students are able to imbibe the curriculum designed by Ed-Tech educators. Yet, there are plenty of students with learning disabilities, autistic disorders and the like, for whom Individualised Education Plan is wanting. And similar are the concerns of the blind, the deaf and other disabled children.
Resolution Strategy: Should an Ed-Tech company have a team that customises learning plans targeting students with special needs and disabilities, it would create quite a great impact on a good chunk of our population.
- Most Ed-Tech firms offer teaching only in the English medium.
Resolution Strategy: In a country like India where over 30 languages are officially recognised, using the vernacular language for teaching would certainly make a lot of students and parents happy and the studies more comprehensible.
- What makes students excited to go to schools are definitely not just books and teachers, but the PT classes, dance, music, arts, crafts, martial trainings practised in the company of friends and classmates.
Resolution Strategy: Incorporating not just academic content, but activity and creativity-oriented skills would offer a path different from the clichéd norms.
- Productive use of the 4th Industrial Revolution technologies is still wanting in many Ed-Tech companies.
Resolution Strategy: A firm that makes optimal use of technologies like AI, AR, big data analytics etc. on a large scale would surely be able to make its mark in the education field.
- It is no secret that a child’s behaviour and personality are moulded by the education he receives and the learning environment he is in. The greatest asset of institutional learning is the way it helps students socialise and learn life skills like empathy, critical thinking, problem solving etc. These go a long way towards resolving issues like fear, anxiety, depression etc.
Resolution Strategy: Respect towards the elderly and kindness towards the young are practised in schools and colleges which are in fact “mini-societies” comprising of people of all age groups right from the kindergarten to the elderly teachers and staff.
Students are prone to face stress and mental health issues during different phases related to adolescence, exam preparation, relationships, substance abuse, internet addiction etc. This makes it all the more necessary to incorporate training in life skills in an e-learning atmosphere as well.
- In a country like India where school dropouts are on the rise in rural areas despite the provision of free schooling and free meals, online education has put an additional burden related to the availability of gadgets and internet services.
Resolution Strategy: Considering that the right to education is one of the fundamental rights of the citizens of the country, the government – Central & State – must ensure that education is efficiently digitalised and the means to achieve are accessible to every child in India.
Or else, there would be glaring inequality and disparity along these lines which would be detrimental to the country’s progress and prosperity in the long run.
The Future of Ed-Tech Industry
Ed-Tech services range from pre-school teaching to coaching for competitive exams like IIT-JEE, NEET, UPSC and career guidance. Therefore, there is no dearth of niches to explore.
And what’s more!? India still has a long way to go to match its global peers in the Ed-Tech industry. Hence, the potential for growth is exponential.
Extending the scope of Ed-Tech to students with disabilities, representation in the vernacular medium and investing in research that looks into blending behaviour science with technology, would lead to even greater advancement in leaps and bounds.
With digital marketing ruling the roost in entrepreneurship and governments upholding blended learning (a hybrid form of traditional and online learning) post COVID-19, the coming decades shall witness a phenomenal growth in the Ed-Tech industry, to say the least.
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