Every household discussion these days is on COVID-19 and how this second wave is different from the first wave, yes more deadly and something we should take more precautions about but from many things, one thing which I want to highlight common between two waves and need our utmost attention is the way our children are accessing education.
Education is an integral part of the development in a person life (not going to the point that it is still not accessible to many in India - will cover that in a future article ) but since March 2020, our living rooms are our children classroom, uniforms are substituted with casual wear, mothers are now new class teacher and house is the new playground. We can't deny the fact that digital media and the internet made the inconceivable idea of tutoring and schooling possible in these tough times but they are not the substitute for the classrooms, playgrounds, or lunch breaks in schools. Also, technology is trying to bring physical experience into online space with many platforms like Microsoft classroom, creating live classroom experience or ed-tech platforms, creating their live learning experience more entertaining with animations and gifs.
In the startup sector, one of the highest gainers in 2020-21 is Ed-tech. This space had boomed a lot because of COVID-19 where platforms like Unacdemy, Byju's, and Vedantu solving the problem by providing education platforms to millions of students of kindergarten, colleges, or competitive exams. India has around 3500 ed-tech startups, according to Omidyar Network India - Redseer Report 2019-20 in 2019 the ed-tech industry was valued at $265 MN and by 2022 it is expected to be valued at $1.7 BN which is a six-fold increase and gives opportunity to a lot of players to explore this space with new product and technology.
But will this be the solution to the closed schools? According to a survey by Learning Sprial, an online examination solution provider, 50% of the Indian students including those from urban areas do not have access to the internet while 47% households in India still don't have access to smartphones or computing device which make us think that rather than first finding solution of how to make physical education space equivalent to online one our more focus should be towards providing access to these infrastructures.
The brighter side of this paradigm shift which I am calling pandemic shift is that E-learning comes up with a lot of advantages as well like the convenience of accessing knowledge and teachers using online tools to make learning more effective, increase in attendance, and the comfort of home students are saving a lot of time on the commute. Ending this article on the note that we don't know that till when this virus will last but the holistic development of our children can't wait and we have to think of a solution for that and do it ourselves.