Enhanced roles of Educational institutions post COVID 19 to remotely manage students, teachers and spearhead Knowledge growth for Nation building

For many of us in self-isolation, it can feel like the coronavirus has put the world on hold as we wait for release from our temporary imprisonment.Coronavirus/COVID-19 has been declared as Pandemic by World Health Organisation (WHO) and there is a sense of fear and panic all around the globe

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For many of us in self-isolation, it can feel like the coronavirus has put the world on hold as we wait for release from our temporary imprisonment . Coronavirus /COVID-19 has been declared as Pandemic by World Health Organisation (WHO) and there is a sense of fear and panic all around the globe. Since the first case of COVID-19 has emerged in India, state governments are taking all the possible precautionary steps to curb the s pread of the disease and that include shutting down educational institutes, vacating hostels, postponing entrance examinations, convocation ceremonies, and more.

But increasing numbers of students and employees are using the time to build their skillset, with an upsurge in enrolments on online learning platforms.With COVID-19 spreading to more regions, state governments are closing down schools, colleges, educational institutions as a precautionary measuring against the disease.

In the wake of this emergency situation, educational institutes around the globe are shifting their operations to online learning. Top educational institutions of India have stopped their offline operations have shifted to their teaching-learning procedure online. In a press release has stated that many Universitiesneed to be setup and maintain online teaching-learning process in all postgraduate and undergraduate programmes. The study material could be made available on a weekly basis on the University’s website by the respective teachers of all the departments/ colleges/centres.

Coronavirus has fractured a large chunk of India’s education system. In the view of emergency caused due to COVID-19, top business schools and many management schools have postponed their exams and convocation ceremonies in order to avoid large gathering.


Benefits of Online Education

Social distancing can be an option for institutions at this point in the disease’s progression,With the safeguards in place, however, infections will occur more gradually over a longer period, helping the health care system keep up.An online education is preferred by individuals who may not be able to make it for classes in a traditional brick and helps to maintain the social distancing for students and teacher.

  1. Flexibility: Students have the freedom to juggle their careers and school because they aren’t tied down to a fixed schedule. In a traditional classroom setting, class meeting times are set, and the student has no power over this, forcing them to work their schedules around these dates. Most people who choose online learning tend to have other commitments, and prefer this mode of learning as it gives them power over how they will delegate their time towards their different projects.
  2. Reduced Costs: Online education can cost less due to a variety of reasons. For example, there is no cost for commuting. Assorted costs that are related to transport, such as fuel, parking, car maintenance, and public transportation costs don’t affect the online student.
  3. Networking Opportunities: Online education also provides students with the chance to network with peers across nations or even different continents. This often leads to other opportunities in terms of collaboration with other individuals in the implementation of a project. At the same time, it makes them culturally sensitive and able to fit into other environments easily given their exposure to other cultures.
  4. Documentation: All the information that you will need will be safely stored in an online database. This includes things like live discussion documents, training materials and emails. This means that if there’s ever anything that needs to be clarified, the student will be able to access these documents fast, saving valuable time. This is especially useful for individuals that need to carry out research for a project and submit their findings to a panel.
  5. Increased Instructor – Student Time: Students in traditional classrooms may not get the personalized attention they need to have concepts clarified. Although class sizes are small at CCA, most colleges have classes of students that number in the hundreds. This is not a problem for this type of education because online guided discussions and personal talk time with their professors and lecturers is a hallmark of online classes. These increases the chances of a student performing well due to the time their instructors give them. This also enhances their problem-solving and communication skills, as well as knowing how to defend their arguments to superiors if needed.
  6. Access to Expertise:An online college education might give students access to specialized degree courses that may not be available in an easily accessible or local institution of learning. For example, at CCA you can pursue a degree in Marketing or a certificate in C++ Programming without having to live near the institution. Online classes allow the sharing of expertise that helps more people have access to education that is not readily available in certain geographic locations.

The distant education model that is followed successfully by many universities in India was the pre cursor to this online education. If students can learn effectively from the notes and texts sent to them over post and clear the exams successfully, they can learn faster and better through these online courses.

This type of education has grown over the last few years and has experienced mainstream acceptance. With an online class, you get to control your learning environment, which ultimately helps you develop a deeper understanding of your degree course. New models of learning are always springing up in the market, providing students with varied opportunities to fashion their education into something that fits them, not the other way round. It also provides individuals an opportunity to finish a degree they might have started and were unable to continue with for one reason or another. The future of online degree education opens up education to a larger section of the population than ever before.

After COVID–19: Manufacturing India’s New Economic Potential

The coronavirus outbreak has sent shivers down the spine of the global economy. It has disrupted the complex global supply chain network. The worst-hit sectors include technology and auto.To overcome the threat of production disruption, many manufacturing companies decided to shift their production unit in some other neighbour countries from China. Even in its initial stages, when COVID-19 was myopically perceived as a China-specific problem, it was still a global conundrum — for as the finance adage goes, when China sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold, alluding to China’s position as the factory of the world.When supply chains in China are disrupted that means supply chains around the world isdisrupted. Many companies have been extraordinarily affected as production and distribution networks have gone awry.

But in the midst of this pandemic, as industries stall, there could be another form of disruption, in the sense used in Silicon Valley to signify the winds of change. What winds of change blow toward India? The grand launch of the “Make in India” manufacturing initiative was seen as the coming-of-age of India’s manufacturing potential.While the initiative can be credited for its ambitious approach, it has been broad-based and lacked policy focus. As India progressed from an agrarian economy to services in the 1990s, the economy skipped the vital manufacturing component that made China the factory of the world.

Though Make in India sought to pitch India as an alternative manufacturing destination to China, a wide-ranging projection of 25 varied sectors, ranging from leather to space, for investment meant emphasis on the big picture at the cost of more specific sectoral details. Furthermore, the policy has not adequately factored in India’s comparative advantages. As a result, Vietnam and Bangladesh have made the most of arising manufacturing opportunities, particularly as manufacturing costs in China increased as Beijing moved to more of a consumption-driven economy.

China accounts for close to 30% of global exports of electronics and electronic components. This significant dependence or, in some cases, over-dependence on China is hurting the global economy and companies are now on a lookout for alternative production HUBs.Now for many companies, the shift from China began prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, the rising input costs and the US-China trade war. The virus just added fuel to the fire, and with the disruption caused by it likely to persist until mid-April, the manufacturing companies are staring at an imminent crisis. This has had a catalytic impact on companies looking to relocate their production HUBs.

The movement of companies away from China to other developed countries such as India, Indonesia, Singapore, Indonesia etc. would trigger a new wave of industrialisation. Consequently, the expansion of the manufacturing HUB linked with global supply chains would increase not only productivity but also create large-scale employment.

The Setting

China has found itself facing global scrutiny since the then-epidemic, now-pandemic erupted in Wuhan, both for its delay in not alerting the world community about its severity as soon as possible and for admonishing doctors and journalists, who served as harbingers of the pandemic. With the on-going trade disputes before the COVID-19 outbreak, developments have accelerated global firms’ strategic plans to diversify manufacturing bases away from China, as a way of insuring against supply chain disruptions. Asian economic powers have begun to announce incentives to move production out of China too, with Japan even earmarking a US$2.2 billion fund to encourage manufacturers to do just that.

India’s expanding economy and robust middle class provides a lucrative market while its abundant skilled and semi-skilled labor adds to the country’s ability to support bulk manufacturing, assembly, and processing.

The outbreak of coronavirus provides a good opportunity for India to follow an export-driven model. India does not only have the potential to match China in terms of scale, but it is endowed with rich pool of skilled and semiskilled labour with a robust service sector. Hence, there is scope for India to take pre-emptive action — driving companies towards India. In this regard, the first step would be to acknowledge that having a large population is not a necessary precursor to attract foreign investment, instead a better environment, lower administrative bottlenecks, more incentives would.

Second, if India is to come closer to the level of China’s operations in supply chains, there is a need for a massive push for creating a robust infrastructure. This calls for investments in steady power supplies, efficient port and road operations, and greater ease in custom clearance.

Third, India needs to move away from an input base system to a more support base system (manufacturing of parts and components) that would promote participation in the supply chains.

Every industry is different. Hence it is vital to understand the diverse need of these businesses and focus on specific sectors (such as pharma and automotive), which could yield greater and faster gains. These steps are eminently feasible, with first steps like the adoption of national logistics policy already in progress.

The COVID 19 outbreak and political developments in the country could stimulateeconomic growthand required large pool of skilled and semiskilled employees. While the sudden economic growth could result inshortage of skilled and semiskilled employees in India. However, India is also a very young country—half of its population is under the age of 25. Moreover, India’s working-age population will grow by roughly 9.7 million per year during 2021-31 and then drop to 4.2 million per year in 2031-41.

In an era where most of the developed and the fast-developing countries are utilizing the latest technologies to arm their working population with skills related to new business structures, India’s system in comparison appears to be passé.For India to compete at the global level there is a need to bring about a radical change to prepare the present and the future working population for the impending impacts of the fourth revolution.Hence, learning remotely is a major tool with immense potential, and the government should invest in it accordingly. Most importantly, it seems like the best option to solve the issue of scarcity of jobs as it can provide employment opportunities to millions in India and nation growth. The education market in India, currently standing at US$100 billion presents a lucrative opportunity for monetization. Introduction of technology has led to enhanced acceptance of alternative models of learning in India. India has witnessed a significant increase in the total internet user population approximately 409 million internet users are expected to grow to approximately 735 million by 2021. Online education in India is expected US$1.96 billion in 2021 driven by increased consumer adoption supported by macroeconomic changes. The paid user base is expected to increase from ≈1.6 million users in 2016 to ≈9.6 million in 2021.

For Make in India to succeed, more Indians should turn to entrepreneurship rather than aspiring to get employed in a job. It is to own your success. It is this segment of MSMEs who provide stability to the economy and can also provide the thrust to grow further on. Skill development will also play a major role in the coming years to retrain the work force (especially the people in the age group of 40-60) in areas that are relevant to today’s requirements, like AI, Big Data, Digital Marketing etc.

After Covid19, many educational publishers are rushing to get their contents in to Digital formats so that they can reach their content to the students during this lock down period. Though Digital Publishing has been gaining foot hold in India, it was always slippery. Many publishers resisted the digital transformation fearing for Digital Invasion. Now they are changing their outlook and seeing more positivity in going Digital.

There are many advantages of going Digital to publish the books.

  • Low cost of production. There is no paper wastage and hence directly we save trees.
  • Increased reach. Available globally at the same time.
  • Reduced cost of delivery. No transportation of paper and printed books.
  • The books can be more colourful without any additional cost.
  • The content itself can be elaborate and need not be trimmed keeping in mind the number of pages or book production cost.
  • Includes Text, Images, Photos, Audio and Video content inside a single book.
  • Digitally published content can be personalised.
  • These contents are mobile friendly and it is essential that contents coming in future are mobile friendly.
  • The digital books can be updated seamlessly on the fly and that’s a great advantage, to offer new editions, with changes to the people who have already purchased the same.
  • Can have interactive and animated eBooks to reach exciting content to the readers.
  • In spite of a large economy, penetration of Digital Publications in India is very little, compared as a percentage of Mobile and Internet penetration. Even though lots of content is created, available and consumed on Social Media platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter etc., the organised publishing sector has been placid to this extremely powerful technology.
  • They have cold shouldered ever more in the Language Publishing market.

There are many reasons for this behaviour. Main reasons are:

  • Lack of awareness
  • Lack of trained manpower to educate, train and to create such contents
  • Still hanging on to 35 year old technology to do publishing activities and that does not provide any path to this digital framework
  • Unable to bear the expense of upgrading to newer technologies
  • Fear of piracy and content getting copied

However, educators worldwide still recognize some major issues plaguing the industry.There are some disadvantages of E-Learning given below:

  • Online student feedback is limited;
  • E-Learning can cause social Isolation;
  • E-Learning requires strong self-motivation and time management skills;
  • Lack of communicational skill development in online students;
  • Cheating prevention during online assessments is complicated;
  • Online instructors tend to focus on theory rather than practice;
  • E-Learning lacks face-to-face communication;
  • E-Learning is limited to certain disciplines;
  • Online learning is inaccessible to the computer illiterate population;
  • Lack of accreditation & quality assurance in online education.

What’s Future?

India with its demography, mobile penetration and Internet penetration is ideally poised to consume Digital Content in a really big way. We are consuming tons of content on YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Kindle platforms. However the other publishers (including Government, NGOs, people who bring out news bulletins) can adopt this technology and save a lot of money while not affecting the reach. The publishers can soon realise the enormous opportunity in front of them.

Road map to Go Digital Grow Digital

  • Whatever you produce as a content get a Digital Version (that is mobile friendly)
  • Start selling your digital content, through various channels like Amazon Kindle, Google PlayBooks, Apple iTunes etc.
  • Start collecting your consumers’ (readers) details like e-mail ID and phone number so that you can send them mailers and promotional offers later
  • Start having e-commerce option from your website and start selling your content
  • Let the start be small, no worries. Will pick up over time
  • Assign this task to someone in the office so that the initiatives get pushed and monitored
  • Do some spend in Digital Marketing to reach and touch base with potential customers digitally
  • Start today and don’t wait for tomorrow

Conclusion

COVID 19 is accelerating a digital-anchored pedagogy that will dominate the hybrid models of the future. Not since World War II have so many countries seen educational institutions closed due to a lockdown — around the same time and for the same reasons. According to a UNESCO COVID Monitoring website, approximately 1.72 billion learners have been affected due to closure of educational institutions. In a matter of weeks, the COVID19 pandemic has changed how students are being educated around the world.

The inaccessibility to physical classrooms is accelerating new educational pedagogy, with digital at its heart. Needless to say, the centuries-old, chalk-talk teaching model is being transformed into one that is driven by technology and focuses on skill development. This is resulting in new trends coming up in a post-Covid-19 world that will positively impact the higher education domain.

Working professionals are contributing to this increase in numbers of post-traditional learners, as they enrol for part-time learning programmes or courses to broaden their current skillsets. Educational institutions have to focus on better understanding the experiences of this diverse set of learners and how to best serve their evolving needs. Thus, making obsolete the one-size-fits-all model of teaching. There is a growing need to customise the student experience and focus on individual learning needs. This trend is bound to increase manifold in the future as academic structures are further transformed by emerging technologies.

Public-private partnerships can promote seamless education facilities. It is hoped the government will provide tax benefits in the form of exemptions for companies working in the education sphere. Likewise, private stakeholders can augment education delivery through online learning in regions that do not yet have a digital footprint.

Offline or conventional education models will not become obsolete post-Covid-19. However, they will be strongly supplemented by digital learning. This will digitally revamp the campus experience for the students. While concepts can be learned effectively online, students can spend on-campus time more productively by applying concepts to solve problems. Institutions and teachers will blend the two judiciously, according to the context and the content.

The lockdown has accelerated the adoption of the online learning model, which was already on its way to becoming a booming market in India. Virtual classrooms and various online tools are enabling better interaction between teachers and students daily and more users are getting familiar with these platforms.What now appears inevitable or par for the course is that more and more users will turn to digital alternatives to supplement or meet their education needs. And, India, with its vast consumer base and technology capital is well poised to become an Education Investment HUB.


By M S Sridhar

Global Expert in Multilingual Software

By, Dr P. Sekhar

Chairman, Global Smart Cities Panel & MTGF


 

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Enhanced roles of Educational institutions post COVID 19 to remotely manage students, teachers and spearhead Knowledge growth for Nation building
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For many of us in self-isolation, it can feel like the coronavirus has put the world on hold as we wait for release from our temporary imprisonment.Coronavirus/COVID-19 has been declared as Pandemic by World Health Organisation (WHO) and there is a sense of fear and panic all around the globe
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THE POLICY TIMES
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