Nirvaan Birla, Founder, Birla Brainiacs

Nirvaan has completed his Masters in Management from University of Westminster, London and graduated from Mumbai University where he studied Bachelor of Commerce (Management Studies) and scored a Grade A. His belief of being positive, humble and his enthusiasm to do something different will push everyone at Birla Edutech to go that extra mile and fulfil commitments. Nirvaan has been extensively involved in social work. With a keen interest in helping the under privileged, he has provided books and stationery to the ‘Akanksha Foundation’ to help with the education of the children.

 

Change is the only constant and this reality has never been more evident than today, when we are fighting a global emergency brought about by the pandemic, necessitating change at all levels and areas of our lives. Every sector has witnessed a drastic change in the way they manage their day to day operations and the Education sector is no exception. The pandemic has pushed everything online at a dizzying rate and in the effort to provide continued education while social distancing, schools, colleges and every educational institution has transformed the old chalk-talk teaching model into one driven by technology.

While e-learning had been growing rapidly in recent years, India is now witnessing an e-learning boom since the pandemic emerged.

According to Google (as drawn from the Google’s EdTech Summit 2020), in India education is an over $100 billion market today. While online education is just about $2 billion, this is said to be growing at a rapid CAGR of 50%. The report further said about 300 million students, 1.4 million schools, and 51,000 colleges in India are now dependent on the online education. This is nothing less than a digital literacy mass movement that we are witnessing in the Indian scenario. 

E-learning has shown tremendous potential towards transforming the education industry in the country. Since the New Education Policy (NEP) came in 2020, many changes have been made in the education system that included online education as well. Policymakers are now looking to drive engagement at scale while ensuring inclusive eLearning solutions.

As a result of its exponentially developing technology, Substantial advancements are being made in online education in India. With a population of over 1.3 billion and the availability of high-speed internet and smartphones, India has a massive base of technologically-driven consumers as the educational landscape shifts in response to the need of the hour. However, with the advent of advanced e-learning platforms we may see better content, better tools, and better teaching strategies being rolled out for the masses. 

However, India has tremendous amount of diversities with regard to cultures and beliefs. There exists a huge socioeconomic class divide in India, which is impenetrable. This ensures that not even one-third of the population receives online education. This leads to the challenge for the e-learning industry in India is the lack of technological penetration in rural areas.

Given that most of our population (65.53%) resides in rural areas, this is a serious issue that needs to be tackled. Government as well as private NGO and other organisations should come together and take initiatives to bridge the gap between urban and rural education in the near future.

Over and above this, as our traditional schools moved to virtual learning overnight, the partial preparation from most traditional schools has led to a widespread belief that online learning is not as effective as face-to-face learning. Most teachers are not trained in online teaching so their classes can seem sub-standard and ill-planned. Student engagement, planning and execution of online classes with limited resources was a problem which teachers faced. Despite all of the challenges and initial glitches, many Indian stakeholders have accepted this visionary medium as a credible alternative and are working towards improving the structure or online learning and have achieved considerable success to the extent that a large section of the educational sector is transitioning to the blended learning model and are planning on continuing with it even after the pandemic subsides. 

Ed-tech in India is a vast market that is growing every day and this brings about a need for them to not just prepare for the demands of the present, but also to gear up aggressively for that of the future by bringing learning alive. 

The Ed- tech giants in the Indian market are striving to bridge the gap and create a more conducive teaching – learning environment. It has been our vision at The Birla Group to bring about revolutionary changes in this sector by introducing various alternatives for different audiences and consumers in the education sector. 

Right from online schooling embodying a blended learning system and courses targeting skill development such as coding, to home-schooling – we have left no stone unturned. We strongly believe that modern technologies like machine learning, virtual reality, artificial intelligence among others, can be involved in bridging the vital gaps.    

Building a future ready generation across the social strata has always been our vision and Birla group of schools and our tech driven version ‘Birla Brainiacs’ has been consistently striving at achieving this dream of a country that has the privilege of uniform education to one and all.     

Now that people in India have realised the benefits of online education and as   e-learning makes further inroads into the education system, they will most likely continue with it in some way or form in the future as well.   

Virtual learning platforms must try to come as close as they can to the real-life experience of attending school to ensure the continuity of students’ overall development. 

It must be taken for granted that the future mode of teaching will further develop with more and more scope with online learning. But the most important thing we should keep in mind is that the usefulness of online teaching always depends on live interaction rather than silent participation. Our effort is to take out the best of the school environment and improve upon it using the power of technology without losing the human touch.

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