Atul Temurnikar is a prominent member of the education industry in South East Asia, the Middle East, and India. He serves as a founding Trustee and Chairman of Singapore-based Global Schools Foundation (GSF), a not-for-profit organization. Apart from educational and entrepreneurial initiatives, Mr. Temurnikar has an extensive record of community service in Singapore, Japan, and Malaysia. He has spearheaded social and educational initiatives in several countries, some of which he developed and launched in collaboration with governments.
When Covid-19 hit the world, it sent parents in a panic mode. They were worried about the education of their children, the loss of precious school days, and the set-back this would mean for their future. But, many education institutions embraced online methods to ensure continuity, and almost overnight, traditional textbooks were replaced by sophisticated apps, notebooks, and pens were replaced by personal devices and customized sharing portals. This mode of learning, which was only aspirational a few years back, has now become the new normal for millions of students worldwide.
EduTech – Accessible and liberal
Remote Learning and EduTech have been around for a while. Various online platforms have emerged to help students study from the comfort of their homes. These advanced applications provide students with tutorials and coaching for almost any subject in the world. With EduTech, the entry and aptitude barrier to education is being greatly managed. As education became vocational, interest-based and with a ‘free for all’ access, technology in education has been instrumental in making cross-stream knowledge sharing possible through its easy-to-access courses and study modules.
While EduTech, and the convenience it offered, played a phenomenal role in transforming the approach to education, it had some major drawbacks too. Psychologically, students and parents were still not prepared for a system where there was no physical/ real-time interaction between an educator and learner. Secondly, courses offered by EduTech companies, though very efficient for skill development, were not approved by the Education Boards and the University Grants Commission.
However, with the arrival of the great pandemic of the 21st century, EduTech companies have paced up to the occasion. With courses customized as per the current situation along with offering real-time classes and experiential learning as far as possible, they have succeeded to a great extent in creating value for students locked up in their houses during the quarantine period.
Growth of EduTech post Covid19
Virtual classrooms during the lockdown period have helped sensitize people to the importance and benefits of remote learning. A concept they once thought was practically impossible has been demonstrated and accomplished successfully. Hence, in the new normal post the quarantine ends, we can expect EduTech and remote learning to gain more prominence in the education system. Along with providing a convenient mode of learning, border-less education, and location-independent collaboration, remote learning also provides students with the ability to be in sync with their lessons in almost every kind of situation.
EduTech is the ‘new normal’
In the ‘new normal’, ‘once all this ends’ – the growing reliance on EduTech is going to be further accelerated with the deeper integration of technology in everyday learning. Currently, due to the Covid19, most government bodies have already given their official ascent to schools and colleges to conduct online classes, and most reputed universities in the world have taken their course curricula online to cater to their worldwide student base. While it may still be looked suspiciously upon, below are some ways EduTech is going to be a driving force in education for the future.
- Growth of vocational and customized learning: Currently, in schools, the same kind of lessons are taught to every student in the class in the same pattern. With EduTech companies coming into the picture – there will be room for customized lessons for each student based on his aptitude and interest level. Students will also have a variety of lessons to learn from depending on their interests. Thus, if on a particular day, they feel like studying math instead of history – they can very well choose that option.
- On-demand Education: Missing school days and being absent from school is considered a big step back in a student’s life, especially since lessons are delivered on a real-time basis with no means to revisit what has been taught. However, EduTech will give students the benefit of on-demand education. This way, students can study anytime, anywhere without worrying about backlogs or missed classes. If due to any circumstance a student cannot attend a class on a particular day, he/she can often refer to the recorded sessions and bring himself/herself up to speed with his peers.
- Putting students in control of their learning: With benefits like on-demand education and easy accessibility for topics across streams, EduTech helps in putting students (age > 10 years) in control of their education. Unlike the sage and student method of learning, in this new form of education, students will be in a position to decide what they want to learn and when they want to learn. This will greatly help in their future development and decision making abilities. Teaching students to take their own decisions from an early age inculcates a habit of responsibility and accountability in them and makes them more confident in facing challenges of the world.
- Reduced cost of education: Online learning/ remote learning will also help in saving other costs that arise in normal schooling in the form of uniforms, travel, infrastructure, and stationary. With the tuition fee being the only expense, the cost of education will be greatly reduced. This will also help high-quality education become more accessible to students who come from the lower sections of society.
- Collaborative learning: Education with the help of technology and EduTech companies will become more collaborative rather than competitive in the new age. With open discussion forums and greater reliance on group projects and activities, students will be able to communicate with each other more freely. This will help in nurturing deeper relationships between students fostered due to collaboration and mutual learning capabilities. Online learning can also help connect students to other students throughout the world thus helping them think beyond their horizon and expanding their world view.er costs that arise in normal schooling in the form of uniforms, travel, infrastructure, and stationary. With the tuition fee being the only expense, the cost of education will be greatly reduced. This will also help high-quality education become more accessible to students who come from the lower sections of society.
Remote learning and EduTech may be criticized enough due to its lack of personalization and supervision. But its shortcomings may be few compared to its advantages. However, in a fast-paced growing society where social distancing is going to be the new normal – EduTech brings to the table, qualities that in the distant future have no other alternative. It helps in providing well-deserving students access to quality education. With the growth of remote learning, quality education for the less privileged is going to take a 360-degree transformation, thus helping bridge gaps in society and build leaders of tomorrow.