The COVID-19 pandemic has given online education in India an unexpected push, as it has allowed the continuation of formal education as schools closed to mitigate the spread of the virus. As India went into lockdown at the end of March 2020, most schools were wrapping up the 2019-20 academic year. Amidst the upsurge in COVID-19 cases across the country, it no longer became possible to resume in-school classroom sessions for the new academic year. Well-endowed private schools were quick to reinforce their digital capacities and prepare to conduct classes online.
Elets digitalLEARNING magazine organized a webinar on “Preparing a robust system in education and public health after the lockdown in different states and regions”. The webinar highlighted the way the school education sector can review from the crisis. Dr Ravi Gupta, CEO & Editor-in-Chief, Elets Technomedia welcomed the eminent speakers.
Anirudh Gupta, CEO, DCM Group of Schools, Punjab said “It’s been testing times for all the schools as everyone has to shift from offline to online. The focus of schools were entirely changed and some of them were prepare and some not to face the crisis. It has brought the digital divide across the country and its survival of fittest. The major challenge was to bring all the teachers on the same platform and provide them training to handle classes.”
The major focus was the learning that must continue for a child. Some parents were reluctant to provide screen time to their wards but now they have no options, he added.
Rajeev Bakshi, Chairperson, Raj Kumar Academy, Lucknow, said “The usage of technology was not much earlier but now we are using technology to conduct our classes. We were not prepared but we are gearing up to tackle the crisis. Now, our teachers are putting their lectures on Youtube. It’s a blessing in disguise and the pandemic will help us to prepare ourselves for the future.”
The crisis is very tough for a school like us but we will sail through it and do well, he added.
Ashish Gulati, Vice-Chairman, Blue Bells Group of Schools, Gurgaon, said “We are trying all our means to provide content to schools. We are in a zone, where availability of technology is not a challenge. The crisis has brought teachers and administrators on the same platform. The teachers are working hard to provide learning to students. The students and parents are also supporting us a lot in this crisis.”
The collaboration between students, teachers and parents is very commendable. Teachers are using all the available resources to teach students, he added.
Siddharth Singh, Director, Emerald Heights International School, Indore said “ The lockdown came as a surprise and we were in mid of a session. Our teachers adapted the new change to impart learning to children. There are huge challenges, including digital gaps in the society. The crisis has shown us the importance of physical schools.”
“Schools who are investing on their own, the crisis is very critical for them as the timing is wrong. This is the timing when school gears up for new sessions. Parents must think about schools and must not hesitate to pay the fees,” he added.