Sankalp Sunder, CEO Coding Blocks: Focus shifted to provide classroom based learning

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Sankalp Sunder

1. The ed-tech firms have gone aggressive and opened up new avenues and new mode of learning during the lockdown. Will this trend continue after schools reopen?

The lockdown has given a fillip to the adoption of online education. The options for pursuing one’s education online will certainly see a jump even in the post-lockdown scenario. With the increasing penetration of mobile data connectivity and the rise in online learning opportunities, students in rural and semi-rural areas are now able to access quality education through online means. These students are likely to continue on the online path.

Besides regular teaching in schools, advanced learning and specialized courses such as coding, programming, foreign language courses, etc. have become popular through the online medium. And this trend is going to further pick up in the coming few years.

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2. How has Covid changed the education sector in India?

The pandemic has significantly disturbed the education system in India. It has affected the structure of teaching, schooling and assessment methods to a large extent. Not all schools could adopt online teaching methods as many of the low-income private and government schools are still not functional due to non-access of e-learning solutions.

Also read: COVID-19 crisis puts future of Engineering Education in quandary

Covid-19 has further forced the providers to focus on providing effective alternatives to offline classroom-based learning. Traditional classroom-based schools, colleges, and institutes need to transform their model. While a lot of institutes have rolled out online education to its students, we need to ensure that the students have the right equipment and technology to leverage online education to the fullest.

3. How is Coding Blocks unique from others in the market?

Coding Blocks was founded in 2014 with a mission to create skilled software engineers for our country and the world. We aim to bridge the gap between the quality of skills demanded by industry and the quality of skills imparted by conventional institutes.

What differentiates us is the focus on teaching quality and student experience. Our vision is to provide learning pathways to students that are tailored to each student’s learning needs and do away with the one-size-fits-all approach currently prevalent in the market. We plan to do this via personalization around content, learning objectives, current student capabilities, level and type of support needed, etc.

4. How can ed-tech firms improve the standard of education sector in India?

There are several ways in which Ed-tech firms are achieving this. First and foremost they are helping solve the problem of lack of access. Now obviously we need to track metrics like learning completion rate to ensure that we are not compromising on the quality while chasing scale and reach. Further, online delivery gives us a lot of tools to complement the student’s learning experience and enhance it. It makes it easy to track learning progress and offer personalization at scale. Gamification is made possible to ensure high engagement. Students can interact with peers across the globe. Also, easy data availability around student learning patterns enables us to serve a more personalized experience.

5. What are the future plans of Coding Blocks?

This is an incredibly exciting phase for us. We are focused on enhancing our online product to provide a frictionless experience to the students on their learning and placement journey. Our eventual aim is to provide the students with an outcome-focused hyper-personalized experience. Coding Blocks also plans to expand its content to include subjects allied to coding, such as digital marketing and UI/UX, etc. We have recently launched Career Bootcamp, a 6 months program which train students extensively in Data structures, Algorithms, Advanced Programming concepts, and Web development to get placed. This is a Placement guarantee program, so if a student does not get placed, he/she won’t be required to pay any fee.

6. How will the new National Education Policy impact the usage of technology in the education sector?

The new National Education Policy places significant emphasis on digital education. The thrust on programming education for students from Class 6 will help expand the potential market. Given this, further competition and consolidation are expected in the ed-tech market. Price wars may arise but this is where quality will prove to be the differentiator.

The setting up of the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF) to facilitate the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to enhance learning and associated activities will further the use of technology in education.

7. Do you think technology will bring down the cost of education in India?

Yes, it will – without a doubt. A big chunk of this cost, driven by investments into offline infrastructure and materials, will see a sharp reduction. Technology also helps drive down the cost through more efficient scaling of education delivery. Technology ensures that teachers can focus primarily on imparting education and automate the operational and administrative tasks.

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