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C Com Digital’s new survey on ‘opportunities & challenges faced by schools, institutes, & universities due to COVID-19’ reveals shattering observations and unpreparedness of the education sector

Mumbai, NFAPost: Over billions of people are yet locked down after the novel coronavirus outbreak drove life around the world to come to a virtual standstill.

This crisis is expected to have extreme economic consequences and it has also already left a devastating impact on the education sector. According to the latest research conducted by the Mumbai-based award-winning digital agency, C Com Digital, most of the institutes and schools like everyone else had missed foreseeing the pandemic nearing and thus, the whole system – starting from admissions, placements, teaching, to examinations have got hampered and slowed down as a result of lack of technological support and access to resources.

Most of the students and professors surveyed revealed facing the direct impact of the crisis mainly due to the discomfort of virtual learning, minimal study material, heavy distraction due to the environment, and technology newness. The research’s focus brings to notice that though the education industry is facing unparalleled adversity, it has also shown willingness towards embracing digital technologies – be it on the part of students or teachers – and this, now seems like a force that’s slowly advancing the whole sector.  

With regards to the modes of delivering learning programs, the professors surveyed stated the use of tools like Zoom, WebEx, and Namaste, coupled with applications like E-Learning and WhatsApp, for faster and seamless communication with the students, staff members, parents, and external faculties. While this somewhat gives reassurance, the research showed there is now a window of opportunity for institutes to introduce & inculcate specialized technical skills that help understand the virtual learning functions and to establish ERP systems for better delivery of entire education system.

An expert from the fraternity who participated in the survey was quick to point out that those working in or looking forward to leaping into the roles of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Data Mining, and Content Development are likely to gain better career opportunities, owing to the market demands.

The downside of lack of physical classroom lectures, absence of campus visits, prolonged isolation, and increased pressure to transition to the virtual world has even given rise to many mental health cases among students. On the other hand, the bright side of this concern, also highlighted that educational institutes are extending their help to promote seeking support from online counsellors, therapists, and other experts, and the affected students, in turn, in large numbers, are cooperating to access guidance for improving their behavioural and mental well-being. Many are reaping the benefits by utilizing different communication platforms and video applications to conduct lectures, training, delivering e-content modules, and other internal interactions.      

Mr. Chandan Bagwe, Founder and Managing Director, C Com Digital, shared, “The idea of conducting this research was to gain insights into the position of the education sector and the huge impact that COVID-19 has caused. Having interviewed several professors, students, and experts from the fraternity, we observed that by and large, the major hindrance that the lockdown has produced is the change of the ‘teaching and learning model’ and unanticipated entry as well as reliance on technology, which was earlier never embraced. In hindsight, the crisis has paved a new path towards digital technologies into all areas of business – right from distance learning programs, online classes, virtual training, online workshops, digital admission process, and virtual placements performed through online interviews. This unprecedented time should be looked upon as a phase that changed the face and phase of the education sector. It’s perhaps the right time for educational institutions to consider utilizing the modern means of technology to match the global standards and to help the system recover.”

Key Takeaway-

Uncertain times call for well-strategized and supervised measures, and the education industry, by working alongside mavens of the fraternity, is slowly stepping up to take a few. We will be seeing huge change in the education cycle like getting degree online, online examinations, admissions will be completely online, virtual classroom, feedback on teachers method of teaching, also community learning will gain momentum like online group discussion and group studies. Though the study reveals that by next 2 to 5 years the entire dynamics of the education system will change as we know it and some positive changes are taking place, starting with the replacement of classroom teaching with educational videos, the fact remains that there’s a long way to go in terms of improving the use of technology and helping students seek its rewards in order to self-learn, build a stronger community, and stand at par with international standards.

This survey, and consequently, its observations, has thrown open new insights which can hopefully spur transformations and transitions in the whole of the education sector, and hopefully we see a new form of education in the near future.

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