Make edtech more inclusive

April 06, 2020 12:01 PM

UNESCO estimated over 320 million students in India were affected by school closures following the Covid-19 outbreak.

However, classes in schools and colleges were already suspended before the lockdown was announced. (Representative image)There can be repercussions on college enrolment and job prospects. (Representative image)

By Harjiv Singh

As on March 23, UNESCO estimated over 320 million students in India were affected by school closures following the Covid-19 outbreak. There can be repercussions on college enrolment and job prospects. Rarely have we faced a pandemic-driven disruption such as this. But every crisis presents an opportunity.

Covid-19 has inspired a rethink of existing education models. Self-isolated at home, students have taken to online tools for studying, and Indian edtech start-ups have reported an upsurge in enrolment rates. The government can work with private edtech players to broaden the reach of quality education.

Online learning in such times
The adoption of digital platforms in the wake of Covid-19 may well be offering a glimpse into the future of education. In the event of an extended lockdown, online tools may no longer be a privilege but a necessity.

Every village has mobile access. But the infrastructure has a long way to go before it can sustain digital platforms at scale. When the Covid-19 broke out in China, the government reached out to tech companies and telecom providers to ensure education continued unabated online.

Likewise, India can work with telecom players to enhance infrastructure. Also, governments and policy think tanks have access to reams of data that can help edtech firms tailor their content to local audiences. As efforts to beat Covid-19 are under way, we must recognise the opportunity at hand to create a positive impact that could long outlast the crisis.

 

The author is CEO & founder, BrainGain Global. Views expressed are personal

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