Even as the pandemic caught everyone off guard, the education sector rose gamely to the challenge. The mode of education shifted online— in the process, educational institutions navigated the challenges and discovered the opportunities that opened up for the present and the future. Heads of some of India’s top institutes tell us how Covid-19 has changed the education scenario of the country...
Forced us out of our comfort zones
Covid has forced our students and teachers to look at what is feasible right now through online education, and what is not. Before the pandemic, we were postponing a serious look at this because there are always daunting challenges to overcome, and we were in the comfort zone of what we were familiar with. There are serious difficulties in terms of teaching without eye contact and instant feedback that we get in the classroom in terms of equity of internet access, and in terms of what can and cannot be learnt online. However, we are also discovering that there is a lot we can do using this medium.
Bhaskar Ramamurthi, director, IIT Madras
Lifelong learning; emergence of new hybrid models
There will be a shift from one-time degrees to lifelong learning. People at different stages of their career will need to invest in learning to stay relevant. Hybrid will be the king. However, the value of peer learning and live classroom interaction will not go away. Interesting new hybrid models will emerge. This will give rise to a new generation of teachers and learners. Finally, the future will belong to those who question their assumptions early and bring curiosity and experimentation of a child to tomorrow’s possibilities.
Ranjan Banerjee, dean, Bhavan's SPJIMR
The current unprecedented developments driven by the global pandemic will lead to profound changes in the economic, political, and social environment globally as well as in India. The search for talent will be for individuals, who are always seeking new opportunities in a spirit of inquiry with strong problem-solving capabilities and the ability to translate skills into action. Technological developments and digitalisation are key drivers of change, as they enable the development of highly-customized content and widen options for delivering learning material to students. Clearly, the capability of business schools and universities to provide effective education in new formats involving online or blended learning is of crucial importance.
Anju Seth, director, IIM, Calcutta
The effectiveness of education will rely on three pillars that transform passive into active learning: facilitating autonomy; assisting learners to translate knowledge and skills into action; and enabling learners to develop the capability to flexibly reinvent themselves.