First In Last Out - educational institutions & the global lockdown; Emerging Trends in Education for the post #COVID19 world.

First In Last Out - educational institutions & the global lockdown; Emerging Trends in Education for the post #COVID19 world.


Dr. Chandrashekar D P, Ph.D.
Chandrashekar has over 16 years of experience in the education space and serves as the CEO of the Jain Group of Institutions (JGI Schools). He is a REX Karmaveer Global Education Change Champions Fellow 2019 and was ranked 7th in Education World's ranking of 33 Young Rising Stars of Indian Education in March 2017.  He is an alumnus of IIM, Lucknow.
A TEDx Speaker and a ‘Presidents Distinguished’ District Director of Toastmasters International, Dr. Chandrashekar has delivered more than 900 presentations to audiences of all sizes, sharing great strategies on leadership, the motivation for the youth and communication in education. He is also the recipient of 23 awards.

Students around the world will remember the year 2020 as the year when the world as they know it, went topsy-turvy and they had an extended period of learning from the confines of their homes. The entire modern world is brought to its knees by the rapidly spreading COVID — 19. Country after country is bearing the brunt of this virus. Lakhs are getting infected, thousands are dying, there is panic reigning all around.
On the 12th of March 2020, COVID 19 was declared a Pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). The first to be hit by the pandemic and the lockdown was the educational institutions and the students. Currently, the UN estimates that 1.25 billion children are at home as a result of the corona virus lockdown across 124 countries globally. Considering the prevailing situation, it is reasonable to believe that educational institutions will be the last to get back to their normal routines.
In India, the state governments announced all schools, colleges and universities to shut down until further notice and exams were either cancelled or deferred. A situation arose where there was a chance that the learning would stop indefinitely for the students. However, every adversity presents an opportunity for us to explore new ways and the current corona crisis was no different. It gave the educational institutions with an opportunity to explore online teaching leveraging technology. Instead of halting the ongoing classes completely, they were moved online by the education institutes using various platforms like WhatsApp, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, etc. to maintain continuous learning environment of the students.
However, online education comes with its own set of issues. But given the present lockdown, one can easily conclude this to be the best available option. The question, however, arises, “What after lockdown?” “Will the education system be the same that existed before the lockdown or will there be some changes?”
In 2017, much before the virus hit us, Mr T. V. Mohandas Pai, Chairman of Manipal Global Education Services, had said in an interview, “Education is set for massive transformation as technology is ushering in a new era in the field of education.” Of course, the context that he said it was different, but the words hold true given the current situation. Education will not be the same.
We are in a way embracing the new normal, all thanks to the virus. Greeting, meeting and interacting with each other has evolved overnight and will continue to be the new order. The virus has reengineered the very nature of human socio-emotional interaction through touch. Schools will have to now explore creative means to implement social distancing in their campuses and amidst all their activities. Classrooms and cafeterias, libraries and labs, staff rooms and sports grounds, will be redesigned to ensure personal protection and public hygiene. Odd-Even days for classes and scattered timings for different classes and batches are other options that could be considered. A massive operational overhaul is on the cards as the lockdown gets lifted.
Given the exponential surge in online classes, schools will be tempted to switch to smart classrooms wherein 60% of their academic work will happen online. Teachers and students will use online portals and service providers for their learning and interaction. Teachers will use a variety of tools like educational videos and blogs, online worksheets, webinars and YouTube Channels to deliver their classes. Midterm exams will be conducted online. Most academic meetings and project evaluations will happen using online collaboration tools. Some city schools might consider switching to a hybrid model wherein they will have a few days of contact classes and a few days of online classes in a week. This model has an advantage wherein, in the event of schools and colleges being asked to shut down during unannounced holidays, classes can continue uninterrupted.
EdTech will see a spike in innovation and integration to capitalize their dependence. Different online ‘Teaching and Learning’ models will be developed. These models will involve a combination of both online and offline teaching to keep the screen time in check and ensure the application of learning takes place. At the end of every lesson the teachers will take feedback from the students to gauge their understanding of the concepts taught. There will be a surge in the demand for applications such as ‘Google for education’, ‘Brainly’, ‘Byju’s’, ‘Unacademy’, etc. These applications fulfil a variety of needs such as a web-based tool specifically designed for teachers to manage their classes online or an online learning platform or facilitating experiential learning for students through audio-visual content.
Teacher and Faculty Training will find a new focus. Modules to ensure continuous professional development of teachers and faculty on creation of online content, effective delivery of courses online, conducting assessments online, etc. Ramping up of free online resources work for self-study and as aids to teachers will occupy a central place in the strategic plan of every educational institution.
Ensuring continuity in operations, admissions, and assessments. Alternative ways and means to assess instead of a one-size-fits-all examinations will be explored. Creating a detailed contingency plan, undertake rigorous academic planning and syllabus prioritization for AY 2020–21 factoring current backlogs. In the long term, institutions will consider having robust operating procedures and policies to ensure continuity of operations in the wake of such emergencies.
“Adaptability will emerge as the single most sought-after trait to watch out for in the post pandemic planet.”
In conclusion, one might say that the classrooms of the future may not have the traditional four walls. However, what they will have is students eager to learn and teachers equally eager to teach, fostering anytime anywhere adherence.