With COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdowns, the education system would come to a standstill if technology tools were not leveraged to ensure continuity of education. Microsoft has partnered with the government and provided apt technology ensuring education to all students through digital modes.
Looking at how the Government of Gujarat leveraged technology to continue education for students during the lockdown, Elets Technomedia in association with Microsoft India and Ernst and Young (EY) Parthenon organised the Education Innovation Summit 2021 – Gujarat Edition on June 4, 2021.
Dr Avantika Tomar, Associate Partner, EY-Parthenon took over the virtual dias and showed a presentation on ‘Public School Education in India’. She shared viewpoints on the impact of COVID-19 on the Indian education system.
Showing data charts, Dr Tomar said, “Looking at the sheer numbers we see that the number of admission to private schools is increasing and decreasing to the government schools. This is due to concerns related to quality education and infrastructure that parents prefer private schools.” However, she mentioned that it is a perception for some and reality for some that primary education offered in private schools outshines that offered in government schools.
She showed that there are challenges ranging from fundamental issues like rote learning methods, lack of a proper system to identify and help children weak in studies or activities, lack of well-trained and qualified teachers, and lack of accountability of teachers and schools authorities, to digital challenges including limited internet penetration, lack of proper digital literacy among teachers, and basic infrastructural support.
Speaking on the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, she said, “The NEP 2020 emphasises on extensive use of technology in teaching and learning, removing language barriers, increasing access for students, and educational planning and management.”
Addressing the impact of COVID-19 on the education sector, she said, “The pandemic has been adversity for the students and teachers. The on-campus human collaboration was completely shunned, a sudden shift was made to online modes that posed a major challenge for the teachers and the students. Students’ health and social development have been affected, especially during the lockdown as no outing was allowed. For institutions, it became difficult to manage non-teaching and teaching staff remotely.”
However, online education models and technology tools came to the rescue. Meeting tools and collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams played a crucial role in keeping all the students, teachers, and other staff members connected. Also, online education portals were opened to provide quality content to students to ensure continuity of educational growth among them.