Arpit Agarwal, Director, JECRC Foundation

Arpit is an intelligent entrepreneur well-versed in professional education. He has been providing a platform for quality education to the 21st century’s young and curious learners since two decades in various verticals. He looks forward to building a better world with an asset of more than 10,000 students through the innovative citadel of higher learning. He has a sound understanding of business strategy, implementation and marketing coupled with an excellent entrepreneur aptitude.

 

Nobody saw it coming. It needed something like a pandemic for the world to realise how important day-to-day education really is. For a little over 18 months, the world has come to a standstill, courtesy of COVID-19. The novel Coronavirus has taken the world by storm and brought to the fore many issues in almost every sector across the world. But probably the biggest impact that the pandemic outbreak has had on is the education sector. From teachers to institute staff workers, everyone had to stay home, but most importantly, the students had to not only stay home but be forcefully deprived of education, which is the last thing one needs in his/her life. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the pandemic will end up changing education forever.

The normal, usual, everyday education was out of the question. The only real question was: will the normal, usual, everyday education ever be possible? The first thing we had to make sure of was resuming education as quickly as possible. But before that, we had to ensure all the students remain in the right state of mind while facing something the world has never seen, and probably never will.

Maintain Healthy Student Mindset

According to World Bank data, the education of as many as 185 million students across 45 countries was affected during the peak of the pandemic. What was needed was constant outreach programmes and virtual mental health orientation lectures for students during such a crisis, understanding their psyche and providing them with all possible mental arsenal to face their toughest challenge yet.

Education Retention

While everyone would agree that education should never stop and knowledge being passed on is welcome. But while information is important, imbibing values and other things are equally important. Completing the curriculum and retaining education are two different things. A conversation with a friend (one-to-one, not through chats) about the previous class and discussing any future activities that they could engage in is more important than it may seem. Moreover, the outlook should expand and university education helps in doing that. While any other form of learning might be beneficial, there is a reason why collective education was the preferred choice from the very beginning.

Online Only Option?

However, the pandemic also came with a lot of learning, highlighting the need to make swift and tectonic changes to the world and its way of functioning as far as the education sector goes. Online education was always there but its importance never appealed as much as it did in the last two years. To make sure there is no lack of communication and interaction, online education came as a known-yet-new experience for both parties. It acted as a much-needed bridge between students and teachers in this unwanted break from education. The world quickly transitioned from physical to virtual, offline to online and rightly so. One cannot even begin to imagine what could have happened had technology not been around. It has indeed been a boon. Having said that, can online education ever replace the value of learning spaces where batches of students engage in rigorous learning, working, playing and making friends?

The 20th century model of education sure needs to be updated, but need it necessary be mechanical or technological? But while universities are slowly peeking out of their burrows, they need to ensure that they make suitable changes to the way they had been functioning all this while. It is high time we prioritise human aspects and push the sector to be individualised yet with societal interest, exclusive yet common in terms of purpose. Because teachers are not replaceable, they should never be.

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