Ratan Deep Singh, India CEO, SkillUp Online

Ratan Deep Sing is the CEO of SkillUp Online in India, a transformational learning organization dedicated to catering to the needs of the fast-changing global job market as well as the needs of Gen Z students in preparing them for the fourth Industrial Revolution. In his current role, he is responsible for overseeing the entire business operations of SkillUp Online. Having earned his bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering from I.P. University, Ratan has served in various distinguished organizations in senior leadership roles.

 

Studying abroad and getting a foreign degree is a dream of many students in India. A foreign degree helps acquire global skills and clears the path for several personal and professional opportunities. The number of Indian students that apply for studying abroad is a glowing testimony.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, about 6 lakh students went abroad for studies in 2019. However, like all other sectors, this sector too was hit by the onset of Covid. Owing to safety concerns and travel restrictions, this number came down below 2.6 lakhs, which dropped more than 50% compared to last year.

However, despite Covid, the desire of studying abroad has not diminished. The number of students wishing to get a foreign degree is rising. Till February 2021, about 70 thousand students have moved abroad for higher education.

The rise of alternate channels of education:

As the age-old saying goes, ‘necessity is the mother of invention’. In the aftermath of the pandemic, students and the universities were forced to think of alternate ways to continue global education. A deeper introspection revealed that the students are primarily looking for a global degree and not necessarily studying in a foreign country.

Once this realization seeped in, it opened several doors for the students and the universities. The result is distance learning online and hybrid learning, wherever possible.

What is hybrid learning?

Hybrid learning is an upcoming educational model that combines the benefits of traditional education through classroom teaching and online teaching. In this model, some students physically attend the class, while others attend the class virtually from their homes. The teachers use video conferencing tools to teach both categories of students simultaneously.

How is hybrid learning helpful?

In this troubled time of Covid, the students and the universities have accepted hybrid learning as the preferred method of teaching. This saves the students the trouble of travelling abroad and the risk of getting infected.

Several universities like Uppsala University, Sweden, Pacific Lutheran University, USA, University of Warwick, UK, offer opportunities to students to fulfil their dream of a foreign degree through hybrid learning.

Hybrid learning is a win-win model for both universities and students. While the universities get good admissions, the students get a cost-effective education. The educational material, teaching pedagogy, and degree remain the same. However, the students save the cost of travel, stay, and other expenses in a foreign land.

How is the rise of Edtech platforms helping this cause?

The trend of hybrid learning or blended learning is on the rise. A large part of the credit for this growth goes to the rise of Edtech platforms. When the pandemic struck, and there was a lockdown globally, the universities were closed to control the spread. With no clear timeline available for the situation to improve, there was a general sense of disappointment and confusion among students regarding their education and future life. These students had been preparing for a long time, and suddenly there was a major roadblock. The students feared losing time and opportunity.

In such times of uncertainty, the Edtech platforms came as a saviour for the students who were in deep despair. These platforms brought a sense of relief to students, especially those planning to study abroad.

Challenges faced by students:

  1. Due to the pandemic, the students were facing the challenge of slowing down the process. From slow application to slow processing and final confirmation, every process was delayed. This delay was increasing the anxiety level of all students.
  2. There was, and there is still no clarity on when the universities will resume regular classroom teaching.
  3. Many students were on the verge of getting jobs or an elevation in their role by meeting the required educational criteria. The delay in declaring results made them lose that opportunity.

Edtech players came as a saviour:

Looking at the above challenges, the Edtech platforms decided to step in and ‘unlock’ this uncertainty. The Edtech platforms like skillup.online took the digital route and started education through online mediums.

In addition, Edtech companies like skillup.online help students by providing online counselling and updating students with the latest information about dates of exams, declaration of results, deferral of various competitive exams, etc., of various universities. These platforms also helped universities communicate with students regarding their admission procedures and continuously changing protocols. In short, during this time of despair, the Edtech platforms acted as a bridge between the universities and the students.

Benefits of Edtech learning:

The Edtech learning not only help universities continue their teaching but also helped teach students sitting at remote locations. It even make their sessions more interactive, engaging, customised to individual’s needs, and hence more effective.

Edtech companies also made it possible for universities to reach out to working professionals. While working from home, many working professionals spent time on the internet to explore new skills.

Conclusion

In this critical scenario, when the entire world came to a standstill due to the pandemic, the education sector was also hit badly. With regular classroom teaching not possible, the students were under tremendous stress concerning their future.

In such times, the Edtech sector offered higher education the necessary support to continue the momentum. As working professionals were adapting to the ‘new normal’, the Edtech sector helped create a new market for various online courses, beyond the realm of the curriculum, for simply upgrading their skills while following the Covid protocols.

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