Sanjeev Bhargava, Director - Brand, TOI and Mrinal Mohit, Chief Operating Officer, BYJU'S

The pandemic has triggered a paradigm shift in the Indian education system. In this whole new world of learning, where blackboards are suddenly replaced by the digital screens, teachers and parents are struggling to cope with the changes. Designed by The Times of India and powered by BYJU’s, #KeepLearning is an initiative to help parents and teachers navigate the shift to online learning/teaching and the changes in the ecosystem due to the pandemic. In a conversation with Higher Education Digest, Sanjeev Bhargava, Director – Brand, TOI and Mrinal Mohit, Chief Operating Officer, BYJU’S, talk about the focuses of #KeepLearning Initiative, which includes making online teaching effective, making online learning easy for students, exploring learning platforms, guiding through technology, and much more.

 

What are the most significant challenges for parents and teachers during this pandemic? Do you think the community has been able to cope up with the new norms of education?

Mrinal Mohit: With the pandemic impacting the learning journeys of learners across the world, online learning has emerged as the only viable solution for students. Along with students, teachers have had to shift to online teaching almost overnight to help their students continue their learning process from the comfort of their homes. We witnessed a significant shift in the mindset of parents in favour of online learning. In fact, one of our recent surveys found that over 75% of parents in India want their children to continue learning online even after schools reopen. This shows that with schools continuing to be shut and all other learning sources being unavailable, digital adoption has increased significantly during this time. We believe that these trends are here to stay, and the community will continue to adapt to this new normal of learning.

How will #KeepLearning Initiative help parents and teachers navigate the shift to online learning/teaching and the changes in the ecosystem due to the pandemic?

Sanjeev Bhargava: Amongst the many industries and sectors that have been severely affected due to the pandemic and its resulting lockdown, it is the education system that has witnessed an unprecedented transformation. In a matter of days, students and teachers, who had never experienced anything, but blackboards had to adapt to their laptop and mobile screens. While this was a problem that rural areas faced in prominence, urban cities too took time to get used to the ‘new normal’ in education.

To make this transition smoother, we are now helping students, parents and educators adapt to the online learning process through our #KeepLearning campaign, where we have joined forces with BYJU’s, who share the same passion and drive as us in bringing about an effective and positive change in the society.  #KeepLearning is a one-stop platform helping parents, teachers and students overcome the e-learning challenges and maximize their learnings. The platform includes: –

  • Plethora of content on Online Education: Almost all topics related to online learning are covered through a variety of articles, listicles and videos on the website
  • Discussion with Subject Matter Experts: There are a series of Webinars and Panel Discussions with subject matter experts on various topics throughout the 2 months duration of the initiative
  • One-on-One Connect with Experts: Registered users will also be able to connect one-on-one with key experts from multiple domains like Education System, Lifestyle Coaching, Child Psychology, Ophthalmology, Career Counselling etc. to answer their questions/queries
  • Discussion Forums: Registered users will also be able to participate in discussion forums on various topics and get perspective of top experts and other participants
Why did TOI and BYJU’S decide to collaborate for an initiative like ‘#KeepLearning’?

Mrinal Mohit: Given the current situation, the need of the hour is to empower students, parents and educators with the knowledge of ‘how-to’ of e-learning and exploring the best practices of online learning. With the advancement of technologies and the availability of several tools, it is necessary to expand the scope of learning at every stage and educate ourselves on how we can harness the presented opportunity. With this objective in mind, BYJU’S have partnered with The Times of India to launch the Keep Learning initiative. Through this initiative, we aim to help parents and teachers navigate the shift to online learning/teaching and the changes in the ecosystem due to the pandemic by offering innovative and engaging content and information.

The campaign also promises to engage its audience with prominent celebrities and experts. Tell us more about the expected panel members.

Sanjeev Bhargava: To further create an impact on the minds of our audiences, we have invited experts from the education fraternity who bring in years of experience and knowledge. Some of these names include Anubha Doshi, Founder- Director – Artsphere & Soulsphere; Dr Arunabh Singh, Director, Nehru World School; Dr Navin Sakhuja, MD Ophthalmology; Dr Sameer Malhotra, Director and Head – Max Super Specialty Hospital and Ramya Rajendiran, Co-Founder, Springdays School & Fountainhead Leaders among others.

They will be speaking on various key topics like New Education Policy, Curriculum during COVID and Beyond, Blackboard to a Digital Screen, Screen Time – how much is too much, and many more topics. The campaign is also engaging with prominent celebrities and experts. The list includes known influencers like Rajiv Makhani, Katerina Folkman, MomComIndia and many others.

What are the similar campaigns we can expect from TOI in future? 

Sanjeev Bhargava: As one of the leading media vehicles, The Times of India has always been at the very forefront of bringing new purpose-driven and thought-led initiatives. Showcasing a high sense of responsibility to the nation and its people, each of our initiatives has brought in positive change for the betterment of society at large. We have already been working on endless such initiatives like the Lost Vote, Organ Donation, Citizen Reporter, Make India Water Positive, Green Drive etc.

In the line of our brand ethos, we will continue to partner with like-minded partners to bring in Initiatives that will take our society/country forward.

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