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Published on: March 30, 2022, 2:59 p.m.
Quality and skilling
  • EdTech players have managed to quickly change their models, mindsets and adapt to the new age trend by leveraging technology productively

By Mayank Kumar. The author is Co-Founder & MD, upGrad

An important aspect that defines the development of the online education sector and its contribution to the overall GDP is Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER). Higher GER directly impacts the incremental growth of GDP. For India to become a 50 per cent GER economy by 2035 (as outlined in NEP 2020), online education needs to be encouraged as it has the potential to double the GER and move India towards that target. The education 2030 framework outlines clear priority for action to achieve the education goals globally and prominence to online learning must be given with support from government and other regulatory bodies to ensure that there is engagement, collaboration, and public private partnership to build systems that are inclusive, equitable and relevant to all learners.

Access to education for all: We have transited from physical classrooms to virtual teaching rooms and online education took centre stage recently given the environmental impact. Earlier, students were restricted with location of institutes, availability of courses in their choice of college, city, faculties, etc. for the right education they wished to pursue. With an online model, this challenge has become a huge opportunity for both students and education providers on the platform. Education is accessible to everyone who has internet connectivity – this is a phenomenal transformation and big step for the education sector. We have also shrunk distances by providing access to international universities and programmes to Indian students even during the lockdown. To become a learner’s nation, it is significant to make learning accessible for all. Online education enables this change. 

Quality of education: While digital advancement and technology open new horizons in the mode of imparting education, there is less focus on the quality of education being provided. Currently there is a huge gap in employability of talent and the educational qualifications or skill sets. Lack of trained professors, accessibility of the right technology, relevant curriculum for rapidly transforming workforce dynamics, are factors posing a threat to learning outcomes. It is our responsibility as EdTech players in the country to innovate and work towards bridging this gap.

We have given significant emphasis on bringing the best faculty onboard thus levelling the playing field for learners from remotest locations. With the benefit of online education, we are registering more industry professionals as they can now share their expertise with students from anywhere without any hassle and limitations. Project-based modules have seen a remarkable rise in enrolments from students as it gives them the exposure of real industry dynamics as opposed to classroom training. Building strong skill sets is our agenda in helping learners shape their career and provide employable talent to the nation. 

To mitigate redundancy and loss of employment, professionals and students will have to constantly look at adding or upgrading their skills, on specific intervals. This is evident when we consider roles like Data Scientists or Digital Marketers, which did not even exist a decade ago. Therefore, up-skilling and re-skilling over specific intervals will enable both freshers and working professionals to be updated with the latest skills in demand, thereby removing chances of redundancy and completing the cycle of Life Long Learning

Affordability: Technology is at the core for advancement and evolution of any industry. EdTech players have managed to quickly change their models, mindsets and adapt to the new age trend by leveraging technology productively. Consequently, cost has been reduced remarkably. Pricing from students’ perspective as well has been the key decision influencer for enrolments. This has become an affordable option for many with the variety of courses available at different price points which was not the case earlier in on-campus learning mode. 

Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the loss of what is equivalent to 255 million jobs – about 4X the number lost during the recession of 2007-2009. The most affected were informal workers who lack a social safety bracket. The next two years will focus on recovering and building a model that empowers every employable individual with sustainability and work availability. As a leading player in this segment, we are making efforts to build on unlocking talent arbitrage where anyone with the right attitude, equipped with the best skills can make a difference.

This will allow equal opportunities for people to achieve their full potential and in the larger scenario enable anyone and everyone to get decent work. Full and productive employment for one and all can drive progress for sustained economic growth for the country and will aid in the recovery process. A robust socio-economic framework that ensures social protection, economic response and recovery programmes for informal workers, job safety, supporting MSMEs, emerging businesses, investing in regional platforms, and guiding the fiscal stimulus is essential to build back. 

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