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How is Coronavirus Shaping the Online Education Market of India?

How is Coronavirus Shaping the Online Education Market of India?

Consulting | Aug, 2020

Ongoing pandemic is negatively impacting the health of the citizens and hindering various industries that serve as the backbone of any economy. With days passing and no permanent cure to contain COVID-19 outbreak, more than 186 countries closed schools and colleges, which has left 1.38 billion children without any access to education. India, a home to more than 285 million young learners, is also facing a similar situation. The outbreak of COVID-19 forced universities and K-12 schools to close, and its extension imposed various challenges before parents, teachers, students, government, and institutions. This palaver situation is questioning the century-old chalk-talk based education systems in the country and has exposed its vulnerabilities. 


How is the education sector responding to COVID-19?

Indian education system comprises of teaching and assessment methodologies that were entirely disrupted by the closure of educational institutions. During the lockdown, only a handful of private schools or convents could adopt to online teaching methods. On the other hand, the government and low-income private schools were entirely shut down. Government schools, which have been learning institutions for some while, for poverty-stricken children, also used to be the source of healthy meals. As per the MHRD data, in the year 2018-19, a mid-day meal scheme served about 9. 17 crore children in 11.35 lakh schools across the country, but today, the same children are left economically and socially distressed during this challenging time.

During this time, education institutions are coming forward and adopting numerous strategies to facilitate continuous teaching. Government of India has also made arrangements such as several virtual platforms containing online learning materials, e-books and online depositories, radios, and educational channels through direct to home (D2H) TV.

Also, the government has launched the PM eVidya Programme, which consists of Diksha comprising QC coded textbooks and e-content for all classes. Furthermore, as part of the program, the top 100 NIRF institutions could start offering complete online courses from 30th May 2020. 

The Government of India has taken cognizance of e-learning or online learning. It has announced the use of podcasts, e-content, and radio for delivering educational content for hearing impaired and visually impaired students.

What needs to be done to revamp the education system of the country?

Immediate steps taken by the educational institutions and government have laid the foundation stone of digital learning. Still, various measures need to be taken to regularize and create a failproof system.

Firstly, online learning management solutions and digital learning software need to be added in the curriculum so that teachers/professors can teach online to ensure continuity of delivery of content to students. DIKSHA platform started by the Government of India, can be further extended so that students from all the states and UTs can access it.

Secondly, there is a dire need for the development of learning solutions for marginalized and needy students. India has a large pool of internet users and the home to second-highest active internet users globally. The country can exploit its potential for providing education in remote areas. Doing so can change the entire schooling system and significantly improve the effectiveness of learning.

The current chalk and talk education system needs to be integrated with e-learning platforms to create a uniform learning system. With the rapid boom in the online learning platforms market, there is a need to establish quality benchmarks and a quality assurance mechanism. Different digital learning platforms are offering multiple courses on the same subjects with different assessment parameters and certifications. Having a quality mechanism in place will ensure that these platforms are delivering quality content.

India medicines, yoga, agriculture, among others, are already world-renowned, and the introduction of online courses in these fields or categories will put the country on a global map. Also, students will be able to learn from the educators present within the country itself.


Challenges for Implementing Online Education in Current Curriculum

People have different opinions on the integration of e-learning into the current curriculum. Some feel that it is an unplanned move and students are not ready for it, while some think that they should go with the flow. Again, it is too soon to have a clear verdict on the same, but there are definitely some challenges related to its implementation which need to be addressed.

Neither teachers/educators nor students were given proper training regarding digital learning and the educational institutions adopted it with very little preparation. Teachers and educators are facing challenges in making PPTs, or recording video lectures or using such platforms. Lack of experience or non-acquaintance with technology is serving as an obstacle for the teachers.

Despite the being the country with second highest internet users, the country still lacks stable internet speed in villages and towns due to which, attending online classes or tests on unstable speeds negatively impacts learning among the students. Besides, numerous students do not have laptops or smartphones, due to which, large section of students remain untouched by digital learning and contribute to digital divide.

Digital learning may revolutionize the century-old education system, but the digital learning platform vendors need to improve user experience and offer a friendly user interface. Also, insufficient bandwidth is another challenge for the growing adoption of online education in the country.

Online learning and classroom learning are different as the curriculum in our country is not designed according to digital learning. Unplanned move towards digital learning format might result in passive learning by students as they might be paying less attention to these classes or might not take them seriously.

Development of an online learning application is a time-consuming process. Due to COVID-19, schools and colleges moved towards several online tech platforms such as Blackboard, Zoom, Google Classroom, etc. Conducting lectures on these video platforms instead of dedicated e-learning platforms can be a temporary solution to the problem. Developing an app in real-time with relevant study material is a challenge for many educational institutions.

Advantages of Online education:

Enrolment in online courses and studying virtually is cost-effective compared to traditional courses in school/colleges that involved commuting and lodging. Learning online is convenient and incurs less cost. Besides, COVID-19 has given the required push to the digital online learning platforms market. 

Students from poor communities or ones living in remote areas do not have reach to quality education. Online education provides access to world class education to these students. Furthermore, rolling out of 4G & 5G in future and high penetration of telecom network is positively impacting the online education market.

India is expected to have one of the largest youngest population by 2030. The country has inadequate infrastructure to match this population surge and offer quality education. Online education can be the potential solution to this problem, and Government of India has taken step in this direction by offering 100% online courses for higher education. 

Creating an online course or teaching online allows educators to cater to larger population. On the flip side, learners get to learn from the educators around the world. Also, researches have shown that online learning is more effective and helps retain 25-50% more content when compared with its counterpart, i.e., classroom.

Digital learning is learning through e-books or video lecturers, thereby allowing us to save on paper examinations and books. Also, reducing the consumption of paper helps to preserve environment.

Digital content creation is less time-consuming than published paper books or journals in which books are first sent for printing. Also, online learning drives online exams for the evaluation of the progress of learner. Online exams have automated scoring systems and deliver results instantly. Besides, retrieval of answersheet/question paper of these exams for re-evaluation or audit is also convenient.

Online learning allows students to learn at their own pace, going back and re-reading, skipping, or accelerating, instead of going with the fixed schedule in educational institutions.



Current teaching methods need to be updated, as this pandemic has presented us with an opportunity to do so. We need to have an effective, well rounded and integrated education practice, which is a blend of both conventional education model and digital learning.

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