According to UNESCO, in 2020, one billion students, two-thirds of the global student population, faced either school closures or uncertainty. The most vulnerable populations, particularly girls, remained especially at risk. 2020 brought remote, virtual learning to the horizon at a pace and scale never before. Is this to be carried forward into 2021?
As per Antonius Raghubansie, Director of Learning Services, British Council India. the year 2020 saw people turning to online resources to pursue their love for reading in the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic, this was fuelled by the need for safety and reduced access to physical libraries and stores.
"The British Council online library content witnessed a 67 per cent increase in subscription over the last year (as of November '20). We are also seeing users above the age of 18 show increased preference for audiobooks - evident through a 192 per cent increase in checkouts over 2019 for our online library members. E-resources available through online library memberships gained popularity, especially among young readers, owing to the convenience of accessing them safely from personal devices at home. We foresee this trend continuing in 2021, as readers including families, professionals and young kids, would continue to prefer online resources for infotainment. In view of the current situation, we anticipate both E-books and audiobooks to continue gaining favor among learners in a digital-first world," Raghubansie told IANSlife.
"One thing that will remain in 2021 is blended pedagogy. We have seen the flexibility that the online mode has provided and there is no denying of its advantages. Entire industries have shifted to the virtual platform and the education sector will also have to continue in a blended format. Institutes must develop their digital infrastructures to match up in this post digital era. Meetings, seminars and such activities will remain online. However, in terms some experientials, campuses will have to be opened up for these activities, but a blended pedagogy is here to stay. This will also have a long-term impact, especially on valuable programs. The institutions that adopt the new method, new mode and new model will flourish while the others may perish. The quality of educational institutions will get enhanced and the number of students enrolled will only increase in the digital mode," said Prof. Mahadeo Jaiswal, Director of IIM Sambalpur.
"COVID-19 has taught our teachers and the education sector to use technology to seamlessly impart education to all students. This trend will continue in the coming year and more smart campuses and digital libraries will be implemented to cater to the new-age learner. This digitization of the education sector will have a long-term impact, democratizing education globally. We will also continue to see a hybrid learning model, which will pave the way for the future of education with access to both classroom teaching and online education, catering to each student's unique needs while giving them the best of both worlds," said Rahul V Karad, the Visionary Educationist, and the Managing Trustee & Executive President, MAEER's MIT Group of Institutions & Executive President, MIT World Peace University (MIT-WPU), Pune.