02 Mar 2021


Over the past few years, we used always to hear that the world is getting smaller and interconnected. The context mostly used to be that travel, business, and trade led to the diminishing of national or regional boundaries and brought in more interconnectedness among nations. However, this very point also led to the proliferation of the pandemic like CoVID-19 and soon brought topics like isolation, self-reliance and lockdowns in the everyday lexicon.

No walk of life has provided to be immune from the pandemic. Initially, Society thought of COVID-19 as a health issue. But, today, the challenges brought about by COVID-19 has transcended sectors and affected the very way of life around the world. A walk to the nearby Kirana in any remote village will show people wearing masks (properly or improperly is a different issue altogether), going about their daily lives. We see people from all walks of life, rich or poor, employed or unemployed adapting to the new world.

Education in India has also been impacted. Since time immemorial, the Gurukula system in India has always stressed to bring the teacher (guru) and the students (shishya) in an environment that is conducive for learning. The gurukul system made way to schools and colleges, where teachers teach students in a group in a shared physical setting. The pandemic has forced educational institutions to move into a virtual environment to protect the students and teachers from the rapid spread of the disease. Technology has been a great enabler during this transition. Technologies like Microsoft Teams, Google Classrooms, which were nascent products in early 2020 have proved to be mature technologies to connect with students and teachers in an interactive manner.

For students, Schools and colleges acted as incubators for new ideas, developing friendships and learnings. Colleges brought students from different backgrounds in life in a physical setting where they could learn from the teachers and also one another. Qualities like teamwork, inclusivity and diversity, acceptance of ideas not necessarily yours were encouraged, which formed a solid foundation of team spirit and ethos when they moved to corporates. Colleges also proved to be an ideal place to recognize their passions in art, literature, sports and even debating politics.

This change in medium brings a lot of new responsibilities on the teachers, students and their parents. The absence of a physical setting like a classroom meant teachers are quickly learning new skills like Microsoft PowerPoint, adapting teaching materials intended for classrooms to a virtual medium. Teaching has evolved from sharing knowledge in a group setting to ensuring students learn in the new virtual setting and not get isolated.

India is a developing country and households with a good quality internet connection, and a decent laptop is still limited. The pandemic has forced everyone to adapt to a new world. India is currently removing the lockdown restrictions as the economy has to move on for the nation to develop. COVID-19 has become a risk; we all have to live with and adapt. While regular classrooms would eventually commence, the lockdowns and the pandemic has brought in some changes that would have an everlasting impact in our lives. Technology would become a significant part of Learning 2.0. We will see the development and adoption of digital tools that would enable more interaction and collaboration among students and teachers. It might also bring a change on how students are evaluated, and examinations are conducted in future.

To summarize, I believe the pandemic has brought in some evident changes in Education. These changes, coupled with the recently introduces National Education Policy (NEP 2020), would alter the future and growth trajectory of Education in India forever.

Ashitha Jayaprakash Menon

Assistant Professor

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