The coronavirus pandemic has taken a direct swipe across several industries such as manufacturing, finance, and healthcare among others. It has also affected the education sector.
Around 1.2 billion students and youth are or were forced to study from home as a result of the virus that has already killed more than 483,000 people globally.
But this is not where the story ends. For some, it’s where it begins. A crisis likes this requires us to question our methods of teaching and learning. Big and small companies are coming up with novel solutions for the education challenges posed by the virus. The future of education is unfolding right before our eyes as digital learning takes center-stage.
Students have to continue learning even if it means using alternative methods. Over the past several months, we have seen governments, private and public companies, publishers, educators, and technology providers forming partnerships to find a temporary solution to the ongoing crisis. China launched a remote program to keep students learning. Primary school students received their educational material on national television.
When governments began locking down their countries, many tech giants such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter encouraged their employees who could work from home to do so. Twitter and Square employees will continue working from home even when the coronavirus is contained.
Working from home was only a temporary solution. However, it has become permanent for some employees. This, in turn, will have domino effects that can potentially extend beyond the tech industry. While the online education sector has been growing even before the start of the virus, we are likely going to see a scenario where more students opt to learn from home. It is still very early to say goodbye to onsite learning. There will always be students who prefer mortar-and-bricks classrooms.
Technology has become a very important factor in the delivery of education. Existing edtech companies know that. The majority of them are preparing to handle an influx in the number of users on their platforms. Education Ecosystem has been scaling content on its platform to give users a variety of practical projects to learn from. Users can complete a variety of practical projects such as using machine learning in stock trading or creating a login system for a game in Unity among others. These vary in nature and they are provided by vetted experts who have many years of experience in their career fields.
Other growing edtech companies are knocking on the doors of venture capital firms to raise funds to sail through these times. New Markets Venture Partners, an edtech VC, has seen an increase in the number of education companies reaching out to them for investments, said the firm’s general partner Jason Palmer. The bottom line is that education companies see an opportunity that extends beyond the coronavirus pandemic.
Here in Europe and across the globe, education companies have become a lifeline for the millions of students who can’t attend physical classes due to the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic pushed the world toward an experiment of working or learning from home.
It is no longer just an experiment. It could be the future of education. There is still a long way to go before remote learning becomes the major norm internationally. But this pandemic has shown us what the possibilities are. And with education companies coming on board to save the day, they have set for themselves a future where anything is possible.
By: Michael Jurgen Garbade
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