The COVID-19 pandemic has taken school admissions online. With a new normal in place, some institutions have put in place virtual interactions and virtual tours of campuses for parents and students.
The education sector has also been severely impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It set in at a crucial time when board examinations, nursery school admissions, entrance tests for colleges, universities and professional competitive examinations were to be held. As the virus showed no signs of slowing down, a number of private schools moved their classes online so that the students wouldn’t miss out on the lessons. And now as schools have started to open up, the parents are hesitant to send their children.
Notedly, the Ministry of Human Resources Development, India had launched various digital learning initiatives and platforms to promote learning through digital platforms. An example is Diksha that has more than 80,000 e-Books for classes I to XII created by CBSE, NCERT, States and Union Territory. This platform can be accessed through a mobile app through which students could access books from any place; another platform is E-Pathshala, which boasts of a collection of about 1,886 audios, 2,000 videos, 696 e-Books and over 504 Flip Books for classes I to XII in different languages.
With the admissions on once again, some schools have categorized various sub-processes of the admissions procedure and have implemented online solutions for each of the sub-process. Research shows that a number of higher education institutions are using webinars for sharing information on programs, video calls for one-on-one interactions, and virtual campus tours to showcase the campus life and facilities available. Some institutes are only accepting e-applications from candidates, and this is then followed by virtual interviews.
COVID-19 powered lockdowns to contain the pandemic have posed many challenges for school education not just in India but globally. The government and stakeholders should look at ways to ensure that education is no longer impacted. Moreover, the center has taken the education to another level with the implementation of the National Education Policy 2020. A comprehensive set of recommendations for promoting online education consequent to the rise in epidemics and pandemics in order to ensure preparedness with alternative modes of quality education whenever and wherever traditional and in-person modes of education are not possible.