Edtech experts and academicians have stressed that continuous learning and exposure are the best ways for upskilling.
The suggestions came up during a discussion on 'Online Upskilling Challenges & Vision Beyond 2021'at the Techspectations Educate 2021, the fourth edition of Manoramaonline's premier digital summit, on Saturday.
The discussion saw Arjun Mohan (CEO–India, upGrad), Dr Raj Singh (Vice Chancellor, Jain Deemed-to-be University), Sasank Potturu (CEO, Conduira), Dr Rajeev Ramachandran (Business Head – Horizon, Manorama) and Tom Joseph (Director – New Initiatives, Jain Deemed-to-be-University) sharing their thoughts on the future of edtech and online upskilling.
Arjun Mohan said India has made giant strides in edtech and the country can easily become a superpower in the segment. “India is a huge market in edtech as valuable resources are available at a low cost,” he said.
Arjun said online upskilling has become the buzzword after the Covid-19 pandemic. “We have been able to change the perception among Indian professionals that upskilling can be done online too. But there is some level of fatigue of late. People are looking at going back to the office. So we need to give the customers what they want,” he said.
Dr Raj Singh predicted that blended education is here to stay as Covid-19 has brought openness to change like never before. “Educationists should not think of going back to the old normal. This is an opportunity for us,” he said.
The vice-chancellor of the Jain Deemed-to-be-University said there would be a shift towards virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence in education. “Use of VR, AR and AI will boost professions, such as nursing and engineering,” he said.
He urged edtech companies to work closely with universities. “Edtech companies cannot help universities unless they work with us,” he said.
Sasank Potturu, Chief Executive Officer, Conduira harped on the poor Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) to buttress his argument that edtech has immense potential in the country.
“India has a GER of 27% and this means only one in four of the 25 crore youngsters are attending colleges. The GER of the developed economies is more than 50%. This gap is a huge opportunity for India,” he said.
Dr Rajeev Ramachandran, Business Head – Horizon, Manorama, said skilling, upskilling and re-skills are three parts of upskilling. He also stated that the new National Education Policy will be a gamechanger. “With the NEP, there will be marked change in the education sector,” he said.
Exploring the education and business angels of edtech, Tom Joseph, Director – New Initiatives, Jain Deemed-to-be-University, said edtech market is witnessing huge changes now. “Students’ demands are changing while industry is expecting new skill sets from them,” he said.
Tom said online learning has created a new market. “Online learning has created a new market of learners. but it hasn't affected face-to-face education. 72% of the market is untapped. It is a big challenge, but the future is bright,” he said.