Online education will continue to supplement bricks and mortar schools, according to leading educationalist
It will take at least two years to make up for the loss of properly structured schooling, according to a leading global educationalist.
Amreesh Chandra, who comes from a family with 50 years’ experience in school management and education in India, said there is no going back to purely physical schools, even post-pandemic.
“It can never be offline education alone anymore, whether the pandemic exists or not. As the world continues to battle with coronavirus, there is yet no date as to when all schools will open and, when they do, the deficit that has been created in the young minds because of a lack of properly structured schooling is not something that can be covered in three months of learning. It will take at least two years to cover the deficit in learning and hence private tutoring will be key,” said Chandra.
“Also, while the pandemic gradually eases off, there will still be a portion of learning which will continue to be digital through online education. The percentage of online versus offline schooling will decrease gradually but it will still be there,” he added.
Chandra is the founder of Online Learning World (OLW), a digital afterschool private tutoring programme he launched in the UAE in November last year, with the support of the Crown Prince of Fujairah, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi.
OLW’s interactive learning model mirrors a school setting where a lesson is given to many students at once by a teacher based in India, cutting down on costs and hence price, explained Chandra.
Chanda first tested the virtual schooling model with Online World School (OWS), a purely digital school he developed in India when his school campuses were shutdown during the coronavirus lockdown last year. OWS offers the Indian Board programme to students across the world.
OWS attracted students from Singapore, Ireland, Abu Dhabi and Dubai and so gave Chandra the idea of setting up camp in the UAE. Since the UAE doesn’t give trade licences for purely online schools, however, the idea for an after-school tutoring programme came about.
OLW tailored its course offerings to the UAE market, offering coding as an elective or activity because of the government’s clear interest in growing the country’s tech talent, said Chandra.
“We saw the very early input that the UAE government wants to do in preparing a tech-ready type and for somebody to be tech-ready, they need to have the basic understanding of this field very early on,” explained Chandra.
“The UAE government has been very smart to understand that technology is the way of life. The earlier you teach them, the better. If the UAE does this, it will have the highest per capita of tech-ready children in the world because of their approach to digital transformation for both Emiratis and non-Emiratis,” he continued.
SOHO Learning Hub which is an online platform for short courses.