How COVID-19 could permanently change the education sector and global learning habits
With governments around the world imposing extended periods of lockdown in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19, UNESCO believes that over one and a half billion school or college-age learners are now stuck at home, representing roughly 90% of the world’s student population at one point in March 2020. Being stuck at home, however, does not necessarily mean that students cannot continue to learn. Advancements in technology, both computational and telecommunication, have enabled remote learning opportunities and may even allow students to complete their education on schedule.
How Education Platforms Are Responding to COVID-19
For many young learners, digital courses and online collaboration platforms have become the only way they can continue to learn. While financial institutions such as schools, colleges, and universities are turning their classrooms into virtual experiences, third-party entities such as MIT’s edX and Coursera are championing asynchronous, on-demand education. Khan Academy also witnessed an unprecedented surge in traffic after the US and other developed nations began issuing stay-at-home orders, serving 30 million learners in April.
Numerous other distance learning platforms made access to their platforms available to the general public for free as well.
The number of new education technology startups has shot up over the past decade, especially in developing economies such as India and China. According to a study conducted by KPMG and Google in May 2017, India’s online education market could grow to $2 billion in 2021, even before the pandemic. The valuation of startups in the space also reflects this potential. Early-stage ed-tech startup, Byju’s, for instance, has raised around $1.4 billion since its inception in 2015 from notable investors such as Sequoia Capital India, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), and China’s Tencent Holdings.