Giving Compass' Take:

• Education technology is not necessarily helping to sustain global education systems during COVID-19.

• There is a call to funders to think about long-term solutions and funding for education nonprofits to better support students during this time. How can you direct your dollars so that education becomes accessible and sustainable after the pandemic? 

• Read about equity in education during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a matter of weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how students are educated around the world. With close to 1.3 billion learners being impacted as a result of national school and university closures, a large number of institutions have come up with a range of digital solutions to ensure that teaching and learning continue to take place. In India, one can see a similar trend unfolding, with much of it being concentrated in private schools that cater to urban, upper-middle class, English-speaking households.

This is not to say that the government has not come up with online solutions of its own. Since schools and colleges have been shut, several initiatives for online learning have been promoted by central and state governments, including DIKSHA and SWAYAM for students and teachers. SWAYAM has a repository of 1,900 courses available for students.

In all of this, there has been much conversation and optimism around the transformative powers of online learning—how the crisis will transform education for the better and how it is the disruption the sector needed.

Online learning in its current form is not enough 

  1.  The existing digital divide
  2. Existing capacity of children
  3.  Lack of teachers’ capacity
  4. Students’ access
  5. Absence of contextualised content

Funders need to think beyond the present pandemic

In order to work towards solving these challenges, building solutions, and leveraging the crisis as an opportunity to transform the sector, we need to start thinking afresh. However, there is one major piece of the puzzle that is missing—funding.

Who is going to fund this change in strategy for education nonprofits? Simply introducing technology is not enough. Funding is required for work to take place at multiple levels, starting with the cost of the technology itself, but moving beyond this to include developing content, training nonprofit staff to work with EdTech, and building the capacity of parents, students, and teachers.

Read the full article about global education funders need to look beyond pandemic by Swaha Sahoo at India Development Review.