Credits: India Today

According to a report by Oxford University Press (OUP), India switched from offline education to online education during the COVID-19 lockdown. However, the report, titled “Education: The Path to a Digital Revolution,” also said the government must act quickly to ensure that the progress made over the past year is not lost. The coronavirus pandemic has paved the way for blended and hybrid learning models in education that combine technology-based or digital education with traditional teaching.

In addition to extensive secondary research, the report gathered information from experts in seven markets – India, UK, Brazil, South Africa, Pakistan, Spain and Turkey, as well as hundreds of educators around the world.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected more than 1.7 billion students worldwide in the past 12 months. The Oxford report examined how students, parents and teachers have adapted to new ways of learning and teaching and how they would continue to use digital learning tools and resources to shape educational practices.

In India, compared to other countries, respondents rated the transition to e-learning to be quite good at 3.3 / 5.

However, a major problem identified by respondents was uneven access to digital learning devices, as well as lack of internet connectivity and ignorance of the tools needed to facilitate online learning.

The majority of respondents in India (71%) also felt that the transition to the Internet affected their well-being. The government’s priority is to provide more funding and address connectivity issues, especially in rural areas.

According to the report, the top three issues that negatively impacted digital education were: socio-economic barriers, lack of professional development opportunities for teachers and disruption or insecurity in daily life caused by the pandemic.

When asked what steps the government should take to support digital learning, respondents asked for help to improve connectivity, increase funding for technology, and improve professional development opportunities for teachers.

OUP CEO Nigel Portwood said, unsurprisingly, the pandemic has led to a rapid increase in digital learning adoption.

In rethinking what education might look like in the future, it is imperative that governments learn from those who have been on the front lines and provide and receive learning.

We have a great opportunity to learn from all our experiences to develop education systems that work for both local and global society.

Credits: greaterkashmir.com

The year 2020 has cast a dark shadow over the country’s entire education system and left the fate of millions of students on the line. What we all thought was a pandemic phase to go through until better days come are turning into more difficult times now. During the winters there was a short break which allowed for offline exams. After the second growing wave of the pandemic, COVID-19 cases reached record levels across the country, schools and colleges were once again closed. The students are now at home with their cell phones, laptops and computers. After a year of trial and error, reforms and innovative e-learning experiences have been carried out for students and teachers. This year it looks better with 4G speed which can guarantee better learning quality. Online education, already the norm in many countries around the world, offers immense potential for the overall growth of students.

The Covid-19 pandemic has helped teachers familiarize themselves with e-learning techniques. However, in the modern world of technology, teachers need to know more about technology for students to maximize their learning. I have been connected with academics and tech experts for over 2.5 decades. In my experience, the best and easiest way to teach online is to conduct synchronous live lessons using a whiteboard or presentation and share those conferences in the WhatsApp group. This is because we have infrastructure problems in our institutions. Live lectures are not that different from offline lectures and students can ask questions to satisfy themselves. A 15 minute video conference in MP4 format is converted to just 20MB, which can be further reduced by using online video compressors. I don’t support teachers who share notes or other pre-prepared material in the Google classroom and drop a few lines for students who expect them to read it and throw up again. You should design short lectures of 10 to 15 minutes and students should write down the key points for study later. In addition to the regular online courses, there are high quality lectures and other material that a student can use on the internet that in my opinion are far superior to the electronic content we are talking about. Taking online courses is serious business and it is the responsibility of teachers to ensure that the majority of students take these courses.
Every natural calamity has always struck those most in need and Covid-19 is no exception. We simply forget the invisible: the poor and the marginalized. While interacting with students over the past few months, many of them have asked me how we can take online classes if we don’t allow ourselves to have cell phones. In fact, there are a large number of less well-known disadvantaged students in our school system. This inaccessibility of digital infrastructure and the loss of academic learning worsen the learning gap. Even viewing online courses as an emergency measure and claiming that ‘something is better than nothing’ when it violates the principle of equal opportunity will place a large proportion of students at a greater disadvantage. Students from disadvantaged families who do not have access to technology to study online may drop out of school, violating the fundamental right to education. At the institutional level, state-level mechanisms will be put in place through government agencies, NGOs, civil society, etc., and devices such as cell phones will be available for those who cannot pay them through donations, grants and other programs. Setting up a board-based communication link as a TV channel for online courses only would be a more practical idea to help these disadvantaged students on a large scale.
While online education is helpful in situations like the pandemic, it does not provide a healthy educational experience. Education is not just about providing information or content to students through screens and all tests and grades. It is a holistic experience to grow up in a system of camaraderie and learn things that the virtual medium cannot offer. An old African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” shows the importance of social and community interaction for a child’s growth. The assimilation of technology to the system has revolutionized education around the world. To cope with a situation like the pandemic, full online education needs massive, ubiquitous and revolutionary infrastructure development, including changing the hearts, souls and minds of students and teachers. It is also time for us to talk about resuming studies in our facilities by making campus safe places. We need to prepare action plans to create a safe environment for students so that we do not have to close schools. It’s not just about online learning, it’s also about students who have lost their education due to the pandemic. Education is the pillar of building a society. We cannot survive without education and so we cannot ignore its importance.

Finally, I advise students to learn by themselves too. The nice thing about self-paced study is that once you start a task, you think outside the box and learn things out of natural curiosity. It will improve your understanding and equip you with invaluable skills. This is perhaps the main reason self-taught people succeed in real-world situations. Discover the biographies of great people. They learned from books and never stopped learning. In today’s digital world, there is an enormous amount of information around us and it is very easy to learn it on your own. Instead of complaining and doing nothing, students should get out of their comfort zone, focus on studying, do the exercises themselves and then review their progress. It is also important not to become dependent on screens, watch out for physical exercises and games to avoid depression.

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Credits: thehindu.com

Flipkart would acquire a 100% stake in Cleartrip to further strengthen its digital commerce offerings for customers, the company said in a statement.
The online retailer did not provide any financial details about the acquisition. Cleartrip’s sales were between $50 million and $60 million in 2019, and the size of the business could be multiples of 2 or 2.5, according to e-com sources.

CEO of the Flipkart Group said that the group is committed to transforming the customer experience through digital commerce. For many customers, Cleartrip means traveling. As we diversify and explore new growth areas.

Cleartrip was founded in 2006 by Stuart Crighton and co-founders Matthew Spacie and Hrush Bhatt as an online travel booking company with offices in Mumbai and Dubai.

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Credits: thebetterindia.com

Coronavirus cases are on the rise, which could put the labor industry at risk again. Working from home is not a viable option for those who work in industries such as retail and hospitality. In the past year, companies have laid off people who were younger workers or whose absence would make no difference. Unfortunately, they included people with disabilities.

Even before the pandemic, people with disabilities had difficulty integrating into a work culture that was still developing. Then they had to work to find that they were more than just a charity recruit. However, with the layoffs caused by the pandemic, they have returned to where they started looking to find the right job.

In this scenario in particular, it is not easy to return to the labor market or switch fields to find work. This can have serious consequences, like loss of confidence, uncertainty about your own abilities and of course financial suffering.

Although there are no national data on the unemployment rate for people with disabilities, a study by the National Center for the Promotion of Employment of People with Disabilities, “Locked Up and Left Behind” of 1,067 people with disabilities, shows that 57% experience financial difficulties due to loss of jobs.

When Vineet Saraiwala from Jamshedpur realized this, he launched the online job portal Atypical in December 2020 to help recruiters find applicants with disabilities based solely on their merit. There is also an area that sells products made by people with disabilities. Vineet fully understands the profound implications of disability as he himself suffers from retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a rare genetic disorder that causes vision loss due to breakdown or loss of cells in the retina.

“When the pandemic broke out, several people from the disabled community turned to social media platforms and WhatsApp groups for help. I can help 4-5 people on my own, but the extent of these people was so high that I would need support at an institutional level. The concept of working from home exacerbated the problem and the training or aftercare of the disabled became a growing problem. Thanks to Atypical, job seekers can post their profile instead of relying solely on someone’s goodwill” – Vineet told The Better India.

Vineet was ready for it, he said. His goal was to uncover each person’s stories in detail while focusing on their references. Finding talent wasn’t as difficult as living up to their profiles. He then used social media and a strong network of NGOs operating in the arena across India to spread the word. The tedious process took almost nine months.

Vineet said we did everything from taking a decent photo to translating written bio-data into native languages to bridging the communication gap over the phone. At the time of our launch, there were 200 applicants listed on our website and that number has grown to 400. There are 20 categories or industries listed on the portal, including singing, dancing, photography, sign language interpreting, physiotherapy and magic, etc.

Meanwhile, recruiters arrived in decent numbers too, and Biswajeet, a masseur with visual impairment, was deployed on the first day of launch. He organized an independent therapy session in Mumbai.

Recruiters need to fill in their information. If the person is nervous or uncomfortable talking to the recruiters, Vineet and his team act as the go-between. Sometimes they even help job seekers find a better salary package, as in the case of Sheetal, a hearing impaired person in Nagpur. She wrapped up a magic show for Tokyo Edelweiss.

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Credits: economictimes.indiatimes.com

ZipRecruiter an Online job market applied to go public via a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
Founded in 2010, the company is developing an online marketplace for employers and job seekers and competes with LinkedIn.

The listing plan is expected to capitalize on the booming market as proven by the solid beginnings of games company Roblox and South Korean e-commerce company Coupang.

ZipRecruiter hired Goldman Sachs Group and JPMorgan Chase in December to lead preparations for an IPO.

The Santa Monica based company will trade under the symbol “ZIP” when it goes public, the company said in an approval document.

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Credits: theverge.com

It seems almost every big tech company is working on a clubhouse-style social audio feature – Twitter’s Spaces feature is rolling out, Facebook would create one, Spotify would create one, Mark Cuban had one, even Slack is getting started. But now the idea of a shared audio room has come full circle, which began in the clubhouse largely as an exclusive club for tech venture capitalists and elites.

LinkedIn said in a statement to TechCrunch that they are doing some initial testing to create a unique audio experience tied to our professional identity and they are exploring how they can bring audio to other areas of LinkedIn, such as events and groups, to give their members even more opportunities to connect with their community.

LinkedIn has already worked to become a target for creators with tools like a new Creator Mode that marks you as a LinkedIn content creator on your profile. One clubhouse-like feature actually seems to fit the bill perfectly.

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