COVID-19: Education disrupted and lessons learned

How has the pandemic impacted your business plans?

At EuroKids International, our primary focus was to ensure the safety and well-being of our students, teachers and staff. Having ensured that, we moved our focus towards ensuring continued education during the disruption caused due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While we have been heavily reliant in imparting learning in a physical environment with teacher’s being at the heart of our efforts in engaging student and technology as an enabler, we have altered our business plans at present to being 100% technology enabled to take our classrooms & business delivery online.

Once the lockdown was announced, every member of the organization across the country swiftly adapted to the new means of imparting learning primarily to ensure that our children’s education is not impacted. Our teachers have played a very important role in helping transition our pedagogy delivery from offline to an online model, they have gone beyond their routine to bring learning home. Our constant endeavour to invest in adopting to innovative digital and tech practices in the category has now come in great use as we’ve deployed them successfully schools and now soon will be transitioning the same model across our chain of pre-schools.

For our K-12 children, that is the mainline schools – EuroSchool and Billabong High, we kicked off live classes through video conferencing and recorded sessions for the new academic year. This learning has been further supplemented with digital textbooks, Q&A sessions and home assignments, powered by proprietary Learning Management System (LMS) Argus and Billabox. To ensure learning continues for our children in early years we rolled out daily activities to engage with them via our FaceBook channel and Pre-School Buddy App. 

From your perspective, what are the biggest disruptions that have come to the fore?

The pandemic Covid-19 has not only disrupted every business across the country, but also the education segment. The academic year was nearly to end in March when the lockdown was enforced and this did cause some anxiety amongst parents and students. We laud the Education Ministry’s directives for their initiatives to alleviate students’ exam anxieties as well as their approach for the coming academic year.

However, in our case, the disruption caused by COVID 19 has only lead to opening new avenues in ways we deliver learning to our students. This includes enabling new technologies to make learning more engaging, enabled by our expert educators to seamlessly blend Digitally Enhanced Textbooks, recorded lectures, home assignments & Student Collaboration with digital assessments we will ensure active tracking of learning milestones. We are now swiftly transitioning into creating a personalised learning experience which will create Engaged, Self-motivated and Independent Learners.

Our business model is fast evolving in multiple ways and with completely new perspective that we would have not thought of otherwise. We are already in the process of laying out plans that will include tailoring our Business Plans and should be able to develop a process framework that will be beneficial to all our stakeholders – students, teachers, and administrative staff at every school. We are closely following advisory on post COVID school opening scenarios in India and internationally to look at possibilities on how to structure related activities along with regular academics going forward. 

What are the measures taken by the business to ensure continuity in this challenging milieu?

The EuroKids International family comprises of over 10,000 teachers and administrative staff and 2000+ employees, and an 1100+ national franchisee network. Once the lockdown was announced, every team member adopted to technology to ensure business continuity. Within 72 hours of lock down announcement we were able to transform to a fully tech enabled work from home culture using Workplace by Facebook, that we have been using for over a year now for all our internal engagements. Within a week of lockdown, we developed training modules, that were held at the beginning of the entire COVID disruption. The training comprised of how to deal with technology for teaching, the assessment process and also on how to conduct classes online with tech tools. Our teachers then went on to begin taking virtual classes and have been successful in creating a positive, ongoing learning environment for their students. Our proprietary LMS tools Argus & Billabox coupled with Zoom Live helped us to ensure learning continues for our students. What really helped us is our efforts in adopting to technology to assist our growing business network over the last 18 months, it really came in handy when making switch to a COVID hit scenario. All we had to do was have reinforced our apps and platforms for heavier usage by our students, parents and partners.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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