Online Education, Fee Financing To Propel Modern-Day Education

Rohit has a decade of experience in banking industry, and is an Ex-DBS, Singapore. He is the alumnus of IITB and Stanford and has a history of working in the Credit & Liquidity Risk section of banking industry at DBS, Singapore.

The COVID-19 outbreak in the country brought an unprecedented crisis across all the sectors of the economy and the education sector was no exception. Uncertainty still looms about the opening of the schools, colleges and other educational institutes. Several small to medium budget private schools were even forced to cease their operations due to the on-going financial crisis. The financial crisis also forced thousands of children to quit their education in the middle of the session.

To counter the ongoing crisis in the education sector, most schools have started imparting education through various online medium. The National Education Policy 2020 also lays emphasis on the growing need for online education in India.

Educational institutions and universities have started conducting research on the benefits of digital education in the country. These studies aim at finding the most preferred format of e-content while minimizing the risk of student device addiction.

Initiatives like DIKSHA, SWAY-AM, training for teachers, creation of virtual labs for students to practice their theoretical knowledge, availability of courses in various languages (especially regional languages), online assessments & examinations, digital repository, content creation & dissemination, blended models of learning, creating a dedicated unit for digital education etc. are right and timely steps to strengthen the digital education infrastructure across the country.

Despite all these initiatives, there are a lot of challenges while implementing online education system across the country. Challenges like lack of computer literacy, access to digital resources & tools, lack of trained teachers, a limited number of resources available to conduct an online examination and several others were considered during the formation of the NEP 2020 however the solutions to these problems will gradually come with time.

In order to reach a feasible solution, the government will have to involve private players in implementing the online education system across the country. With private players coming into play, it can ensure that more resources are deployed to impart quality online education to even the remotest areas of the country.

In order to reach a feasible solution, the government will have to involve private players in implementing the online education system across the country

Besides this, healthy competition among the private players will also make online education affordable which is a prerequisite, if the Education of All initiative is to be fulfilled. However, it is important not only to make both online education class-room education affordable and accessible.

In today's time, the most schools have upgraded their infrastructure so as to provide overall development to the children. This has raised the cost for the schools too and this cost is ultimately passed on to the parents. Therefore, the need of the hour is to bring in a solution which can create a win-win situation not only for the schools but also for the parents or guardians.

Various financing options are available for the parents to support their wards' education but they are quite tedious and time-consuming. Most parents do not have time or necessary skills to do through the long processes of these options. Parents and parents' associations across the country have been raising demand for a fee waiver, however, the governments didn't agree to it. If this would have happened on, it could have further added to the woes of education sector and might have led to the closure of many educational institutes.

With so much uncertainty prevailing and too many ongoing issues, the school fee financing model comes as the most viable solution. Various media reports have revealed that parents are unhappy with the schools as they are charging fees despite school closure while schools are battling the tough financial situation due to the lack of enough and timely capital in-flow. Thus, the fee financing model acts as a bridge between the two and give them a sigh of relief.

Since the fee financing companies pay the entire year's fee in advance, the schools get ample funds for the whole academic session while parents get the benefit of zero interest and zero cost EMI. Therefore, this new age financing solution comes as the one-stop solution for both the sides.

With this model in place, the schools can leverage the funds to plan out their expenses in a managed way whereas parents are not forced to compromise with their kid's education. This model not only helps in infusing funds in the education sector but will also help lowering down the school dropout rate. School fee financing can also help in increasing the enrolment as parents will not be burdened with the increased education expenditures.

Fee financing model coupled with online education are ready to define the future of the education sec-tor. Online education in the country has picked up in recent times. From schools to higher education institutes, all of them are now working to enhance their digital infrastructure so as to provide continuous quality education to all their students.

Fee financing model creates a synergy effect in the education eco-system and eases the pressure on parents as well as schools. There-fore, while accepting the other new norms before opening the schools, the schools should join hands with the fee financing companies so as to make parents aware of this option so that they can avail this facility to en-sure uninterrupted quality education to their wards.

To conclude; in order to drive modern-day education and for effective implementation of the NEP 2020, the government must indulge with players which can help in bridging the financial as well as the digital gap across the education sector of the country.