EXCLUSIVE | Dr Bijaya Kumar Sahoo, SAI International Education Group: To uphold the majesty of education [Year-Ender 2020]

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Dr. Bijaya Kumar Sahoo, Founder & Mentor, SAI International Education Group, Advisor cum Working President, Odisha Adarsha Vidyalaya Sangathan, Govt of Odisha, is a Harvard alumnus who holds the ambition to build a better India through Education.  Dr Sahoo has been honoured with the lifetime achievement award for ‘Bringing Innovation in Learning’, ‘Odisha Living Legend Award’ and ‘Achievers of Odisha’ by the Times of India.

In this exclusive piece, he writes about how 2020 disrupted the education sector, his thoughts on the National Education Policy, and the need for digital adoption.


2020 saw a different world not just in terms of word economy, tourism, technology, and health but it also disrupted the education scenario. Schools around the globe went for an unknown and unseen shut down with an open-ended question of “when to re-open schools?”

The year 2020 was a year of learning, unlearning, and re-learning all that was existing but not abundant in terms of technology. It was also a year of understanding and realizing the  clarion  call of nature. And how, with determination and the indomitable human spirit, we came back and combated the adversities of nature.

The way forward in education

This pandemic has affected us all in unexpected and surprising ways. We are aware that getting used to the new normal with established routines thrown into complete disarray hasn’t been easy at all.

It is a fact that the pandemic has disrupted every sector and education has been the one adversely impaired. Without brooding over the adverse effects of the pandemic, we need to use this disruption as an opportunity to prepare the generations to come to handle the uncertainty.

Education unhindered

The same year COVID19 reared its ugly head, the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 was announced with clear guidelines. But, schools and the state’s education had come to a halt overnight. 

There was a shift in the delivery system for unhindered education to be provided, virtual online classes came up. Revamping the syllabus, drawing up fresh lesson plans, getting acquainted with technology to act as an interface between the teacher and the students so that uninterrupted learning could take place.

There will be a paradigm shift in the entire education sector as it returns to implementing NEP2020. 

Experiential learning

Augmenting the learnings of students with recorded classes and creating peer groups for collaborative learning. Technology alone has enabled the execution of virtual classrooms, drastically transforming the dynamics and learning in the education system across the globe. 

Today, the chalkboard, books, teacher-classroom context stands changed, making way for online classrooms and customized ways of learning for both the students and teachers. 

Learning no longer remains about memorizing; rather, it is more focused on experiential learning. Students now benefit by approaching a topic and having a detailed idea even before the topic has been taken up in the class. 

Teachers now need to remain at apace to incorporate technological development, and be to equipped to resolve the questions being put up.

New perspective in 2021

In 2021 There will be an integration of technology of imparting lessons online by using Google, Microsoft, WhatsApp, Zoom, and many other platforms, for learning to continue. 

Teachers need the training to adapt to technology for better classroom management, planning the class structure, preparing the content, and working on evaluation and assessments.

Schools will have to take into account learning management and teaching management systems efficiently to revisit customization and tracking of individual learning levels: Dr Bijaya Kumar Sahoo

Institutions have to re-look at their physical and technical infrastructure to be able to deliver quality education. Competency mapping of faculty would be requiring special attention as a part of training for the teachers. 

Schools will have to take into account learning management and teaching management systems efficiently to revisit customization and tracking of individual learning levels. The systems now respond to the needs of the students. 

The programs in artificial intelligence are aggressively improving and expanding. While teachers deliver maximum learning in a whole class setting with the help of artificial intelligence tailored learning can be delivered and teachers will supplement AI Lessons. 

Blended learning

Going forward, blended learning will be a part of the new normal as a new path is laid to the educational environment worldwide. Learning will shift from memorizing to understanding. More emphasis will be given to the 21st-Century Skill development strategies. Teacher’s education and training would be designed to improve the quality of education.

Assessment will be more on understanding than on rote learning. Some of such learnings we will have to work on in the short term, that is, in 2021 and on others over the long term to level the loss to the learnings of our students. 

Online education and blended learning will stay on from now. There will be a differentiation between, digitally literate and digitally illiterate teachers as well as institutions. As an immediate measure, institutions have to plan for timely syllabus completion while preparing the students for the board as well as final examinations.  

Holistic teaching

As far as activities, a wide range of curriculum trips, athletics and exchange programs, club activities, etc. are concerned the same has been made available online by designated activity experts virtually. 

As educators, we need to stay committed to our cause of holistic development throughout lockdown. All through this period students have been learning through the online platforms and also participated in programs for co-curricular activities. 

The lockdown was a forced vacation period for the students where the Art, Dance, and Sports teachers kept designing engagement activities for students virtually.

2021 will see a surge in mental health issues as the children were pushed into online learning and social isolation, leading to depression. more than 32 crore students have been affected from the student population worldwide due to the lockdown across nations: Dr Bijaya Kumar Sahoo

Mental health 

2021 will see a surge in mental health issues as the children were pushed into online learning and social isolation, leading to depression. more than 32 crore students have been affected from the student population worldwide due to the lockdown across nations. 

Schools need to stay in touch with students by creating emotional-well-being connections not just for students but also for parents and teachers.

Focus on 21st-century skills 

Focus on instilling the 21st-century skills in children is going to be a true game-changer in 2021. We do appreciate that this pandemic situation has cast some new responsibilities towards your child. Educators, parents, and learners across the globe are dealing with the unique situation that we find ourselves in. 

As we always believe that the school, family, and child care is a three-tier continuous developmental process and hence they should work in unison for the development of the child. 

In this new milestone year of 2021, we hope to receive continuous support, as each one of us is a torchbearer to uphold the majesty of education in the lives of all our children. 

Your thoughts, please