Manorama Online summit looks at post-pandemic digital education

By P Sanilkumar

Manorama Online

Kottayam, Kerala State, India


Techspectations, the digital summit of Manorama Online, redefined Malayalis’ outlook toward news. Its fourth edition, Techspectations Educate, was presented as Kerala’s first digital marketing summit on October 23, 2021 — Manorama Online’s gift to the first digital state in the country. The focus of the summit was: “How will this change affect education and the market?” 

The COVID-19 pandemic has kept more than 120 crore students away from classrooms. The education system, too, underwent a drastic change, with digital platforms and e-learning becoming the norm. Children spent hours in front of mobile phones, laptops, and desktops as classes went online.

An impressive line-up of technology experts shared their ideas at the summit, attended by students, parents, educationalists, teachers, school and college authorities, researchers, scholars, government officials, heads of Edtech firms, platform developers, tech gadget-makers, Internet service providers, digital publication companies, and others.

The summit reflected on the digital revolution — powered by modern technology — that kept the pandemic-hit world going. It discussed the innovative technology, prospects, and challenges of digital education.

Each session at the summit reiterated that digital education has opened up a space for infinite opportunities and ideas, in addition to ushering in a data revolution. The participants were unanimous in their view that the road ahead for education will be a digital-based hybrid model.

The fourth edition of Techspectations, EDUCATE, looked at how learning had been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fourth edition of Techspectations, EDUCATE, looked at how learning had been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Launching the campaign

The campaign for the summit commenced in September 2021. The Thought Leader Fellowship (TLF) Awards campaign was carried out in September and October. A special team from Manorama visited schools and colleges and organised debates. Print, radio, television, digital, and social media platforms were extensively used to create awareness of the summit and TLF Awards.

The preliminary screening for the TLF Awards was held in 250 educational institutions across Kerala, followed by 53 establishments in the second phase.

The final round had 30 contestants each from four sections — graduates, graduate students, teachers, and academic experts. The jury selected 15 contestants each, who were nominated for the online poll that selected the winner.

The voting spanned 20 days and saw the participation of 36,292 people. State General Education Principal Secretary APM Mohammed Hanish declared the winner, and the first prize in each section carried a purse of Rs 50,000 (US$2,893).

The commencement of the registration for Techspectations was aggressively publicised through print, radio, television, digital, social media, apps, outdoor advertisements, and trade campaign platforms. In addition to newspaper reports, articles on the summit and speakers were published in Manorama Online, Onmanorama, and Manorama News Web sites.

The digital promise

Delivering the keynote at the summit, Union Minister for Education Dharmendra Pradhan called for bridging the digital divide to ensure equal online education opportunities for all students. Digital education has opened up new avenues for teachers and students, and it will usher in a sea change in the country’s education sector in the coming years, he said.

Accepting the National Education Policy will fuel India’s growth to become a superpower, said Dr. C N Ashwath Narayan, Karnataka’s minister for high education and information technology.

The number of beneficiaries of online education in the country will increase eight-fold in three years, predicted Dr. Chenraj Roychand, chancellor of Jain Deemed-to-be University. The innovators of online education coming up with new technologies will fuel the growth of the sector, he added.

Enthusiastic response 

The eight-hour summit was designed in such a way that the participants remained engaged. Points were granted to each digital intervention, and Amazon gift vouchers were presented to those who won more points.

Manorama Online, Onmanorama, and Manorama News covered the event live. The next day’s Malayala Manorama reported the event on its front page, besides dedicating a full page inside. Google search for Techspectations returned about 12,600 results.

The summit also ensured excellent business. It received direct sponsorship from Jain University and attracted online and hospitality partners. The summit opened up new business opportunities in the education sector and helped bring students and teachers closer to Manorama Online.

The first Techspectations was held as part of Manorama Online’s 20th anniversary in 2016 and was Kerala’s first national digital meet. The second edition was in 2018, and the 2020 and 2021 summits held virtually received overwhelming support.

About P Sanilkumar

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