“TO every disadvantage,” says the American philanthropist, W. Clement Stone, “there is a corresponding advantage.”
The coronavirus pandemic is yet to be over, but it has changed and continues to change our lives in significant ways. The challenge now is for us to strive to accommodate the positive changes the pandemic has espoused.
Before the pandemic, online transaction of businesses has taken root globally. But according to Bloomberg, the American communications technology giant, Zoom Video Communications Inc. reported that the number of users of Zoom’s flagship video conferencing app surged from 200 million people on April 1, 2020, to 300 million users on April 21, 2020. Daily users of the application rose by 50 per cent in three weeks due to coronavirus outbreak!
In the education sector, online activities also surged. COVID-19 resulted in shutdown of schools across the world, taking 1.2 billion children out of the classroom. According to a World Bank brief titled Remote Learning, EdTech and COVID-19, large-scale, national efforts to utilise technology in support of remote learning, distance education and online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic had emerged and evolved quickly.
As a result of the coronavirus, many schools quickly became ‘virtual’.
In another publication by the World Economic Forum on April 29, 2020, the forum asserted that COVID-19 pandemic has changed education forever, noting that the sector has “changed dramatically, with the distinctive rise of e-learning, whereby teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms.”
This new digital development calls for proper adoption into our lives and for sustainability. In so doing, a few hurdles need to be scaled.
First, those who are averse to technological changes for fear it will wrench power out of their hands or render them jobless – must be put at bay.
If a job can be done in the comfort of one’s home, as exemplified during the lockdowns, and transmitted to the office online, why should the manager insist on dragging the employee every day to the office tens of miles away?
Secondly, there needs to be basic enabling infrastructure such as regular power supply and access to affordable internet data to support this emerging virtual meetings and transactions.
Online learning, according to another study, “has been shown to increase retention of information, and takes less time.”
Virtual meetings and transactions also save money, energy, the environment and other scarce resources.
We can only imagine the amount of petrol and engine oil that would have been saved if half of the commuter vehicles that take our workers to work every day were not put on the road.
Change, they say, is the only permanent thing in life, and contrary to the notion that life is survival of the fittest, the animals and plants that really survive are those that adapt to changes.
So, let us adapt to this new life on virtual platforms.