Mr. Pavitra Gautam
As the outbreak of Covid-19 grows and lockdown continues, there is no doubt that the economy is in shambles. Along with many other sectors that are reeling due to the ongoing pandemic, the education sector has not been an exception. The current situation has forced businesses and service providers to adopt new methods of operation and the education sector have begun to rejig the way they operate as well. In this vein, NEF made an effort to understand the current situation better from the perspective of Pavitra Gautam, CEO at Karkhana and prepared a brief excerpt.
Karkhana has been trying to adapt to the current situation. We are now organizing webinars and online meets with school leaders to support them. Till date, we have organized a total of 10 webinars with 53 schools where 51 school leaders and 130 school teachers have taken part.
Besides this, Karkhana is now focusing on generating contents from internal and external means to help people in this uncertain period. Currently, we are publishing blogs on our website with regards to the coronavirus. These blogs are generally aimed to help with the resources for schools and to keep the learning going. We have provided different online resources for school leaders, free online learning materials for kids (which contains DIY science and DIY fun activities), and various other contents to support mental and emotional wellbeing during the current crisis.
For all of this, we are trying to increase public outreach through Facebook and other websites. We have opted for applications such as Hangouts and Zoom to maintain the continuous touch with all our collaborators.
Impacts of the Pandemic:
There are a lot of quick changes taking place in our plans currently, as we had not anticipated the current situation. We had planned and prepared for a big ‘Karkhana Mela’ for 2 months, however, it has now been postponed. This has caused a lot of fallouts in the organization. For Karkhana, this would have been one of the most appropriate time to start new sessions, teacher training programs and KIC classes; but all of them are halted amidst the current situation. We have shifted all our works to virtual means as all members are now compelled to work from home. However, this has resulted in a lack of a communal work environment.
- A suitable time to reach amongst parents, kids and stakeholders.
- Due to the current engagements and mutual coordination with the stakeholders, there is an opportunity to strengthen the relationship with them.
- Experiment with our online and digital platforms to provide our services, which will help us in figuring out what we can do in the future with such platforms.
- Most of the organizational data, interactions, meetings, interviews, and other official information are also being recorded and preserved. All of this can be used as a reference for any uncertain future scenarios.
- Following up and coordinating is tough as all the meetings and interactions are done virtually.
- From a sales perspective, this would have been a very convenient time for us. However, amidst the coronavirus, it has been very challenging for us.
- New users using digital platforms for the first time have a hard time with Google Hangouts and other digital platforms which have made coordinating even more difficult.
- Weak connectivity has been a downside as works are often halted or disturbed due to it.
Future prospects and the areas which need to be addressed
The government should be very careful about the economic impacts that the Covid-19 will have. We need to look for ways in which we can reduce the expenses while looking for alternative sources of income. The best way to save jobs and keep everyone’s faith in the economy alive is by bringing the government and the private sector together for collaborations.
The above Expert Speak edition is based on the conversation with Mr. Pavitra Gautam. He is the Chief Executive Officer at Karkhana and President of Nepalese Young Entrepreneur Forum.