Apart from the issues being discussed threadbare from various angles, representatives of some of the multinational technology companies announced launch of free of cost digital platforms for students, teachers and managements of schools to enhance their experiences in the digital space and also collaborate and share their best practices with other institutions across borders.
Photos By : Life In Chandigarh
So, while Garima Babbar, representing Adobe Systems India Pvt, Ltd., briefly spelled out how their India specific programme ‘Adobe Digital Disha’ will enhance the digital experience of educators and students and improve their ICT (information and communication technology) skills, Vaibhav Kumar Srivastava from CISCO Systems (India) Pvt. Ltd. explained the broad contours of ‘Cisco Digital Schools Network’ aimed at providing a platform for learning without limits and borders.
Among other instant outcomes emerging out of the two-day deliberations was Vandana Rellan Juneja, on behalf of MacMillan Education, offering the company’s CSR funds on an appeal from Kulbhushan Sharma of National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) to modernise education being provided to poor children in hundreds of affordable budget private schools across the country which were charging next to nothing from students.
Many constructive suggestions from the audiences were also taken on record, including one about creating from CSR funds pooled together an expansive common campus in each urban area equipped with all modern teaching aids like ICT labs, science labs, libraries, etc which can be accessed by teachers and students from public and lesser private schools which are unable to provide these facilities in their own campuses.
Impact Of Tech Tools
Right through the two-day deliberations, there was animated discussion on the impact of technology tools in learning outcomes, with an entire final session on the concluding day being devoted to the subject. While it was generally accepted that technology is a major force multiplier and marked a paradigm shift in school education, most participants felt that technology companies should not rush schools to blindly adopt new age technologies. It was also stressed that technologies being developed should be easy on teachers to comprehend, enjoy and use for enhancing experiences of students. Technologies should compliment and supplement the engagement of teachers with students and not be aimed at replacing them.
In fact, Vandana Rellan Juneja, Associate Director, Marketing & New Initiative, MacMillan Education, while recommending that schools exercise utmost diligence before adopting technologies to ensure that these are suited to their requirements, quoted a study by Harvard University which found that no amount of technology infusion in education had brought about any proven significant improvement in learning outcomes.
Changing Role Of Teachers
The role of teachers, in the light of the context changing around them, came up for special discussion with near unanimity around the thought that teachers need to reposition themselves from being just information sharers to become influencers and motivators. Kartik Bharat Ram, Chairman, CII Regional Committee on Education & Deputy MD, SRF Ltd., said all educators, just as doctors and other professionals, need to constantly upgrade their knowledge and skills to remain relevant. He forcefully stressed on the need to lessen the academic burden on children to leave them with enough time to enjoy their childhood.
The participants in the summit emphasised that the whole paradigm of assessment needs a change. It needs to be instant so that it becomes a learning and diagnostic tool, rather than a barometer of judging a student’s knowledge. This will help identify the gaps in learning of each child there and then which can be plugged with extra efforts before proceeding further. It is here that multiple choice questions (MCQs) can be of great help.
It was felt that learning can become really meaningful if the focus shifts from an instructional approach to an experiential approach. Educators must think whether the jobs for which we are preparing the children will still exist in the next decade with the pace at which technologies like artificial intelligence and augmented reality are progressing threatening to make many activities redundant in the not so distant future. A thought was also shared that as we make our learning more experiential, we also need to break the physical barriers in school settings. The designing concepts in schools need to change from rows of rooms and a corridor to more innovative ones which help promote openness, and thus thinking and reasoning.
Use Of Collective Intelligence
Panellists also advocated use of collective intelligence of various stake holders to make a real difference in making education qualitative. It was agreed that nobody can work in isolation. Students, parents, teachers, school managements, researchers, governments and society at large all have to work in unison to arrive at best practices which can then be propagated widely and quickly with the use of technology.
An area of concern to educators and parents alike was the all pervading fear around the misuse by students of technology tools meant for enhancement of their learning experiences. Experts agreed that it was a genuine concern but all of us need to learn to live with these for the time being. There was a likelihood that with use of these new age gadgets and technologies maturing with time, these fears may dissipate. There was a suggestion from one of the panellists that parents should convert this fear into trust by engaging with their children more closely at every step of their learning curve.
A special report, ‘Learning outcomes in school education – at the core of building a knowledge economy’, compiled by professional services company KPMG, knowledge partners to the CII School Summit, was released in the inaugural session on Tuesday by Punjab Governor and UT Chandigarh Administrator V.P. Singh Badnore. The Governor emphasised on bringing greater focus on unleashing the vast pool of talent among rural children by providing them opportunities equivalent to those available to their urban counterparts. He also sought the indulgence of the education sector in deciding the medium of education to be adopted in India – whether it is to be a single language, as adopted by China (Mandarin) or dual language formula considering that the regional languages are equally important. Haryana Education & Languages Minister Ram Bilas Sharma urged the industry to focus more on education to make a big positive difference to society.
The participants in various sessions :
I. Panel discussion on Quality in School Education – Opportunities & Challenges
Moderator : Amit Kaushik, Chairman, CII School Summit 2018 & CEO, Australian Council for Education Research (ACER)
1. Dheera Khandelwal, Addl. Chief Secretary, School Education, Haryana
2. Dr. Jagpreet Singh, Headmaster, Punjab Public School, Nabha
3. Sanyogita Sharma, Director, Manav Rachna International Schools
4. Ameeta Mulla Wattal, Principal, Springdales
5. Neeraj Manchanda, Partner, NMA Designs
6. H.S. Mamik, President, Independent Schools Association, Chandigarh & Chairman, Vivek High Schools
II. Panel discussion on The Importance of Setting Clear Learning Outcomes & Using Systematic Assessments
Moderator : Anustup Naik
1. Dr. Mee Young Han, Senior Research Fellow, Australian Council for Educational Research (India)
2. Poonam Singh Jamwal, CEO, Extramarks Foundation & Director, Extramarks Education India (P) Ltd.
3. Dr. Neeta Bali, Director Principal, GD Goenka World School
4. C.P. Vishwanath, CEO, Karadi Path Education Company Pvt. Ltd.
5. Sahil Kapoor, Vice President, Ebix Smartclass
III. Panel Discussion on Role of the Teacher
Moderator : Dr. Jagpreet Singh, Headmaster, PPS, Nabha
1. Kanak Gupta, Vice President, Seth MR Jaipuria Schools
2. Manish Kumar Jindal, CEO, National Accreditation Board for Education & Training (NABET)
3. Arunabh Singh, Director, Nehru World School
4. Charu Malhotra, Director, KPMG
5. Kavita C. Das, Principal, St. John’s High School
6. Reekrit Serai, Director, Satluj Public School
1V. Panel Discussion on CSR in School Education
Moderator: Vijay Chadda
1. Parth Shah, Founder, Centre for Civil Society
2. Monica Malhotra Kandhari, MD, MBD Group
3. Kulbhushan Sharma, President, National Independent Schools Alliance
4. Parminder Gill, Co-founder, Edusports
5. Sofi Zahoor, Chairman, CII Chandigarh Council & Senior Director India – HR & Operations, Quark Express Publishing R&D (India) Pvt. Ltd.
V. Panel Discussion on Education Revolution through Technology Innovation
Moderator : Nirav Khambhati, Partner, Kaizen PE
1. Milind Shahane, CEO, Tata Class Edge
2. Pradeep Narayanan, Head, Mind Champion Learning Systems Ltd.
3. Garima Babbar, Head Programs, South Asia – Education & Skill Development, Adobe Systems India Pvt. Ltd.
4. Vandana Rellan Juneja, Associate Director – Marketing & New Initiative, MacMillan Education
5. Vaibhav Kumar Srivastava, Head, Business Development (Education), India & SAARC DTO, CISCO Systems (India) Pvt. Ltd.
6. Robin Aggarwal, Co-founder, Learning Paths School