Budget version of 'digi-school' in offing
July 2014

Budget version of ‘digi-school’ in offing

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Chetan Mahajan
Chetan Mahajan

Chetan Mahajan, President, HCL Learning

Chetan Mahajan, President, HCL Learning in an interaction with Elets News Network shares how strong content enhances the use of hardware in the classroom for effective learning in smart classrooms

What are the learning solutions that HCL provide to the education sector?

We provide solutions in two categories. Teaching, which is the first category, is sold to schools to be used in the classrooms. These are teaching aids which enable a teacher to impart quality education. This is typically a digitised curriculum. An entire curriculum of a CBSE or an ICSE or a state board would be digitised and made available to the school teacher for their subject and for their grade level. And the teacher is able to use it in the classroom along with a white board. The second product is a self-study version. Here, the students are able to take the content home and install it on their PC or computer and study it.

What is a smart class?

At its core is content. It is a critical piece of a smart class because that’s the true value. We can always have a classroom with a bunch of hardware, with whiteboard, projector, PC, speakers etc but if you don’t have good content then it defeats the purpose. We actually call it a ‘digi-school’. The content involves mapping the entire curriculum that is taught in that particular school. So a teacher can use effective content rather than the traditional model of blackboard or chalk and talk.

Technology movement is fast becoming imperative for schools, has it touched every class and every school in India?

No, absolutely not. If you look at Indian schools, there are three categories.The government schools, which are free, there are relatively low price private schools and there are relatively more expensive public schools. The schools which access this con- tent are largely the more expensive schools and, to some extent, the government schools because the government has been giving contract for these kind of solutions. But the lower end of the private schools is largely untouched due to high cost factor.

Any plans to extend your solutions to these schools?

We are in the process of offering a budget version of our ‘digi-school’ product, which will also enable these schools to get an access to it, because the ironic thing is that these schools are the ones which need such products the most. These are the schools which are not adhering to government pay scale level and they pay the teachers very less salary. So quality of teaching is an issue. The availability of teachers is another factor. So these are the schools which can actually benefit from our product, but unfortunately, they are the ones which can’t afford it.

Will technology substitute teachers in classroom? Not at all. What technology is actually doing is allowing teachers to do lot more than they were able to do earlier. The teacher is indispensible. Schools need to understand the place for technology and should be able to ensure that technology is used as an aid in teaching. But there is no question of any mechanical device substituting a teacher in classroom.

Do you have training programmes for teachers?

HCL is one of the preferred shortlisted vendors of CBSE. We are authorised to do Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) training not only in India, but also overseas and we do it on a large scale. Last year, we trained more than 10,000 teachers across India.

What is the reach of HCL learning?

We are present across India. We operate in countries in Africa, Middle East and South Asia. We are holding talks with few entities in Europe and US as well.

Expansion plans for the next three to five years.

We are focussed on the K-12 sector to segments which are under-served till now. With our digi-school model, we are going to engage with the government of various other countries across the world.

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