With COVID-19 onset, the integration of technology is necessary and inevitable in today’s classrooms. The digital transformation of education has been heralded as a vehicle of change; a great equalising force with the potential to drive social reform. Given this emphasis on technology in recent years, and the value it has been accorded as almost a silver bullet for improving education, it is unsurprising that India has adopted a nation-wide policy for the integration of technology in schools. Its purpose is to bridge the digital divide amongst students of various socioeconomic and other geographical barriers. For technology integration in education to have a real impact on learning outcomes, and for this digital transformation to effectively enhance the learning experience of students, the role of the teacher is pivotal.
Emphasizing on the role of teachers in the digital era, digitalLEARNING Magazine in association with Dr. C. V. Raman University, Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh organised virtual “School Leadership Summit, Chhattisgarh” on 21st August 2020.
Stakeholders from the Chhattisgarh education sector participated in the full day conclave. The discussion revolved around the use of technology in schools, implementation of new National Education Policy, bridging the digital divide and many more. In the inaugural session Dr Ravi Gupta, CEO & Editor-in-Chief, Elets Technomedia welcomed the eminent speakers.
Santosh Choubey, Chairman & Managing Director-AISECT Ltd. ; Chancellor-Dr. C. V. Raman University said “We must start educating students on their own languages. We must empower students for working for society and learning new things and prepare them for enterprises. Holistic development of students must be our focus.”
To provide emphasis to book reading, Choubey also said “A Pustak Yatra was orgainised with over 1000 schools and skill education component. “
He also said “Our regulatory bodies have to change their perspectives regarding any institution. The qualitative part must be given more weightage and every university is different. My vision is global and we have tie-ups with over many universities outside India.”
“There is a great digital divide in the state. Students don’t have gadgets to study online. The cluster of schools is a great idea in a state like Chhattisgarh. Teacher trainings is very important to grow our educational institutions.”
He also said “The crisis can be turned as an opportunity, with new innovation and technology education sector can change its dynamics and open doors of opportunity for many.”
Dr. MVV Prasada Rao, Director, CBSE (Present at Centre of Excellence, Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh) said “The NEP has brought all the new things and many schools will be benefitted from the new policy. We must focus on quality and vocational education from early age of students. There are full of employment in India and we need to identify it. We must prepare students according to the industry needs.”
Emphasizing on skill education, he said “Students must be taught real life skills as skilled ones are getting huge pay packages. The NEP has provisions to help the economy of the country to grow.”
Over education in Chhattisgarh, he said “Chhattisgarh is a different state and leadership is also different. The students are also different in every city and things have to be redefined in a state like Chhattisgarh. The Lifeskills, soft skills, behavioural skills, must be taught to students. We are dealing with different type of people. “
Dr. S. Srikanta Swamy, Academic Consultant, Research & Analysis Wing, National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC ) said “Quality cannot come all of sudden. The selection of good leaders must be done carefully. Good leaders bring quality education and can develop a culture within the institutions. The quality of curriculum is very important for students.”
“Quality and Pedagogy of teaching is very important. We have to believe in functional education and leadership plays an important role. The rural standard cannot be compared with urban ones. The best practice is local specific, “ he added.
Over NEP, he said “The new policy focuses on arts, culture and languages. The NEP is talking about merit basis leadership selection. Universities must not only provide degrees but also do research for the nation.”
In the second session, the discussion was emphasized on “Future Proofing School Learning Ecosystem – Leveraging Innovation to Reskilling”.
Lt. Col Avinash Singh (Veteran), Head of the Institution, Rajkumar College, Raipur said “The COVID crisis has pushed institutions towards digital era. However, the digital divide due to technology is widening across the nation. According to a survey, 27 pc students don’t have access to gadgets. There are many worrying aspects and the government must focus on bridging the gaps.”
He also said, “it’s a bitter truth, the quality of education is provided by the private schools and govt must support them.”
Over the NEP, he said “The policy will bring many new changes in the education system but the implementation will be a huge challenge. Things cannot be changed overnight; it will take time to happen.”
Arup K Mukhopadhyay, CEO, Rungta Group of School, Bhilai said “The word we must use is ‘adaptive’. The next gen education will replace the traditional learning process. Culture plays an important role in imparting education. We need to focus on personalized learning, flexibility and prepare our students for interactive learning. Schools need to map the learning pace of students.”
He also said suddenly the classrooms have become glossy, the furniture has changed and blackboard changed to smartboard but the way of learning has not changed from decades. Now, it’s time to change the way of learning and teaching in educational institutions, he added.
Over teachers, he said “We need to focus on teacher training programmes. The National Education Policy also focuses on integration teachers’ programme. Technology can only assist the teacher but cannot replace him.”
Dr. Shruti Aeron Gupta, Director & Founder Principal, Brilliant Public Chain of Schools said “The NEP has tried to make education sector a student-centric. We need to focus on the relevance and effectiveness of education. We need to make education more meaningful for students. Learning must be celebrated and assessment ways must be changed. “
Over NEP, she said “The policy also advocates critical and designing thinking. We need to allow our students to make questions and understand new things. We must focus on the integration of education. We want students to be owners of their own education and teachers must change their mind-sets.”
She also said “Blending is the keyword the education and technology will bring children to the centre.”
Dr. P. Asokan, Principal, Delhi Public School, Raigarh said “Things have changed a lot with the onset of COVID-19 crisis. Many teachers are not acquainted to the new technology. The NEP has come as a huge relief for many schools. We need to provide proper training to teachers to conduct assessments as the proper evaluation is not happening in our classes. We need to change our way of education in schools.”
He also said “With the help of technology we can assess students better. Teachers can understand the emotional part of students but technology can’t. We need to have all-round development of students.”
He also said the technology will play an important role and blended learning should be introduced in our schools when they are re-opened.
Amol Arora, Vice-Chairman & Managing Director, Shemrock & Shemford Group of Schools, said “Pre-schools are most affected due to the crisis. Things will remain the same for pre-schools. The freedom must be continued in curriculum for students.”
Over NEP, he said “The implementation will be a huge challenge as it has to be on practical grounds. The approach of teaching and learning will different from the NEP. The focus on early education is a welcome step in the policy.”
He also said “It’s always about the children at the end of the day and the government is working with private players to improve the education sector.”
The third session of SLS, Chhattisgarh focused on “New Education Policy 2020 – Approaches, Opportunities & Challenges” .
Dr. Jawahar Surisetti, International Educationist, Adviser to Government, Smart City Expert said “The National Education Policy is one of most researched documents published by the government. It took over 4 years to publish. The policy is focused on student-centric and the Central government is trying to rectify all the mistakes in the education sector”.
Lauding the NEP, he said “The policy has created many entry and exit points for students, with credit transfers it has helped a lot. The NEP has focused to create one university in every district by 2030. It aims to bring education near children.”
Dr. Satyajit Hota, Principal, Allons Public School Bemetara Chhattisgarh said “The National Education Policy is consists of number of good policies. The GDP investment has surged to 6 pc and GER to 50 pc are the main points of NEP. Now breakfast is added for rural students with mid-day meals. The NEP has also focused to reduce dropouts. The three language system is also very important.”
He also said “Institutions must keep the focus on core content and quality of education. We must focus on 360-degree progress, holistic progress card, liberalization and equity of education.
Jayshree Nair, Principal, Brighton International School, Raipur said “For R&D government needs infra and trained teachers. According to the official statement, we have a 30:1 teacher, student ratio. We need to improve the ratio. Project-oriented learning should take place in schools. Virtual learning needs to take place in schools. The challenges will be huge in rural areas to implement NEP.”
He also said “The govt must focus on conceptual learning for students. Language can be a huge barrier for many and we need to address it. Expression can be a big issue for many students.”
He also said “Vocational education must be taught in schools. We must focus on stress free, less tutorials, Knowledge hub for our students.”
Kiranpal S. Chawla, Chairman, Career Point World School, Bilaspur said “The New Education Policy will revolutionize the education sector. The policy has also focused on early education of a child. We will have now 10 bagless days for students. There was no dignity for labour and now with NEP, students can understand the value of labour. The policy is going to be huge milestone in the education sector.”
He also said “The government has taken many initiative and we must help them. Schools must be given chance to decide the curriculum.” The myth will be broken over the education and children will be benefitted, he added.
“Teachers training will be the main focus. More and more people will aspire to become teachers”, he added.
In the post-lunch session, the discussion was focused on “Bridging the Digital & Economic Divide in Education – NEP 2020 Perspective”
Keshari Lal Varma, Vice Chancellor, Pt Ravi Shankar University, Raipur said “The NEP is focused from Primary education to Higher education. The world is moving towards technology learning. Earlier, children were asked to use e-content but the acceleration was missing. The COVID accelerated the e-learning across the country. There is a digital divide witnessed in Chhattisgarh and we are trying to bridge it.”
He also said “We are trying to provide quality education to all. We have made everything digital from last two years. We must implement the NEP effectively in the sector.”
Prof Bharat Bhaskar, Director, IIM Raipur said “The NEP focuses on overall development of a child. The higher education has the biggest challenge. We must recalibrate our thinking and restructure syllabus. For first time govt is putting up private and govt institutions on single platform. The education sector has to grab the NEP faster. However, schools require much larger financing to adapt the NEP.”
He also said “In coming days, there will be multidisciplinary universities. All the funding will be managed by a single committee which will be managed by academicians. IITs have become multidisciplinary in coming day.”
Priyanka Tripathi, Principal, Krishna Public School, Raipur said “Everything changed suddenly for teachers as they have to start teaching on digital platforms. It was a great challenge for schools in the beginning but with time they adopted it with grace. There is a huge digital gap in the state. If technology will be available for students then they will take it up.”
She also said “This divide will continue if low-cost data is not provided to students. The govt should work with the community. We have to adjust our resources for the betterment of education.
Shiladitya Ghosh, Director Principal, NH Goel World School, Raipur said “Technology has to reach to every part of the country. Teachers have to lead from the front in this pandemic and they have to discover multiple ways of teaching. The NEP has admitted that there is a learning crisis and it will form NPST for first time to upgrade teachers. The standards of teachers must be upgraded every five years.”
She also said “It is important for institutions to find out new ways to communicate with students.”
Kalpana Singh, Principal, Delhi Public School, Janjgir-Champa said “Education is equally important as food for children. Parents are not really trying to understand the use of online classes. Teachers are trying multiple ways to reach students. We tried to counsel parents over the online classes and after sometimes parents supported us. With time online classes started running smoothly.”
She also said “NEP offers to select subjects for students. This is the need of the hour that every institution must have professional counselors for students. We should motivate each other and teachers in these testing times.”
In the last session, the discussion focused on “School to Higher Education Learner Transition – Building Progressive & Innovative Future of Students.”
Prof. P. K Naik, Pro Vice Chancellor, Dr C V Raman University said “With National Education Policy there will be huge changes in education sector. The NEP focuses on holistic development of a child. There is flexibility in choice of subjects for students. The multiple entry and exit points are very commendable and it focuses on student learning.”
Over role of teachers, he said “Nobody can take the place of a teacher, technology cannot replace teachers, and it can only assist them. However, teachers have to change their methodology of teaching.
Gaurav Shukla, Registrar, Dr C V Raman University said “The education sector is facing diverse issue with the pandemic. Family members are the first teachers for any student and from there they go to schools and then higher studies. It is very important to have linkages between every part of education. The system has been changed from time to time. “
Over NEP, he said “The best part of focus on surge in Gross Enrollment Ratio. There is huge dropout ratio in Higher Education in the state. We have provided high tech labs, huge library and radio station for local people. We need to preserve our culture. By 2030, there will be one university in every district, which will make education easier.”
Dr. Mansi Aggarwal, Founder Director, Scottish Early Years, Delhi said “The NEP is a step towards the future. The advancement is very much necessary for any child. A lot of people don’t focus on early childhood education. The policy has opened new options for students.”
She also said “Digital innovation is the need of the hour and it was accelerated by the COVID-19. The digital innovation for delivering is also important. We need a change in mind-set with multiple subjects. We have to come up with more innovate way to train teachers. The teachers will have to open their minds for the development of a child.”
She also said creating awareness is also a main issue. Teacher plays an important role. Parents need to be guided regularly.”
Supriya AP, Principal, Delhi Public School, Dhamtari said “The NEP is a very welcoming step and it’s student-centric. India has the third-largest number of students in higher education but are we maintaining the standards is the main question. The implementation of NEP will be a huge challenge. We have to change things for the future generation.”
She also said “There is a difference between theoretical knowledge and employability skills. There must be job orientated curriculum in schools which can help them. Acquiring a degree is not sufficient; we need to develop skills within the students.”
Over teachers, she said “Teachers are important pillars. They should be teacher by choice not by chance. and counseling must be a part of teacher training.”
She also said the policy has taken the education to a different level.