Pedagogies Addressing the Country’s Literacy and Numeracy Crisis: Abhishek Goel, SAAR Education (I) Pvt Ltd

abhishek goel

The inclusion of Social Emotional Learning in schools can solve most of the problems of society, shared Abhishek Goel, Co-Founder, SAAR Education (I) Pvt Ltd in an exclusive conversation with Sheeba Chauhan of Elets News Network. Edited excerpts:

SAAR believes that the world has changed phenomenally in the past few decades but the educational methodologies unfortunately haven’t. What are the practices and methodologies that still need a revamp?

Education is meant to provide enlightening experiences to individuals. The dictionary meaning of education is ‘the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life’. If all educators align their school functioning to the defined meaning of education, it will help each one of us identify the gaps in systems.

NEP (National Education Policy) 2020 provides a clear picture of the gaps that are deeply rooted and surfacing as unemployability in our country. Many publishers and curriculum developers by large have not yet been able to develop products according to the required pedagogical approaches. This has led to wrong teaching methods in school education, thus leading to rote learning rather than skill development. Every subject has a specific way of transferring knowledge and developing skills and it is our duty as providers of educational resources to take ownership of this corrective measure. It is high time that we all look at NEP 2020 and NCF (National Curriculum Framework) 2022 documents as guiding lights and involve methods that are researched, tried, and tested.

Practices and methodologies that need a revamp in education include adopting student-centric approaches, implementing inquiry-based learning, integrating technology effectively, promoting collaborative and project-based learning, emphasising life skills education, incorporating cultural relevance and global perspectives, and providing continuous professional development for educators.

We at SAAR are very proud of being the pioneers of creating and providing educational resources based on researched pedagogies and methodologies in India and training lacs of teachers to implement them successfully in their classrooms. Our resources are completely aligned with NEP 2020; as a result, we are looked at by our customer schools as ‘Partners of Change’.

You have collaborated with brands like Evan Moor, Fitzroy, MyOn, and more. How have these collaborations escalated the success of SAAR?

Brian O’Leary in one of his articles titled ‘From Competitors to Collaborators’ calls out publishers to build “an architecture of collaboration”. SAAR too believes that we must not waste time reinventing the wheel. Our collaborations are with organisations that are pioneers in their areas of education. The education transformation can be brought in by looking at the innovators as our allies who are supporting us in our vision to bring education revolution.

Collaborating with brands like Jolly Phonics (UK), Fitzroy Programs (Australia), Evan Moor (USA), BSD (Singapore), MyOn (USA), Renaissance (USA), Pratham Books (India) and many others has significantly contributed to the success of SAAR. These collaborations have facilitated the expansion of our resources, expertise, and reach, enabling us to provide a more comprehensive and diverse educational experience to our users.

On a deeper level, our collaborations also helped us establish the fact that children across the world have to be oriented towards skill development and not syllabus completion and that some of the problems we are facing in the Indian education system are also prevalent in countries like the United Kingdom and United States of America.

According to a recent survey, over 300 million students are homeschooled worldwide. How is SAAR helping students to be homeschooled?

In India, the homeschooling market is yet to open up, but we understand the increasing need for it. We launched our homeschooling kit at the time of the Covid crisis.

SAAR provides valuable support to homeschooled students through its comprehensive educational resources, personalised learning experiences, and interactive online platform. It offers a wide range of subjects, curriculum materials, and tools that can be tailored to the specific needs and preferences of homeschooled students, helping them receive quality education in a flexible and accessible manner. As mentioned before, we are looking at skills and not syllabi and all our products are pivoted around specific skills. The homeschooling kit works around 4C skills. Parents can even take advantage of our self-paced coding platform with BSD and personalised digital library MyOn for enhancing literacy.

What are the unique practices SAAR includes under SEL (Social Emotional Learning)?

The inclusion of Social Emotional Learning in schools can solve most of the problems of society.

SAAR’s SEL curriculum ‘Learning Skills for Life’ uses the CASEL model. The five broad, interrelated areas of competence according to this model are: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making.

Some of the unique practices of SAAR’s SEL curriculum can be listed as making and keeping friends, learning from mistakes and becoming resilient, being open to others’ views and expressing opinions, acting towards the safe and unsafe touch, respecting all types of families, identifying and managing all emotions, handling bullying and developing coping skills.

The world needs individuals that have resilience and compassion to make a better society and we at SAAR have created provision for a solution for school leaders to work on it from a very early age through our story-based SEL curriculum. Education is the means to bring the big change and we at SAAR are committed to this cause.

The World Education Summit has been igniting transformation in the education industry since its initial edition. What are your thoughts on being a part of the 26th edition of this global platform on 4-5 July in New Delhi?

Being a part of the 26th edition of the World Education Summit in New Delhi on 4-5 July is an exciting opportunity for SAAR.

We view it as a valuable platform to contribute to engage with global discussions on educational transformation. We look forward to sharing our insights, learning from industry leaders, and collaborating towards the advancement of education on a global scale.