Sixteen K-12 schools were chosen as ET Best School Brands 2016 by Times Conferences Ltd recently and were felicitated at an event in Delhi on June 27th. It had time enough for a technology –teacher panel discussion. Some excerpts:
t is no less shocking to hear a principal of an elite residential school saying that he is not sure if his teachers are ready to accept and adapt the change. A reason, 400 devices procured for students are locked up in his school storage for last six months. Seasoned educator, Dr. Madhav Saraswat, Principal, Scindia School, Gwalior made this comment on a panel discussion coinciding with the award ceremony of ET Best School Brands 2016 in New Delhi on June 27.
What Dr Saraswat talked symbolically about the ill-preparedness of teachers to embrace technology, is perhaps all pervasive among teachers. “Technology has appeal, but will teachers agree or not is a big question. We have not done enough for them in terms of capacity building,” he said. While according to former HRD secretary B S Baswan who is currently, chairman, Lawrence School Lovedale, technology is going to be a game changer his fellow panelist from Birla Vidya Niken felt teachers will have to do it because children love it. “We ban mobile phones from schools. And on a given day if you order search, you can safely catch hold of 50 handsets,” she said while stressing that nothing can replace teacher.
In words of Ashok Pandey, Principal, Ahlcon International School, Delhi, schools have already entered into digital age. From didactics to dash boards and diagnostics, the digitalization of processes has arrived. “For this we need lifelong learning. The solution providers must integrate skilling into their services,” he added.
Another panelist, Heemal Bhat of Hans Raj Model School said that teachers make half-hearted effort at embracing technology and then compliant much like ‘Grapes are Sour’ story. “For long teacher though s/he knew everything, and had control. Meanwhile a technology revolution was brewing and we let it pass by without wanting to change. There was no evolution. Now we have to decide what to leave to traditional way and what to technology-enabled process. But change we must,” she added.
Experts say while the whole technology focus is on children, the teacher has been left untouched. No innovations are happening as technology solutions are just packaging whatever is available. The panelists also said that managements though investing liberally in technology solution acquisition, are not showing same zeal when it comes to investing in teachers. Dr Sarswat recommends Rs 10 for every one rupee invested on technology deployment. Do you really a computer lab in schools?
Fine blend of traditional and digital has to be determined. Assessment of CCE has tied up teachers and it is examination boards, which have to look at their own system to help teachers.
Dr. N. K. Sahu, Economic Advisor (SE&L), Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India: Ours is a very vast country, so catering to the needs of 15 lakh schools and so many teachers and students is a challenge. That’s why the government is working at all levels to fulfil the needs of children and improving the manner in which education is delivered to them. Infrastructure no doubt is a big part of this. The use of ICT and modern technologies is important, but the challenge is a large one.