The Indian education sector is perhaps undergoing its biggest reposition ever. In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, the closure of schools impacted approximately 1.6 billion students in more than 190 countries, and India was no exception to that.
The massive digital divide in India meant that a majority of our children were left without a means to get a proper education. Our education sector had already been battling several challenges at the onset of the pandemic, such as an acute shortage of teachers, poor quality of education, and a general unwillingness to learn and teach, all of which translated into an absence of both teachers and students from schools.
So, when schools shut in March 2020, a new world of challenges opened up. Almost 30 per cent of teachers were not equipped to teach online and less than 30 per cent of students had access to any kind of devices, with the number falling to a low single digit when it comes to a large device.
This digital divide was not just limited to teachers and students. A majority of institutes didn’t have the infrastructure or resources to enable online education, and still don’t have the knowhow to convert a brick-and-mortar school into an online one.
The time has come to leverage technology to enable smart education for a smarter India, to help create future learning models which are not only engaging, but also adaptive and scalable.
“Our vision is smart technology for all. We believe that in our shared digital future, no one should be left behind,” said Rohit Midha, Director, Services Sales, Lenovo India.
IT bigwigs like Lenovo have made a giant leap from being one of the leading providers of hardware to coming up with innovative learning solutions that are all set to decode a new learning paradigm for emerging India.
“We don’t know what will happen in 2021, but one thing is apparent – schools should be ready for some version of remote learning. With this comes the need to manage the integration of technology into the classroom, or the device into the learning system,” Midha further said.
The online learning space is not just about giving students and teachers an interface for communication to facilitate leaning. It is important to ensure that students remain engaged despite the lack of physical interactions with teachers.
An effective learning model must engage students in immersive and collaborative programs, and also ensure the safety of the student, device, and data. Another very important factor from the Indian perspective is the cost of ownership, which must be kept low.
“The key ingredients of success can be classified under five headers – device and access, data, safety, compliance to laws around usage of devices by children, and management of devices, apps and policies,” Midha explained.
Moreover, the distance learning environment is in no way a one-size-fits-all model. Diverse grades, classes, and groups are best served by different instruction methods.
Lenovo’s smart classroom platform solutions offer a mixed bag of services to meet the needs of distance learning. These include providing a comprehensive reporting, ensuring student safety, offering reports for teachers and for parents, filtering inappropriate content, and monitoring and managing of access across operating systems, no matter where the devices are located and where learning takes place.
These solutions are based not just for remote students, but also remote IT staff with cloud-based management systems. “We also think we have the right ingredients for other stakeholders, for instance, school management and parents, in ensuring the right usage of the device in the hands of their children or even school IT departments, where we will be able to deploy management tools while not compromising on student engagement or the safety or quality of education,” Midha said.
As we prepare for schools to reopen and move back to face-to-face teaching models, Lenovo’s learning solutions can enable last-mile education for all. Technology, today, has become an enabler of uninterrupted education, and can be used to bring quality education within reach for many more children in our country.
“At Lenovo, we are wholeheartedly committed to the cause of furthering education in these tough times. Our smart classroom platform is a step towards a smarter India, and a step in our journey from being a supplier of hardware to a solutions provider,” Midha concluded.
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