9/11 to Covid19: EDUCATION – Necessity, the mother of acceptance too, not just invention!

It was in 1999-2000, when we had launched compassbox.com, a website in India, for the first time ever, to supplement and complement school education for its citizens! We were surprised to have 90% of the users coming from MENA region and Central Asia. A little more diving into data, made me pack my suitcase and go to that region in 2001. I had to defer my trip by a week after the 9/11 happened, and, when finally boarded, we were only 3 passengers in the flight to KUWAIT CITY. I traveled across the countries, school to school, families to families that were using our website, to understand the challenges they were facing in educating their children, then.

And, lo behold, I stayed on in the region for 5 long years. We impacted the students and families of that region… For the first time ever, the students of the Indian schools in the region, topped national boards CBSE, ICSE and also entered IITs through the competitive IITJEE. The Principals of the largest to smallest schools who did not give appointments for months, forget about entertaining, started calling me to come to the schools to help. I went on to do workshops for teachers of schools at the invitations of a few good souls, and then was a facilitator at a workshop in Doha, Qatar, in 2002, for principals of 72+ schools that were part of CBSE Gulf Council.

Times of INdia 2020-04-08 at 8.28.44 AM

The live classes were being beamed from homes in India, into the Career Launcher centres in Dubai, into the schools, into the homes. Children sitting in their homes were mesmerized by the biology classes, full of animation, by my dear friend Pankaj who used to login from Patna to take classes, and by Vidyamanohar Sharma, Sharad Awasthi, Arindam Lahiri in Mathematics, Jitin arora, Saurabh kumar in Physics, Suman Prakash in Chemistry…and by many many more teachers who have been the torch bearers of those classes, live into the schools and homes. I have been one heck of votary of this technology enabled education ever since.

The children who attended those classes, then, are now into their mid thirties, well ensconced in the corporate and entrepreneurial journeys, world over. Many still in touch with me, and their parents and families too. I feel blessed.

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For the last 20 years, we have been trying to help the INDIAN education ecosystem, the policy making bodies, the nodal agencies, institutions and Schools,…… For most, technology facilitated education was an anathema, with all kinds of insecurities that the educational leadership felt at every level. Even those who dared to take, took baby steps…

Unfortunately, COVID19 happened; back to the wall, the entire education fraternity in India had no choice….reluctant acceptance….frantic arrangements …. many struggling still…

Overnight success, after 20 years of persistent hardwork

Now many are experiencing the magic….of our classrooms

One of the first states to be proactive and embraced this over the last couple of years is Department of Education, Government of NCT Delhi. We have facilitated, a select group of about 3700 purposeful children from the government schools of Delhi for IITJEE in 2019. It indeed impacted each one to varying degrees, with a few entrants into IITs and NITs, and that was a modest beginning.

The COVID19 happened, and it took just a fortnight of exchanging notes for the Govt of NCT, Delhi to take the aerial route to reach every child in the state. Purposefulness and Proactiveness, that is what I have experienced of the Department of Education and the governing leadership of the state.

ONLINE EDUCATORS CERTIFICATION PROGRAM

  • 28.3.2020 Teachers in the govt schools notified about the certification programme
  • 29.3.2020 Best 300 teachers selected from the entire government school system
  • 31.3.2020 Intense, week-long ONLINE EDUCATORS CERTIFICATION programme commenced
  • 05.4.2020 Sixty of the 300, fulfilled all the requirements to graduate from the programme

The Deputy CM and Education Minister of Delhi, Mr. Manish Sisodia delivered the Valedictory address of the convocation of the programme.

PHASED ON-BOARDING OF THE CLASS XII

The number of students attending class XII in schools under Govt of Delhi is to the tune of 1.65 Lakhs, from diverse socio-economic classes mostly from the lower-middle class and the marginalised sections of the society. So we had to take a phased-scaling to reach these large numbers, at the same time reach every child.

  • 6.4.2020 10,000 students commenced their classes
  • 13.4.2020 about 60,000 students could access the classes
  • 20.4.2020 The classes are accessible for all of the 1.65 lakh students

The technological challenges, the mentoring and coaching challenges to enable the ONLINE EDUCATORS  in scaling, to facilitate the engaging and interactive classes is a very inspiring one even for me, who has been anchoring the project from its conception. Now every stakeholder is delighted. Listen to the teachers sharing….

 

You can watch recordings of a few classes, here, those taken on April 22, 2020, as is where is, on YOUTUBE classrooms.

These four sessions exemplify across the science, commerce, humanities and linguistic subjects, the felicity the ONLINE EDUCATORS have gained in a very short span of time, in engaging thousands of students, with their mastery over technology as well as interactive capabilities. The magical puppeteers behind the puppet, the screen! They have been trained to FISH in one week intense program. And ever since, they have been catching the most amazing fishes, of every kind!

BIOLOGY

POLITICAL SCIENCE

ECONOMICS

ENGLISH

 

Look at the numbers in these live classrooms on April 22, 2020. The numbers are growing as more students are still accessing the classes.

Here are the numbers – Unique Attendance/Viewership on the YOUTUBE classrooms..

Counts at                             24th April 8:15am    [23rd 8:30 am]    (Live 22nd 7:15pm)

English –                                  34846                         [34364]                   (32177)
Economics –                            20567                         [16999]                   (15527)
Pol Science –                           27399                         [20553]                   (16725)
Biology –                                  08987                         [07518]                   (06924)

These growing numbers are because students who attend the classes are sharing the visible YOUTUBE link from their aspiration.ai account with friends. who are logging later in here to watch.

So there are many students who are watching the classes after their parents could lend their smartphone, at the end of the day or in the following few days. Very interesting insights.

Apart from these, the students have access to the recorded sessions in their account, twenty four hours after the class and the numbers there too are a few thousands. Students revisit there to watch the sessions and clear those small doubts that they have had, at their own space and time.

Traditionally it has been observed about 40-50% of students attend the live classes, and the percentage reaches 90% of the students in the following 4-5 days.

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Now a few more states are seeking us……

The world will be defined as, PRECOVID and POSTCOVID…. Along with BC, now it will be AC (After Corona).

The entire education system is now wearing the thinking cap, albeit, forced. I can tell you, the students would not accept the same brick and mortar classes again after experiencing the interactive, engaging, multimedia, dynamic, outside-in classes.

AMAZON WEB SERVICES, INTEL are supporting with technologies, Drstikona helping to raise funds.

As I was interacting in the IIMB Social Impact group, interestingly, it stuck me…., looking back at my journey of tech facilitated education, I have named this article as 9/11 to COVID19!! The two calamities, and their impact!!

But 20 years, too long for a nation to be closing eyes and ears, and all senses.

Necessity is not just the mother of invention, even that of mere acceptance!

If only, the human is more open and does not resist change….

Looking forward to having your facilitation…..

5 comments

  1. Thanks for your piece Sreeni. Just in time ! 🙂 Kids are doing online schooling. For some its working out, for some not so much. Each kid is a different learner. At this point, my concern is also regarding homeschooling strategies for parents. There should be some resource of parents too. That is a leaning curve for parents too. Please suggest.

    Thanks and regards, Urvi

    Like

    • Thanks URVI. The homeschooling is going to take off in a big way now. You will have huge resources coming your way. You might have already collected. I will write an article on this

      Like

      • I just saw your message. How are you and family doing? Hope all well. Do you recollect our meeting in Delhi ? I do 🙂 Can we exchange numbers? My number is +1 732 310 5933. I am in New Jersey since Sept 2014. Look forward to interactions with you.
        Many thanks and regards,
        Urvi

        Like

  2. This Is very good platform provided by career launcher with the support of our honourable education minister cum deputy Chief minister through which I am now able to reach to thousands of students and drew out a good teacher within me.Thank you very much Sreeni sir, you are full of energy and positivity.
    Thank a lot sir and congratulations for making this program a grand success

    Like

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