New Delhi – Education sector is witnessing smart and innovative interventions in school curriculum and pedagogy to better learning outcomes. Companies working in the education sector – as a solution provider or through corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives – are devising programmes to improve the quality of teachers.
Even the Draft National Education Policy, 2019 has proposed for the professionalisation of teachers in schools to arrest the deteriorating quality of education in the country. The policy seeks to prepare cadres of professionally qualiﬁed educators. It further proposes for their Continuous Professional Development (CPD), through mentoring and career mapping mechanisms.
Pankaj Agarwal, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of TagHive said that technology can be an answer for effective monitoring and mapping of a teacher’s career.
The South Korea-based technology company designs smart digital learning solutions.
It has designed a comprehensive digital solution – Class Saathi – to improve learning and teaching outcomes. While a version of the product has been launched in South Korea, Class Saathi is due for the India launch, in September.
“Through Class Saathi, teachers can be more invested in their professional development by soliciting regular feedback from students on various aspects of their teaching,” Agarwal said. “The Administrator or Principal has real time access to the performance statistics of each teacher,” he added.
Class Saathi also offers analysis of each student’s learning outcomes through quizzes, attendance and behavior, Agarwal said adding that the data captured through the product gives an insight on what training and support needs to be given to the teacher.
Agarwal spoke about his own experience of working with government schools in Varanasi where the company had done a pilot of this low cost technology solution.
The product was given to 20 government schools in Varanasi. “The learning outcomes increased by over 8% in just one month with this new approach to teaching and learning,” the CEO said. The pilot was done on more than 1,000 students, he informed.
“It is a playful device which engages teachers with students and offers interactive content and statistics to students,” the Agarwal said. The smart solution with interactive learning tools and teaching contents for the teachers in a mobile app, works through a clicker device, given to each student.
“Rural schools need affordable technologies for better teaching environment; to empower teachers and to motivate students towards regular attendance thus helping these students achieve better learning outcomes,” Agarwal said adding that TagHive’s Class Saathi cost at $10 per clicker as against an average $20 for similar solutions was “competitive and best in the industry”.
Agarwal is an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur graduate with an MBA degree from Harvard Business School.
The Class Saathi mobile solution requires no internet and work on a basic smart phone with Bluetooth connectivity. “This takes away the requirement of any immediate investment in infrastructure and allows students across the country to experience the joy of technology in their classrooms,” he said.
Apart from teacher education, the NEP also emphaises on pedagogy and many companies like Tata Steel Ltd, Dell and Feedback Infra Pvt Ltd through its CSR arm Feedback Foundation are improvising teaching methods to improve learning outcomes.
Tata Steel, for instance developed a Bridge Language Inventory (BLI) app for Odia and Hindi speaking teachers to ease communication with children from Ho and Santhal communities. In 2015, Tata Steel Ltd started an education initiative – Thousand Schools Programme – across six blocks in Odisha’s three districts – Jajpur, Keonjhar and Sundargarh.
“A Learning App has also been developed for the classroom containing a range of content. The programme is increasingly connecting children with online open source content,” Smita Agarwal said. She heads the education vertical of Tata Steel’s CSR division.
Agarwal said that methods employed in the programmes have checked student dropout problem. Specific courses were designed to address short-term and long-term dropout problems, she said. The former was addressed through non-residential bridge courses (NRBCs) and the latter through residential bridge courses (RBCs), she further added.
Computers have been installed in education resource centres (ERCs) and residential bridge courses to promote technology-based education, Agarwal said. The company has also distributed over 250 tablets for 125 group projects, she added.
Meanwhile, Dell started an initiative called Aarambh to help teachers understand how to use personal computers to improvise teaching techniques.
The target of the programme were schools who hardly used computers for teaching, P. Krishnakumar, company’s senior vice president and general manager for Asia Pacific and Japan told India CSR. “The goal is to empower students, teachers and parents with digital literacy, a crucial skill for every individual in this day and age,” he added.
The programme is benefiting students in tier-2, tier-3 and tier-4 cities, Krishnakumar said.
Feedback Foundation acted as a facilitator between the district administration of Haryana’s Mewat district and the school in Bhond village, to improve the education system. The foundation adopted the village in 2014-15 to holistically develop it.
One of the most backward villages in the country, despite being at a two-hour drive from Gurgaon, Bhond was at the bottom on all social and economic indicators, foundation’s chairperson Rumjhum Chatterjee told this news service. She is also the Group Managing Director.
With 64% illiteracy and less than 15% primary educated, student dropout was a problem in this village, Chatterjee said. “We found that teacher engagement or rather lack of it, was one of the causes for high dropouts. The foundation worked with the school, local communities and district administration to correct that anomaly,” she added.
Through a system of rotation, new teachers were brought in the schools, which catalysed our efforts to improve the situation, Chatterjee said.