New Delhi: Ashoka University hosts virtual conference on June 5-6 on the future of K-12 education. Titled “Future Of Schools: Overcoming the COVID-19 Challenge and Beyond”, the conference was addressed by eminent keynote speakers like Nandan Nilekani, co-founder, Infosys and EkStep Foundation; Anita Karwal, Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy; Deepak Parekh, Chairman of HDFC; Salman Khan, Founder and CEO, Khan Academy; Bridget T Long, Dean, Harvard Graduate School of Education and Manoj Ahuja, Chairman, CBSE. The two-day online conference is focused on issues brought to the fore by the current situation and evolve solutions to improve the gamut of K-12 education in India. The conference that is taking place over Zoom and already hosted over 15000 attendees across more than 100 cities.
Speaking on the topic ‘Resilient School -What does it really mean for us?, Nandan Nilekani, Co-founder, Infosys and EkStep Foundation, said “Reimagining education and staying ahead of the curve should be the number one priority for the government right now. With platforms like Diksha being launched by the government, I think they are already ahead of the curve.” Answering a question at the conference on how education can be delivered in the present situation to households that don’t have access to smartphone or feature phone, Nandan Nilekani said “We have to use our physical infrastructure. People may not have a device but they could be close to a digital service centre which will have the devices. The worksheets can be delivered to students and once student finishes the worksheets it can be delivered back to the centres. The centres can then upload the worksheet. Himachal is doing this. We will have to innovate.”
On being asked what target Indian school education should aim to achieve by 2025-2030, Mr. Nilekani said “I think the present discontinuity is going to accelerate our goal of sending every child to school and make every child learn.” Sharing his thoughts on the changing role of teachers in the education system, Mr. Nilekani said “There is a certain inherent role of a teacher in education that can’t be taken away. The teacher plays an important role in gauging the learning and receptivity of the child. The mentorship role played by the teacher will be crucial in these times”
The conference hosted a range of stakeholders from the field of education- School Leaders, global experts, EdTech organizations, Policy makers and Counsellors – to address two key issues: how to deploy technology effectively to respond to the crisis, and how school leaders need adaptive leadership in the face of the many challenges it poses. The conference is being hosted in association with Harvard Business School, Khan Academy, IC3, FICCI Arise, TAISI, College Board, XSEED and CENTA. The sessions delved into the best practices to engage students online, embracing technology effectively and how to upskill teachers to deliver enriching online experience.