Lenovo’s mission of Smart Education for a Smarter India
Technology can play a critical role in revolutionizing the education sector in India by ensuring that learning becomes more immersive, engaging and impactful and the reach of quality education is extended to include marginalized students across the length and breadth of the country.
Digital disruption is impacting every facet of life as we know it and ‘Smarter India’ – an initiative by Lenovo, in collaboration with CNBC TV18 – examines how technology can solve problems, create opportunities and transform the way we live, learn, work and heal.
An event themed, ‘Smart Education for a Smarter India’, in Delhi in January 2020, explored the impact of digital transformation in the education sector in India and how it is all set to benefit from the infusion of enabling technology. This initiative was the first of a 4-part dialogue, which will move to Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, subsequently, to discuss how smarter technology can transform BFSI, IT&ITES and Healthcare, respectively.
In his inaugural address, Yatendra Kumar Gupta, Pro Chancellor, Sharda University set the tone for the discussions that followed, stating, “In this digital era, all educational institutions must use technology to create the right kind of professionals, so we can make India a Smart Nation.”
In the panel discussion amongst thought-leaders from academics, government and industry, a consensus emerged that technology could facilitate the education system at two levels - the student and teacher management level and in terms of content delivery.
Illustrating what technology in education could deliver, CB Sharma, Chairman, National Institute of Open Education, the largest open school of the world with 4.5 million students stated, “We have recently completed a paperless training program for 1.3 million teachers across the country. This wouldn’t have been possible without technology. Lectures were recorded in all Indian languages and broadcasted.”
In terms of content delivery, the panel discussed the benefits of using various tech-enabled methods. “New initiatives like – flipped classrooms, Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) – will make a huge difference to the way education is imparted and retained,” suggested Atul Chauhan, Chancellor, Amity University. VR and AR give students a more immersive and impactful learning experience. Flipping of classrooms would also ensure that students learn at their own pace and the teacher-student ratio is optimized.
Where hardware is concerned, Ramanan Ramanathan, Mission Director, Atal Innovation Mission recounted how thousands of Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) had been set up as dedicated innovation workspaces in schools, with the latest technology (3-D printers, IoT, miniaturized electronics and do-it-yourself kits) available for students from grade 6-12. “They have the opportunity to tinker with these technologies in a spirit of fun and learning and develop problem-solving mindsets. At the university level, we look forward to developing a spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship by giving students access to world class incubation labs.”
With respect to end-to end solutions from Lenovo, Stephen Sequeira, Lenovo India’s Director, Enterprise Business, assured, “We are trying to integrate our hardware capabilities and our world leadership in technology with content and software. In fact, as part of our inhouse Intelligent Transformation mission, we have started a dedicated private education vertical, which will help to contribute to the digital learning landscape in India.” He revealed that having already worked with AR and VR solutions for students in the US and UK, Lenovo now looks forward to bringing the benefits of these technologies to India.
Summarizing the tech-education wish-list, Manish Kumar, MD & CEO, National Skill Development Corporation, a great example of public private collaboration, expressed, “We need smaller, modular, employability-oriented courses that can be scaled up successful and implemented across the country.”
Essentially, it emerged that mapping the right kind of technology to address challenges would deliver the best impact. Technology would ensure that lakhs of students, even those that are differently enabled and marginalized, would have access to quality education that would make them truly skilled and future-ready.Endorsing Lenovo’s intent in his concluding special address, Amit Doshi, Chief Marketing Officer, Lenovo India & South Asia said, “At Lenovo our vision is to bring smarter technology to all of humanity, not just a select few. India has made rapid strides in education but we have a long road ahead and we hope smarter technology can help bridge this chasm faster, better and more efficiently.”