Can technology replace a teacher and school in society? “Certainly not,” asserted Chitra Ravi, founder and CEO of EZ Vidya, a premier education, research and innovation organisation in India, stressing that teachers had a very important role and were indispensable.
“It is true that the kids are born tech-savvy these days. In most families, it will be a toddler who teaches his/her parent to operate a mobile phone or give the meanings of difficult technical words. Their learning skills are very different from what it was a decade back. But schools and teachers cannot be replaced. They play very important role, which is to channelise the students,” said Chitra at a five day workshop on Effective School Management and Leadership training programme for school heads in Chennai recently.
But she also pointed out the existing gap in the present education system, where there was no bridge between hi-tech students on one side and traditionally rooted teachers on the other.
This was a huge challenge for those heading a school, like the Correspondent or Principal, who gets stuck in between these two polar forces, said Chitra.
EZ Vidya, which has already won several accolades for its intensive research in education and curriculum development since 2001, builds that bridge to raise a common platform between them.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) had recently empanelled EZ Vidya to conduct leadership training programmes for CBSE school heads and give them a chance to understand the learner’s (student) profile better to make Vidya (education) EaZy.
This was the first such training programme for CBSE schools, where the first batch consisted of 30 school heads from different parts of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The programme focused on five aspects of a leader who is expected to be a – Visionary, Academician, Communicator, Administrator and Manager. The five-day programme was split into two with three days in September and two days in October.
The programme involved sessions that engaged school heads in discussions through case studies, video clippings and games to highlight the importance of understanding their students’ needs and the responsibility of a teacher, which is to give beyond mere information.
It emphasised the significance of converting classrooms to ‘think’ rooms by conducting activities involving active participation from all students, which will aid in understanding a child.
But this effort to train the school heads with the skills that is eventually expected to trickle down to teachers and students did seem to have challenges. “First is the blockage in the mindset of a person who has been holding a superior post for several years. That is difficult to change but not impossible. The second is the constantly evolving world that pushes us keep updating ourselves and the curriculum,” said Chitra.