With education around the world having witnessed a seismic shift, students, as well as teachers and parents, have to learn how to navigate a post-Covid reality. While most kids are fortunate enough to have the guidance of their elders, teachers have to bear a lot of the pressure, given the lack of support from any central authority. Suraasa, a Higher Education EdTech platform focused on school teachers, hopes to help them learn how to teach in a new world, while also upskilling their pedagogy for their own future in academia. Excerpts from an interview with Rishabh Khanna, cognitive scientist and founder of Suraasa:
Could you take us through the journey of Suraasa, from conception to execution?
Teacher education in India needs to be transformed. After almost eight years of field research on teacher education standards, teacher career growth, and delivery networks around the world, we reached a place of better understanding and came up with the idea of launching ‘Suraasa’ in 2018. The core vision is to enable teachers to grow in their careers in the 21st century. We are building a teacher-growth-focused e-learning platform where teachers can upskill by learning from programmes that are centred around international pedagogy skills. Further, we are partnering with the top schools of the country so that they can hire Suraasa qualified teachers for no hiring cost at all.
What are the kinds of qualifications offered by Suraasa?
Suraasa launched its first qualification, Professional Certificate in Teaching & Learning in 2018. Recently, we introduced a few shorter qualifications to meet the diverse needs of teachers at different stages of their careers. Designed by a team of education leaders, cognitive scientists, and data scientists in consultation with thousands of teachers and industry specialists, these qualifications aim to help teachers accelerate their professional growth, and be successful in creating a high-impact learning environment in their classrooms. These qualifications equip teachers with 21st-century teaching skills, which are crucial to engage the new ‘Gen Z’ and ‘Gen Alpha’ students.
How are these courses helping Indian teachers to bag better job opportunities?
India currently has a shortage of 10L skilled teachers and there are lakhs of aspiring teachers who are not able to fill these jobs because of skill mismatch. Moreover, as per UNESCO Institute for Statistics, India needs 1.1 crore skilled school teachers in the next 10 years to meet the educational needs of the rapidly growing population. While we train and groom teachers on one side, we partner with international schools and invite them to hire these teachers on the other side. This entire process really makes our teachers highly trustworthy candidates for schools since they can actually see verified skills and evidence, and schools can hire them with confidence.
Given the scenario today, how can Indian teachers cope with the emerging role of EdTech platforms?
I think edtech platforms have made learning really accessible and flexible for learners. One can now enroll in premium online courses, delivered by some highly qualified educators. In addition to that, they get a personalised learning experience with measurable progress, something that technology can offer on a large scale. However, it’s also important to understand that learning is based on our perceptions and an online self-paced model often makes one look at only one side of the coin. And that’s where the redefined role of teachers and live classrooms comes in. The teachers don’t just have to deliver content in a live class, which can be done in a self-paced format as well. They rather have to ensure healthy discussions in the classroom that enable the learners to understand diverse perspectives and practical applications of what they are learning.On Tuition for Teachers.