250+ delegates from 14 states shared a few ideas on trends, challenges and expectations in the educational and skilling sectors, and the future of work and learning.
What can educators do to adapt to the evolving nature of learning experience?
In his keynote speech, Professor Mishra examines how educators can adapt themselves to the modern classroom environment. He attests to how technology has affected necessary changes on a modern educator’s teaching style, and how an educator can use new resources and knowledge to keep learners engaged in the process of education.
Three Key Takeaways
- Educators need to understand that the 21st century classroom is always moving and ever-changing. With technological innovation, knowledge can be made available to students on many different platforms. Instead of rejecting these platforms, educators need to use them to find creative ways of involving students in learning processes. These tools can prove extremely useful in aiding learners filter and process all the new information that is being made available to them.
- To understand a tool, an individual must understand her own context and how she can apply the tool in this specific situation. Technology was not built specifically for education, but this does not mean that it cannot be used as an educational tool. Educators need to learn how to use such tools efficiently in classroom spaces. We need to train people in developing the skills and mindsets that allow them to continue learning in their individual, ever-changing contexts.
- Therefore, we need to repurpose the tools and the information around us to design learning spaces and curriculums. The Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge framework, or the TPACK framework, helps with this. The framework is built around three forms of knowledge – technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge – and the way they interact. Teaching in classrooms must now use such processes to create a successful learning experience for students.
“Architecture dominates material — ‘To understand clay is not to understand the pot, but the need to understand the creators and users of the pot.’”
Why is it fostering confidence in students important?
Kiran Bir Sethi spoke of how aware, enabled, and empowered young people who graduate with an “I can” mindset transform communities. She narrated her experiences in setting up a school and taking charge of her children’s education. She also attested to the importance of personal development of students in schools, the need to nurture the individual voices of the students, and the challenge of developing a student-and-learning-centric educational outlook.
Three key takeaways
- Good design starts with who you are designing for: this especially applies to the process of designing learning environments. You must begin with designing education around the student. This became the framework for Design for Change, which helps equip students across the world with the “I can” mindset.
- As an educator, you must believe in the potential of your students and teach them to have an “I can” mindset.
- To be a good educator, you need stamina, humour, and optimism. Teachers become fatigued by the fact that they don’t know what to do. You need stamina to stay with an idea.
“It starts with belief; the genuine belief in another human being’s potential.”
Yogesh Kumar, Founder of Even Cargo,
Maya Chandrasekaran, Principal at Menterra Venture Advisors,
in conversation with Deepika
How can we bridge the gender gap and enable people to recognize women as equal contributors and creators in modern Indian workplaces?
In this session, the panellists describe why the gender gap must be bridged in modern workplaces. They identify the nuances of how perceptions of gender affect workspaces and how these preconceptions impact everything from an individual’s personal life to the country’s economy. The panellists also discuss how we can move towards achieving complete gender parity.
Three key takeaways
- Adding the dimension of gender raises many questions on the way we look at workspaces. Most women in India are primarily engaged in informal sectors, and they are underpaid for their labour. Women’s labour in domestic spaces is unpaid and unaccounted for. If we achieve complete gender parity in workspaces and domestic spaces, we can add $700 billion to India’s GDP by 2025.
- 20 million – that is how many women quit their jobs from 2004 – 2012. And most of them never return. There are many valid reasons that women chose to leave work, but why do so many never return? How do we as sector shapers from corporate spaces, civil society, and social enterprises factor in the multiple roles that women are pushed (for want of better word) to play? How are we making it a more level playing field for women?
- We must recognize that gender is not fixed: it is an identity spectrum. Diversity in workforces improve productivity in companies and the country. Even if we leave aside the economic benefit of gender parity, we must recognize that equality is first and foremost a human right. Society should do this for itself and not instrumentalize this process. It is society’s duty to develop processes and support structures to include women and vulnerable groups in the workforce.
“We need to start looking at (workspaces) as an equal playing field for both genders. This can’t be fixed at the policy level, it’s much deeper, and comes from within.”
– Maya Chandrasekaran
Manisha Gupta, StartUp!,
David Jul, KAOSPILOT,
Kapila Sebastian, LinkedIn
In conversation with Shalini Menon
How do we develop organisations that foster learning in their employees and concurrently learn from their employees and environments?
The panellists examined how the people within workspaces impact how work environments must be developed in the future. The social and cultural context of the employees affects the organisational environment. They highlight the importance of recognizing that discussions on the future of workspaces are just as relevant as discussions around the future of work.
Three key takeaways
- The focus must be on creating organisational structures within workspaces to keep employees engaged without hindering the work that they do. Organisations need to develop channels for employees to communicate with each other, and the environment of the workspace should encourage such communications.
- Leader are often put on pedestals and are traditionally seen as people that must to be looked up to. Leaders are a part of the organisation, and as people, they too make mistakes. The relationship between leaders and co-workers needs to be open and friendly.
- Organisations are made up of people. Individuals have their own views and dreams, and it is directly beneficial for organisations to foster such personal goals. By moving towards realising their goal, the employees will uplift the motivation and potential of their organisations.
Q: What are a few simple changes that the leader of an organisation can make to its organisational structure to motivate its employees?
A: Involve the members of the organisation when making such changes. The leader should create a safe space for such conversations to happen, and she should be open to listening to any suggestions that employees make. Build a culture that encourages employees to ask fundamental questions. A leader can also visit another organisation to see how they organise themselves. Good allies are also essential for managing the growth of an organisation, so a leader should try to develop or find capable partners.
“You bring engagement by engaging people in meaningful conversations and not by celebrating birthdays in a cafeteria.”
— Santhosh Babu
Founder and Chairman, OD Alternatives
Arati Deo, MD – Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Capability, Accenture
Fr. George Mathew, Assistant Director – Finance, Don Bosco Tech
Ashutosh Tosaria, Associate Director – MyQuest
in conversation with Abhijeet Mehta, COO, Quest Alliance
What is the future of the job sector likely to be and how can we prepare learners today for future challenges?
Drawing from their vast and varied experience, the panelists discussed the future of the job sector in India. Rapid advances in technology makes it extremely difficult to accurately predict jobs in the future. The panelists discussed whether rapid technological advances in the artificial intelligence sector might take over jobs and education in the near future. Technology is reaching virtually every community in India, but the question is whether technology will enable the dissemination of knowledge and make more efficient the jobs available. The panelists also questioned whether technology truly benefits all equally or if its benefits are limited to the urban upper classes of Indian society.
Three key takeaways
- The artificial intelligence (AI) industry is rapidly advancing and constantly evolving towards making industries more efficient. AI is also making itself more user friendly, keeping in mind the programming skills of the average citizen. We are all using some form of AI technology, but most of us lack any specific programming or coding skills. All in all, AI is becoming more prevalent and deeply integrated into modern life.
- We must keep in mind the diversity of a country like India, where access to technology is not easy. Technology comes with economic constraints. For artificial intelligence to work successfully, people need to have access to technology systems and have the skills to use them. Every year, 12 million people enter the workforce but only 5.5 million jobs are added. Most of these people are from poorer states in the north, and they are unprepared for the challenges of the modern economy.
- Will technology discard the section of the population that has little or no access to it, or will technology adapt itself to suit the needs of the entire population? This is a key question, and our challenge today is to ensure the latter eventuality.
Q: Is technology taking into account the economic diversity of India and not only catering to the urban elite? In this country, how will we ensure that every individual can access and make use of the opportunities technology has to offer?
A: We need vehicles to disseminate technology to the masses and creative ways to scale such an endeavour. NGOs that work on building youth leaders should focus both on personality development and building digital skills. Further, the quality of education needs to be drastically improved, and this is a challenge that the entire nation needs to voluntarily take on. The government and the people of the country need to work together on this challenge to successful ensure the complete dissemination of technology and knowledge.
“More than half the industries are going to be impacted [by artificial intelligence] in the next few years, and we need more people who are skilled in interacting with these artificial intelligence systems…”
School Dropout PreventionDeep Ray, Vibha Foundation
Sunil, Shikshana Foundation
Niraj Kumar, Bihar Education Project Council
Vijaylaxmi Iyer, Quest Alliance
Akanksha Babbar, Quest Alliance
Azim Doula, Quest Alliance
What pushes children and young people to drop out of school, and how can we encourage them to complete their education?
The speakers discussed findings from research conducted on school dropout rates and solutions to prevent students from dropping out. Children and young people drop out of school for various reasons, chief among which are the quality of education and the lack of motivation to continue. The speakers discussed the implications of their findings, and examined how systems of education can be improved to create joyful and encouraging learning environments for children.
Three key takeaways
- Anandshala, an educational programme, has developed various methods to make schools interesting and joyful learning spaces for students. It achieves this by encouraging students and teachers alike to develop strong relationships and freely communicate their needs.
- Encouraging students to participate in various school activities increases attendance rates. If students participate in activities, they eventually engage in important educational processes, which results in motivating them to continue attending school. Consequently, this increases the attendance rate of the students. The dropout problem can also be addressed by improving methods to track absent students.
- Five years ago, in Midnapur, West Bengal, the dropout rate of children was 10%. It is now less than 1%. This was made possible by reworking the educational curriculum to incorporate joyful learning processes. Teachers were trained to effectively teach their subjects as well as to engage students through extracurricular activities. They were also trained to develop and use TLMs. An essential learning from Midnapur is that engaging with parents and liaising with local governments is essential to addressing the issue of school dropouts.
Anyone Can CodeFacilitated by students from Government High School, Bangalore, and Zilla Parishad High School, Hyderabad
This interactive workshop was facilitated by students from the Government High School, Bangalore, and the Zilla Parishad High School, Hyderabad. They demonstrated the principles of coding and how useful this skill can be in today’s world. The facilitators also showcased the ease of building digital fluency. The activities gave the participants an insight into the future of lifesyle and work, such as how devices can be controlled through digital inputs like a simple line of code.
- The facilitators presented a quick overview of Scratch, a block-based coding software used for the projects on display. The participants then split into groups around the different projects, where the facilitators joined them and encouraged the participants to engage with the projects.
- The participants had many questions around how the projects worked. The facilitators took them through the potential real-life applications of such projects, the collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of these projects, their importance in the future of the digital media, and how such projects foster digital fluency.
- The participants noted that they felt confident they could work on small coding projects, and their focus was on the creative task at hand rather than on smaller details such as precise coding.
The Career Development ModelSister Rosline, Sahayni,
Sheetal Lydia Prasad, Dream a Dream,
Priya Agarwal, Antarang
in conversation with Nikita Bengani, Quest Alliance
How do we guide young people entering the workforce towards developing successful and satisfying careers?
The session explored diverse career development models and best practices for young people entering the workforce. These revolved around understanding the skills and traits that are needed to make the youth of today highly employable in the 21st century. The speakers and audience members shared their experiences and challenges in putting such processes into practice. They also discussed solution-driven suggestions to the issues commonly faced by various organizations and people who work on youth livelihood initiatives.
Three key takeaways
- Career development is a continuous process that encourages young people to pursue opportunities that lead to high satisfaction and successful career paths. It also helps in building career competencies, and it encourages young people to concentrate on achieving personal goals rather than focus only income and salaries.
- To carve out successful careers, today’s youth must be exposed to a wide range of work sectors and career prospects. Such exposure will aid them in expanding their perspectives to match their interests and abilities with the right career. Young people must also be explorative: they must develop the determination to pursue new learning opportunities out of their own self-interests.
- Continuous engagement with parents and alumni of career development programs is very important. Parents and alumni are key influencers in the career decision-making processes of today’s youth. Parents need to be constantly engaged with to trigger constructive discussions about career paths with their children. Organizations and initiatives can also help by encouraging young people to question any preconceived notions they might have about gender, career alternatives, and so on.
Building Government PartnershipsV R Vachana, Janaagraha,
Amitav Nath, Quest Alliance
How do we build partnerships with the government to introduce effective systemic changes into the education sector?
The speakers shared insights and lessons from their experience of working in partnership with the state and central governments on educational endeavours. The discussion threw light on understanding working models in collaboration with the government and the dynamic challenges that such partnerships pose. The panelists also quoted certain principles that are key to establishing effective working partnerships with governments.
Three key takeaways
- Use research products to initiate conversations with the government. Share the results of research and surveys with governments to highlight any issues, and suggest methods to address those issues.
- Focus on building your reputation over several years. You need to demonstrate that there are no hidden agendas in your approach to the work. It is also advisable to build a public profile by establishing media partnerships and bringing thought-leaders onboard.
- Be patient. Always maintain a non-confrontational approach with the government. Invest time in building relationships and friendship that will be remembered for a long time, as these be instrumental in establishing new relationships and undertaking new projects in the future.
Q: Increasingly, there is an emerging approach on working with the government by developing Model reform solutions as opposed to being an implementing partner to the government. What are the strategies an organization should keep in mind while opting for either approach with the government?
A: Both approaches have their have merits. We must realize that the government lacks capacity and resources. While building a model reform agenda might be easier for an organization, there is a strong chance that the government may not be able to implement it. The solution is to create an agenda and invest time in actively guiding the government through the implementation process. The government will slowly take ownership of the reform over time as its own expertise grows. At the same time, only an intervention, no matter how strong, will not do. Once implemented, you should make it a replicable process so that tomorrow you can offer it to another government. Policies are good, but the challenge is in the process of implementation. The key is to design a process addresses the implementation of the policy at hand. We also need to address the question of how to make it easier for the government to see the results and then scale the policy further if necessary.
My Learning NetworksSaswathan, Jeevan, Rohan, Vani, Vinita, Melvin, Harsha, Pallavi from Quest Alliance, Mary Veena, Srikanth, Kumari from SAMA Foundation, Sridhar from Pragathi ITI, Jayraj from Paloma Centre
How can we use modern technologies to develop and facilitate networks that aid in learning?
The panelists presented an overview of learning networks. The sessions demonstrated broadly how learning can be facilitated through various networks, as well as some various learning networks that are presently used. The panelists also discussed the concept of blended learning, which uses digital learning platforms alongside traditional face-to-face learning.
Three key takeaways
- The panelists established the progress of learning from traditional (face to face) methods to the use of technology, which empowers educators to facilitate anytime–anywhere learning. The participants were able to gain a first-hand experience of what technology can do in the space of the classroom and how it can be used in teaching.
- The Trainer Tribe programme drew particular interest because it used a digital platform to connect people with other like-minded individuals. Participants showed interest in creating and effectively using the trainer network, which will allow them to stay connected and remain relevant in the current job environment.
- The use of Digital Life Skills Tools (DLST) in classrooms was both new and exciting for the participants. They showed interest in creating a blended learning experience in their career fields.
Nuneseno Chase, Blended learning facilitator and MasterCoach,
Sridhar Gowda, Junior training officer at Pragati ITI
21st century learners and educators shared how they are using new technological and pedagogical ways from concept to practice to enhance learning experiences.
The student panellists shared their learnings and experiences from the various educational programmes they have studied under. They gave personal accounts of their journeys as learners and how the education system and Quest’s own curriculum have benefited them. The other two panellists, who are associated with the job market and education sector, shared their views on what it means to be a 21st century learner and facilitator.
Three key takeaways
- Learners need to undergo upskilling and reskilling to perform better in today’s changing job environment. They require learnability, which is the skill to adapt and make informed choices in situations. Learnability involves experimentation, exploration, and tinker-based learning that helps learners engage with processes fearlessly.
- Once the world of digital programming was introduced to student panellists in government schools, they were set on a new path. Though they initially found it difficult and challenging, they soon rose to meet the challenges. The student panellists are currently learning how to work with electrical circuits, robotics, programming, and online coding programmes such as Scratch.
- Traditional methods of teaching, textbooks, are no longer engaging to new generations of students. Blended learning, a combination of offline and online resources, is now the primary tool of education that makes content accessible and engaging to learners. The traditional, cookie-cutter methods of teaching have begun to fail. A 21st century learner needs to be multi-skilled and have access to online resources to aid her in her learning process.