‘Ambassadors Of Hope’ Say Nope To COVID-19

A dialogue on “Hope in Times of The Pandemic” was organized by BW Education in association with BW Businessworld.

The COVID-19 crisis has entirely changed the way, the world used to operate. In these unprecedented times, among other sectors, education is also the one which has been strongly impacted. There has been a sudden shift to online learning without proper planning, specially in countries like India where the backbone for e-learning was not ready and the curriculum was not designed for such a format. 

BW Education hosted a dialogue on “Hope in Times of The Pandemic”, in association with BW Businessworld. Vijay Inder Singla, Minister of Education, Government of Punjab engaged in conversation with Vinesh Menon, CEO - Education, Skilling & Consulting, Ampersand Group and Dr Annurag Batra, Chairman & Editor-in-Chief, BW Businessworld & exchange4media Group.

The discussion mainly revolved around the overall vision of education for the state of Punjab, the success points of ‘Ambassadors of Hope’ initiative (a massive online competition covering 18 lakh students) launched by the government of Punjab and the road ahead for education, having been impacted by COVID-19.

On how has the last 60 days been, Vijay Inder Singla, Minister of Education, Government of Punjab said, “it is a difficult time for all of us and everybody in their own way was trying to fight out the Coronavirus and we were all trying to take precautions and trying to do our responsibilities side by side, to the best of our abilities and to the best of the situations available because nobody was actually prepared for such kind of a situation to happen in our country. As per as Punjab is concerned, my Chief Minister took a lead, imposed a curfew. We were able to perform better in our state, as compared to other states and other states should also perform like Punjab. India, as a country, as a whole, should get rid of this virus, as early as possible.”

Speaking about the ‘Ambassadors of Hope’ campaign the Minister said, “The Punjab government took very good initiatives and that was the only reason we were able to control the Coronavirus until now and we intend to do so in the days to come as well. As a responsible citizen, each one of us contributed to the social sector. Everybody tried to contribute to society. Subsequently, looking from the perspective of my responsibility in this government as a PWD Minister and as an Education Minister, challenges are there. But yes, we were able to start one beautiful programme, ultimately because of the participation of youngsters from across the state of Punjab. From the borders, from the rural areas, from the urban areas, from the private schools, from the government schools, everybody participated, contributed and uploaded 106000 videos about how they could take out themselves from this negativity of the pandemic situation and how they think they can convert it into a positivity thing. This ‘Ambassadors of Hope’ initiative which we tried to launch as an online competition across the state of Punjab proved to be a very successful campaign.”

Vinesh Menon, CEO - Education, Skilling & Consulting, Ampersand Group, appreciated the Ambassadors of Hope initiative saying that in times when we were all worried about its effect on adults, we undermined the impact on kids. This initiative boosted children’s morale. In the last 35-40 days, they were busy exploring the ways to be heard.

Throwing light on the picture after COVID-19, he said, “pre COVID, the whole ethos of education was around brick and mortar schools and technology acted as an enabler out there but post COVID, e-platforms would be the real mechanism of learning and the brick and mortar schools/institutions would become the enablers.”

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