Dreams Become Bigger When People And Technology Come Together

Deepak Bhardwaj, Vice President, CSR, Samsung India speaks to BW Education's Waqar Ahmed Fahad in an exclusive interview about how Samsung is making an impact in the school education

Samsung Smart Classes

Q.Why did Samsung start the Samsung Smart Class initiative? How does it benefit students?

Samsung seeks to help create a better world. We believe that Samsung can be a true global citizen when we use the talent of our people, our advanced technology and our specialised expertise to address social and environmental issues of our time.

The Company uses both its innovation and global network to create positive change, responding to people’s needs around the world and helping them to live better lives, with more choice, freedom and greater possibilities. We seek to directly tackle local challenges, addressing key issues like education, healthcare and employment, the environment, and accessibility.

Samsung is working to advance digital inclusion by reducing technological and information inequalities for underserved people, in turn trying to improve their quality of life.

We help young people around the world gain access to better educational and learning opportunities. Utilizing our technology and people, we champion regionally tailored programs and initiatives that help young people learn technical skills and get prepared for today’s digital economy.

At the core, Samsung mapped the needs for India’s growth and the efforts which are required to be put by corporates in some of the growth areas. In today’s India, education, skilling and healthcare are key needs, which prompted Samsung to start initiatives in these sectors to help the society. 

In the education space, Samsung started the Samsung Smart Class program in 2013 in association with the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti and is today available at over 683 Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya schools.

JNVs are run by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India to make modern education available to talented children from rural India. The program has benefitted over 2.5 lakh students so far.

The program is inspiring young India to use technology to educate, train and up-skill as it rides government initiatives like Digital India, Make in India and Skill India. It is also in line with the announcement made by the government in the recent Budget to “increase the digital intensity in education and move gradually from ‘black board’ to ‘digital board’.”

The student-teacher interaction using this technology interface is far more robust today, and has helped students grasp difficult subjects better. The students emerging from these classes are more confident about using technology later in their lives.

Q.What is the overall impact of this initiative?

Seventy percent of India’s population is centered on rural and semi-urban India. Children in these parts have lower access to technology and technology based learning. This is what we want to change.

Samsung wants to invert the pyramid, create digital education infrastructure for this large population base.

Samsung decided to bridge the digital gap between urban and rural areas by providing an equal opportunity for quality education to children from all backgrounds to become future-ready with Samsung Smart Class. 

Students are taught in these classrooms with immersive technology as the enabler. Teachers use the interactive Samsung Smartboard to impart lessons that go beyond textbooks, using interactive videos, presentations and other material.

Feedback from teachers and principals indicates that students do not like missing classes being held at Samsung Smart Class. They love the way visual content is used to teach, which engages them and helps them understand and retain different concepts better. Students’ familiarity with technology and gadgets has also improved.

Q.Is Samsung expanding this programme to more schools?

Since the start of the program in 2013, Samsung Smart Class has benefitted over 2.5 lakh students, enabling them access to digitally interactive “smart” learning opportunities. During this period, more than 8,000 teachers have been trained on how to use interactive technology to teach. 

We added 200 new Samsung Smart Class across the country in 2017. This includes one Samsung Smart Class at 70 Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya schools, which previously did not have a smart class. Another 99 Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya schools, which already have one Samsung Smart Class have got a second class room.

Apart from these, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was recently signed with the Greater Chennai Municipal Corporation to set up Samsung Smart Class at 28 municipal schools in Chennai. This is Samsung Smart Class’ first foray into Tamil Nadu and for the first time, Samsung Smart Class will be set up at the primary school level.

With these additions, Samsung Smart Class is now available at 652 Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya schools, 28 Greater Chennai Corporation schools in Tamil Nadu and three Delhi Police Public Schools, taking the total number of Samsung Smart Class in India to 683.

Q.What is your outlook towards the current education system in the country?

India is a developing country and our education system is improving by the day. Government is taking multiple measures for the betterment of the sector from the grass root level and as a responsible corporate we are providing our support through our Samsung Smart Class initiative. 

Samsung has extended its support to various government missions such as Digital India, Make in India and Skill India with its Samsung Smart Class, Samsung Technical School, Samsung Smart Healthcare and ‘Make for India’ initiative, which is our company’s initiative to create products for India and manufacture them in India 

Q.Do you think technology can be a way out to improve education in the primary level?

With multiple innovations happening in the country, there is a huge opportunity to improve the processes and infrastructure at the primary level. Samsung Smart Class is a classic example of how technology is helping build a strong knowledge base for the students to have a bright future. 

Technology enables a visual method to impart knowledge to the students which has been proven to have a better impact in terms of retention and understanding of the subject. 

Q.Can you share a success story of Samsung Smart Class?

There are several inspirational stories across JNVs. One example that showcases the impact of the Samsung Smart Class program is the story of Simran Chaudhary, a student of class 11 (Science stream) at Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Dhoom Manikpur village in Dadri near Delhi.

Before joining Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya and using the Samsung Smart Class, Simran did not have access to technology and equipment. Samsung Smart Class helped her expand her horizons and understand App making. With the able help of her Computer Science teacher, she developed a ‘Password Management System’. 

The Password Management System Mobile Application helps people store their passwords and avoid any loss and theft of data. The application helps users remember only one password which eliminates the fatigue for an individual.  

By putting the password, the user gets access to all other security passwords. The application is simple and can be used by different age groups in a simple way. By saving passwords for different applications like social media, bank account details or email on Password Management System, it saves time and effort. 

The success of students such as Simran highlights the success and positive impact of the Samsung Smart Class program.

Simran’s success, and also that of other students, is a testament to Samsung’s belief that “dreams become bigger when people and technology come together.”

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