Schools Need To Adopt Integrated Online-offline Strategy To Provide Seamless Learning: Sumeet Mehta, LEAD School

In an exclusive talk with BW Education, Sumeet Mehta, Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer, LEAD School, discussed about the company and more.

What were your strategies to cope with the impacts of COVID-19 on the teaching-learning process?  

Our strategies had to keep in mind the lack of readiness of local teachers and schools to get onto online classes immediately. We realised that online learning and teaching is very different from teaching and learning in the physical classroom.  

In order to help students learn seamlessly from physical classrooms to online classrooms, our central expert teachers started conducting classes for all our 800 partner schools and 3 lakh students. Local teachers took on the responsibility of solving doubts, helping students revise, checking homework and taking care of the social-emotional needs of students. This way we could meet the needs of student learning and leverage the unique strengths of central expert teachers and local teachers. 

What kind of changes were made at the infrastructure level?  

LEAD School provides an integrated tech platform for student learning so we did not have to do a lot of infrastructural change because the back-end was always ready and flexible to adapt to different situations. Students just needed to use their parents’ smartphone to access online classes and their homework, digital books, assessments, and weekend activities. We were able to deliver online classes through the LEAD Parent App and local teachers could also connect to their students through the app interface.

Provide some figures regarding the schools approaching you, pre-Corona and post-Corona. 

Almost all our 800 partner schools have moved to LEAD School@Home. In addition, we have had hundreds of schools reaching us to adopt LEAD School@Home because they realise they need a quality online schooling solution to tide over the current situation. Not only that, even when school buildings reopen, schools will still need an online solution because students will take turns to come to school.  

What changes do you see coming into the learning pattern post-COVID-19?  

Schools and learning will fundamentally change post-COVID-19. 

Schools will need to adopt an integrated online-offline strategy which provides seamless learning to students. In order to maintain social distancing norms, only part of a school will attend on any day. The remaining part will need to learn from home. This will require a big technology upgrade in most Indian schools. 

Online learning will need to become as good as physical classrooms so that those students who are at home do not feel a disadvantage. 

Time-tables and school calendars will also undergo a change to incorporate this online and offline reality. 

Teachers will need to become adept in using technology to teach, to maintain contact with students and to personalise instruction to each student. 

Do you find yourself prepared to fight with such a situation in the future and ensure continued learning?

LEAD School is leading the change in making schools ready for a post-COVID-19 environment. We have been in active discussions with our partner schools to lay out all possible scenarios. Very soon we will be coming up with a playbook for schools for a post-COVID-19 world which takes care of excellent learning while maintaining social distancing norms and minimising transmission risk. 

Do you think online will be the default mode for education in India? Are we ready for this transformation? 

Online will not be the default mode for education but it will become an important and integrated component of learning. Part of the school year will be conducted in physical classrooms while the other part will be done online. Instead of seeing learning as divided between offline and online, we need to imagine a world where learning is seamless between online and offline for students. 

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