Over the last two days our delegation visited three different schools to understand how technology is being used to further the educational experience. Some facts for context are helpful:
- 400 million students – larger than America’s total population
- 1% of all schools have internet – 99% do not
- 1.1 m public schools; 3m private schools
- 40,000 new schools are need today to meet educational demand
The first school we visited was the Ramjas School in New Delhi which serves a more affluent population. They have an HP partnership and are piloting a 1:1 initiative. The conversation was rich and like many similar discussions I’ve had with my Ed Tech team in Colorado. Training for teachers, common processes to follow, and students ahead of teachers all sounded familiar. Great experience with the administrators making us feel welcome.
Our second school, Government Senior Secondary School in Haryana, was serving primarily first generation learners. It was in a relatively poor section of India. But I did not feel that was a hinderance and the students spoke to us in Hindi with
their passion coming through strongly. I could not have felt more welcome to learn from them. They also have internet all
owing coding in HTML and Scratch to be taught.They moved from Microsoft products to Google for collaboration on team projects. Very powerful and emotional. Their tech team is showing other schools in the area how to make the digital leap.
Our last meeting on Monday was with a private non-profit foundation called Learning Links Foundation. They explained the challenges of the 99% without internet and shared the statistics above. Tools like the Smart suite are used heavily which makes sense if you don’t have internet. The digital divide is obviously much greater in India, but for any one student not connected to the vast educational resources the internet provides, be it in America or India, it is a hinderance to their learning and being productive in the 21st century economy.
This morning we visited Rabea Girls Public School which is an all girls Muslin school in Old Delhi. The 2000 student school serves middle class families. It was enlightening to learn from these ladies how online safety, values, and technology including Java and C++ were all part of there curriculum. I felt welcomed by the principal, teachers and students and I’m appreciative of the opportunity to go into a Muslim area of India and learn how the education of women has evolved. The journey to get there is a story in itself but for now, I’ll only share it through a picture.
I am beyond humbled by my experience in the schools so far.