India now leads the world in having digital infrastructure in the schools
Tech Avant-Garde (TAG), a technology-powered Ed-Tech company and Microsoft’s Global Partner in Education, is setting a new benchmark for Indian schools with the Carte Blanche – 2020 Digital School recognition. Select schools are being honoured with Carte Blanche Digital School graduation at a special function being held from 22 November, 2020 to 20 December, 2020 with the active participation of school trustees, principals, teachers, parents and children amongst various stakeholders.
On 5th September, 2020, post COVID-19 and the announcement of the GoI’s National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, Tech Avant-Garde started the record-breaking Knowledge L’avenir Conclave (KLC) webinars in association with Microsoft, Knowledge Key Foundation, LYCEE Corp, Efeeonline and Roshini Social Schooling. The largest congregation of teachers (5,000) took a first-of-its-kind test and 3,950 of them became Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) certified digital classroom teachers in a single day (27th September)! Till 30th November, they trained 150,000 teachers from 72,000 schools with a student-teacher-parent population of 76 million. The National Education Policy 2020 places the school teacher at the focal point of digital transformation of all classrooms and holistic learning. However, it’s a long journey as India has 1.8 million schools and 26 million teachers.
Ali Sait, CEO, Tech Avant-Garde, says that ‘Carte Blanche’ schools are the new gold standard in delivery of virtual education and early adopters of the Digital Transformation and Holistic Learning Program. He adds that “India is the first nation in the world where educational institutions have fulfilled the requirement of Knowledge Age by becoming a ‘Connected Learning Community’ as espoused by the UNESCO. In history any nation or a society, which adopts modern education practices, becomes the most progressive society of the world. India has the head start and we hope it maintains the lead. We hope Prime Minister of India consents to our request to honour the schools and teachers by gracing one of our Carte-Blanche Digital School Graduation virtual ceremonies.”
The list of Carte Blanche – Graduating schools 2020: Huddard High School – Kanpur, TCIS Whitefield – Bangalore, Litera Valley Zee School – Hosur, Cambridge Public School – HSR Extn. Bangalore, Embassy Public School – Bangalore, VLS International School – Bangalore, Oxford Grammar High School – Hyderabad, The Regency Public School – Bangalore, The Green School – Bangalore, SBBM Middle School – Ambala, Mind Tree School – Ambala, DAV Public School – Ambala, The Blossoms School – Aligarh, St. Thomas School – Gopiganj St. Thomas School – Gyanpur, Greenfield Public School – Bangalore, Carmel School- Bangalore, Clarence Public School – Bangalore, Florence Public School – Bangalore, Arya Gurukul – Nandivali, Arya Gurukul – Ambernath, St. Mary’s High School – Kalyan, Little Aryan’s Pre K – Kalyan, Crescent High School & Jr College – Pune, Aryan Presidency – Bangalore, Sunshine Worldwide School – Goa Royal Public School – Bangalore, Mathakondapalli Model School (MMS) – Hosur, Lawrence High School – HSR Layout, Lawrence High School – Koramangala Bangalore, Bunts Sangha RNS Vidyaniketan – Bangalore, Sri Aurobindo International School – Hyderabad, International School – Hyderabad, Dr. Virendra Swarup Education Centre – Shyam Nagar, Priyadarshani School, CBSE – Pune Priyadarshani School & Jr. College, SSC Board – Pune, Priyadarshani School , Moshi – Pune, The Orbis School – Keshavnagar, Pune , The Orbis School Mundhwa- Pune, Subbiah Central School – Tirpur, BGS World School – Bangalore, The Cambridge International School – Bangalore, Samsidh MLZS – Electronic City Bangalore, Samsidh MLZS – Horamavu Bangalore, Samsidh MLZS – Vidyaranyapura Bangalore, Samsidh Mother Teresa Intl School – Kanakapura , Samsidh MLZS School – HSR Layout Bangalore, Samsidh Mount Litera Zee School – Vellore, Samsidh International School – Vizag, Vagdevi Vilas School – Marathahalli
The schools eligible for the Carte Blanche Digital School 2020 graduation are those that have subscribed towards the MASP PRO / Digital Transformation and Holistic Learning Program (DTHL); wherein school teachers have been trained on Digital Teaching; where the school is conducting online classes daily for all grades; where teachers are MIE (Microsoft Innovator Educator) certified; and where teachers have trained the participants in the Knowledge L’avenir Conclave Webinars.
The benefits to the school due to Carte Blanche graduation are as follows: The school will be certified as Digital School – Carte Blanche 2020; The Management will be awarded with Transformist Certification; Principal will be awarded with Change Maker Certification; DTHL Coordinators will be awarded with Digital Catalyst Certification; Knowledge L’avenir Conclave presenter will be awarded with Adroit Mentor Certification; Teacher with digital skills will be presented with Empowered Educator Certification; Students will be presented with Connected Learner Certification; The parent will be presented with Participative Parent Certification; School will be eligible to become Microsoft Showcase School; Teachers who have given presentations in Knowledge L’avenir Conclaves will be trained to become MIE Trainers; School will get six month’s free Digital Fee Collection subscription from BBPS (Bharat Bill Pay System) on Efeeonline.
Each education stakeholder will be rewarded and recognized in the Graduation ceremony for going digital. Digital Transformation will be celebrated by inviting the management, Principal, Educators, Students and parents to speak about their digital journey in live Carte Blanche 2020 webinar attended by thousands across the country. These educational institutions will an example for other educational instructions to follow.
Carte Blanche Digital Schools 2020 will be recognized as the first Connected Learning Community in the world which is the new genre of education for the Knowledge Age. The people and society who adopt this education systems will be Future Ready and most progress society in.
Dr. Kulbhushan Sharma President, NISA and Director SBBM Middle School, Ambala, says, “The Government should declare this year 2020 as the Digital Year for Primary and Secondary Education. Four lakh Budget schools in India need to create Smart Students of the 21st Century by Digital Transformation and Holistic Learning by empowering teachers who are the central figures. Prime Minister gave a digital vision and roadmap with Digital India long back and the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 also continued the momentum for digital education and empowered schools. Parents cooperation and mindset is the key to success. We need all stakeholders including public and private players to come together to pool in for fulfilling the needs of children and their teachers in terms of digital devices and other elements. We would like to thank Microsoft and and Tech-Avant-Garde.”
Mr. K.V. Vincent, Principal, Huddard School Kanpur, says , “Those who had got used to customary classroom teaching never imagined that they would reimagine themselves and their methodologies in a crisis or calamity. They not just overcame the crisis but also moved forward. This is a great effort by resourceful teachers. They took several initiatives and interacted with their teams. Teachers have done a wonderful job of coming out of their comfort zone; facing difficulties and tough times. We are happy that our school received the Digital School certificate and the Carte Blanche graduation certificate. We moved beyond expectations in terms of the digital transformation and holistic learning thanks to Microsoft and Tech-Avant-Garde.”
Mr. Krishank Malik – Director-IT – Arya Gurukul, says , “The future is all about hybrid merging physical and online teaching models. Now is the time to plan a long term foundation for the future of our children. Tech Avant-Garde’s platform eliminates fear as collaborative learning starts with digital connectivity. The CLC paves the way for Happy Teacher, Happy Child, Happy Learning! Everything is online — Ganesh Chaturthi, Independence Day, Environment Day, Digital Admissions, etc.” He added, “CLC can help us become part of the global world. We can adapt and adopt digital technologies, methodologies and mindsets. KLC has touched every educator and inspired him/her. It has exposed us to new 21st tools, empowered autonomous and collaboration. We all are now working as one cohesive entity. School teachers are becoming students and emerging as 21st century teachers.”
The principals and teachers have had mixed feelings and emotions. Some like Ms. Priya Anand – Head of School – TCIS Whitefield, Bangalore, say that they were moving from darkness to light. Others said that after all the talk and fears, KLC had propelled them towards the much-awaited action of becoming digital citizens of the world. Yet others said they felt nice that they were not moving blindly in a digital world. And some others felt that they started the process of conquering many more digital learning frontiers. Some felt that every cloud has silver lining and COVID-19 had transformed caterpillars into butterflies. Most teachers felt that they were on Cloud 9.
Principals were happy that children in their schools had not missed a single class and had not been deprived of learning during the pandemic lockdown. They were happy that teachers had finally embarked upon the journey of becoming lifelong learners with digital classroom learning/ teaching. They were happy that digital tools were helping teachers forge new relationships with peers from across India and the world. Others felt that they were happy and relieved to do admissions online by building a robust ERP system. And finally, they noted that Parents had started writing letters complimenting schools instead of usual letters of complaints.
Education industry experts were happy that the customary classroom had transcended beyond four walls! They had never imagined that the pandemic crisis will lead to edu-warriors becoming resilient and overcoming the calamity into an opportunity for reimagining and reskilling! They lauded the great efforts and resourcefulness of Indian teachers and principals. They appreciated that teachers have done a wonderful job of coming out of their comfort zone and overcoming difficulties and tough times. They want them to build on the same do better in terms of being more effective, enjoyable and enlightening.
Mr. Deepak Khaitan of Sunshine Worldwide School Goa expressed that he was amazed watching teachers deploy the latest Microsoft tools and techniques. He wants them to forge ahead in the digital world. Goa is known throughout the world as a tourist hub and now its teachers will get connected to the global education community after getting digitally qualified and certified, he said.
Mrs. Saman Sherwani of Blossoms School, Aligarh, says , “Aligarh has always been the seat of progressive learning. KLC boosted the confidence of our teachers. Teachers are now exploring a new digital learning world beyond class walls and also textbooks using VR, AR and mixed reality.”
One Principal from Agra reminisced about how school teachers were stuck during pandemic but when this KLC program came, it got them all excited and they participated wholeheartedly. “Agra is known to the world thanks to the Taj Mahal but now our teachers are making themselves known to the world. The technological inputs is ushering in a new era of Digital Transformation and Holistic learning with MIE certified teachers becoming not just tech-savvy but implementing and executing digital classroom teaching programs.”
Ms. Brinda of St Thomas Gopiganj Kanpur. said, “Digital classroom training is now a necessity. Knowledge sharing has become easy thanks to technology. Microsoft has a robust syllabus, tools and techniques in education thanks to its global presence. It is bringing the world to Indian teachers. It is helping teach as well as assess students. It is helping upcountry school manage difficult challenges.”
Mr. Santosh Kannavali, Principal, Subbiah Central School Tirupur, says, “Microsoft ASPIRE school teachers learn great deal. The experiences at KLC comprised best practices — teachers take great strides to becoming digital natives and innovators. As MIE-certified Microsoft teacher, CLC takes us global on a 24×7 basis. We can also do networking or scheduling or organising at a click of a mouse.”
Ms. Asha Shrinivas Reddy, Principal of Priyadarshi Moshi School, Pune, said that their teachers had always idolised Satya Nadella and becoming MIEs were a proud moment for them. In the beginning, they were nervous of whether they would be able to deliver the same quality as they did in traditional teaching. They have now decided to take it further for the benefit of students. “The teachers got to know things, which they were not familiar with! They experienced cohesive learning being part of a global learning community. Now they were not restricted to same four walls but could explore the world beyond.”
Young Principal from IT background Arockia Jerald, MMS (Mathakondapalli Model School) High School Hosur (ISO 9001:2015 certified) ,said, “Our motto is ‘Liberating Creativity’. This journey of KLC urged us to liberate the latent creativity within our teachers and this led to many success stories despite trials and tribulations. Our teachers teamwork is praiseworthy. We are proud that our teacher Anamika brought laurels to our school. We thank our management for their continuing freedom and support.”
Ms. Rekha Sinha, Principal, Samsidh MLZS Horamavu Bengaluru, said that their journey of a digital classroom started three years back. “The pandemic provided a silver lining and enhanced the teacher’s digital learning process. They can now handle tech with much more confidence. KLC is a solid platform, which has boosted confidence. Getting MIE certified is a great achievement and teachers grown as a learning community. We are honoured to be part of this community.”
Mrs. Judith Singh, Principal of Cambridge High School Bengaluru, saluted the bravery of teachers, who are now adept at online classes. She said, “The teaching staff now explored an elevated and enhanced teaching methodology. They learnt digital software at KLC and it was a great experience.”
Mr. Asif Daruwala Director, Crescent High School, Pune, said, “Teaching has now become more relatable to students. It’s a role reversal of sorts. Teachers have now become students. They can now give personalised feedback on students to parents. KLC and MIE training enhanced the versatility of the school and teachers. saving time and increasing efficiency. Everything now happens in real time.”
TAG started MIE Trainer training program for the teachers who were given presentation in the Knowledge L’avenir Conclave. This program will be conducted over a period of 12 days. The participants were trained on the topics mentioned below and guided on how to achieve badges on each topic from Microsoft Portal. Once the participants completed the MIE Trainer Academy course, they were guided on how to get certified as MIE Trainer. They were also trained on Presentation Skills & Digital Persona. This was a wonderful opportunity for teachers to get themselves qualified as MIE Trainers.
The school in the Connected Learning Community is education’s home base, operations center, and data center. It is where teachers and students meet, discuss projects, establish learning goals, solicit help from one another and embark on new missions of discovery and creativity. These schools have embraced technology and made the organizational changes necessary to use it effectively. Schools can continuously improve and provide efficient service: With a ubiquitous network, enterprise software can help schools track inputs — such as finances, procurement, inventory, schedules, human resource information and student demographics — and outputs, such as performance information on pre-determined benchmarks and goals.
With better management information, schools can make better decisions. However, such data management requires an organizational commitment from the highest levels of leadership. Schools support teachers, students, and families and reorganize to take advantage of technology. Using technology, schools encourage teachers to experiment with team teaching, longer class periods, experiential learning, or other pedagogical models. Such organizational change can unleash the power of teacher and student creativity.
Administrators must ensure that teachers are equipped with the information resources that they need such as just-in-time information on students, local and state standards, lesson plans and content reviews. Administrators must also ensure that parents have the information that they need such as on-demand, convenient access to student grades, absences, learning goals, school projects and other information.
TAG became the first company in Indian education sector to partner with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) for the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS), a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) conceptualized system, for online payment of fees in schools and other educational institutions. Due to the pandemic educational institutions are experiencing two issues – one is to transform their teaching learning process the other is the fee collection process. TAG fostered Efeeonline is collaborating with Bharat Bill Pay System (BBPS) to enable digital fee payments. Efeeonline is a bespoke management system, which helps educational institutions to transform their legacy manual fee collection system to a digital system. The fees can now be paid from anywhere, any place or on any device.
Today about 18,000 schools are uploaded on this platform for fees collections. TAG has an MOU with NISA (National Independent School Alliances), which has 55,000 school as its Members; and TRESMA (Telangana Private School Association), which has 9,000 Members Schools. The above associations have mandated TAG to transform their member schools into a Connected Learning Community (CLC) vision of UNESCO. TAG and ICICI Bank, Axis Bank are collaborating to give unique solutions to schools.
TAG is helping the Government of India in its efforts to promote digital classrooms, digital payment mode throughout the country through the BBPS mechanism for enabling contactless and digital payments through NPCI’s integrated, accessible and interoperable recurring payments services to consumers and parents via digital bank channels as well as through a network of agents and bank branches. One single step of onboarding on BBPS makes any school discoverable and accessible on all BBPS enable channels, including BHIM, UMANG, Banks website, all major UPI enabled Apps and Wallets. This enables parents to pay education fee easily from their preferred Banks/Mobile Apps/Wallets.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) vide Circular no. CBSE/SECY/SPS/2016 has issued directions to the affiliated schools regarding collection of fees from students only online or through non-cash mode. Hence, all schools affiliated with the Board are advised to on-board on BBPS for to enable, safe easy and contactless digital payment of school fees.
The 4Cs of diamond equivalent of digital classroom teaching-learning in the future are the Change, Connected Learning Community, Conclave (Knowledge L’avenir Conclave) and Carte Blanche Graduation; and Certification for School teachers. TAG unveiled NEP-compliant Learning Management System (LMS) software called AZVASA, which helps teachers with STUDY, REVISE & ASSESSMENT modules. AZVASA Connect is a complete School Management Solution having Teacher – Student – Parent Connect in one platform. Schools undergoing Digital Training & Holistic Learning program to make the school & teachers future-ready, will be graduated in a ceremony is called Carte Blanche 2020 to a ‘Connected Learning Community’, which is a utopian concept and Shangri-La of education.
TAG fostered LYCEE Corp to meet the needs of every educational institution to transform from the four walls of the classroom to a Connected Learning Community (CLC). In CLC, students, educators and parents have anytime, anyplace access to learning; Learning is relevant, individualized and personalized; Schools have information systems that support accountability and efficient management; Schools, campuses, homes, libraries, businesses and global resources are connected in a dynamic, collaborative learning environment. It’s 2020 Vision of UNESCO. The product Lycee- Cyber Academe was developed under the fostering program of Tech Avant-Garde. From the stable of LYCEE Corp, Roshini launched Efeeonline-Bespoke Fee management system for educational institutions. Now, Efeeonline has a co-sell program with Microsoft called MASP Pro. Efeeonline has the following facilities: The ERP Platform: Using this facility the fees formats, receipts, dues and reports could be generated. Parents Dashboard: parents can pay the fees, get the fee receipts and can track the dues using this facility. Which is available online and as a mobile app on IOS and Android. E-Governance: Using this facility, the school administration can do realtime tracking of the online fee collection and settlements. Efeeonline is also available on Microsoft Aspire School Program offering as MASP PRO. This is a value-based offering, which has dual advantage – it enables digital teaching learning process and is also enables digital fee collections.
About Tech Avant-Garde (TAG)
TAG is a technology services organization which focuses on ‘Product Fostering’ which means Development, Nurturing and Promoting of the software products. To enhance customer support and user experience, TAG has innovated an App based “Help Desk called TAG” which is accessible to the user from anywhere, any place and on any device. Being a socially conscious organization, it has taken the cause of “women empowerment” in the digital age, it trains and employs women at its residential complexes called “Navy Campuses”. In these campuses, it provides boarding, lodging and continuum training, on software development and Help Desk management.