At Christel House School in Bangalore, more than one hundred schoolchildren from local elementary and secondary schools were given the unique opportunity to share their data-driven ideas for improving education. They included calling on governments to fund more computer labs in schools, dedicate curriculum time to learning about mental health issues and focus on skills development so that students feel prepared to enter the job market.
The event was hosted by NetApp, a global, cloud-led, data-centric software company, the India STEM Foundation, and World’s Largest Lesson, an education program run by Project Everyone working in partnership with UNICEF.
“Education must be transformed to meet the needs of an ever-changing world,” said Alison Bellwood, Executive Director of World’s Largest Lesson. “Today’s school students have a unique perspective, informed by their COVID-19 experiences and the world they see around them. Our teacher resources this year are designed for students to explore issues around SDG4: Quality Education, using data. If we listen and learn from students, we can find the solutions to make education effective for all.”
During the event, students presented bold ideas informed by local education data to an audience of education leaders, parents, and corporate leaders including Smt. K A Sadhana, Visvesvaraya Industrial & Technical Museum, National Council of Science Museums, Aurelia Ardito, Education Specialist at UNICEF India and Ravi Chhabria, Managing Director of NetApp India.
“COVID-19 presented an urgency as well as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the education system through technology, by implementing it as a tool for capacity building, inclusiveness and quality learning, without replacing the essential role of educators. Technology has huge potential for changing how education is delivered in India and can increase access to and quality of learning. STEM and digital skills are becoming increasingly important priorities for UNICEF as critical pathways to advance transformative results, helping young people become skilled in areas critical for the next generation labour force”, UNICEF Education Specialist, Aurelia Ardito.
“Our vision is to empower youngsters to discover and develop critical data science skills, preparing them to thrive in a data-driven world. Our own program ‘Data Explorers’ is designed to reach and engage under-represented youth in less-resourced communities and inspire them to bring about positive change at a social level,” said Ravi Chhabria, Managing Director of NetApp India. “Our partnership with World’s Largest Lesson and India STEM Foundation further broadens our reach bringing more students into the education conversation and data-driven world.”
The students’ ideas and data insights were generated in school workshops using the Fact-ivist Lesson delivered by India STEM Foundation. This Lesson was developed by World’s Largest Lesson and NetApp as part of this year’s campaign. Literacy rates, school infrastructure, and access to computer labs are among the issues students are exploring.
The world’s Largest Lesson and NetApp invites all students in India aged 10-18 to share their ideas for transforming education so that their voices can be represented in a global survey of students called the Transforming Education Survey. In 2023 the results will be shared in a report co-authored by children.