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Sumeet Mehta, CEO and Cofounder, LEAD

‘At School’ learning is core to education and critical to impact ‘Learning Outcomes’ of the 270 million students in the country. However, it is woefully underrepresented not only in terms of the attention given within EdTech but also in a lot of players/startups trying to solve the problem at ‘Ground Zero.’

January 04, 2022 1:15 IST | India Infoline News Service
In an interaction with Mamta Maity, indiainfoline.com, Mr Sumeet Mehta, CEO and Cofounder, LEAD said "most of the investment today in the education sector is being prioritized to solve the secondary problem of ‘Supplemental Education.’ Schools must focus beyond academics in schools."

What is the on-ground reality of schools and what is needed for us to deliver quality education in our schools?

Covid-19 has impacted school education, especially the delivery of quality education as well as classroom-based teaching and learning. It has become one of the major concerns for parents in India and around the world. Over 130 million students who go to Govt schools were deprived of any learning.

‘At School’ learning is core to education and critical to impact ‘Learning Outcomes’ of the 270 million students in the country. However, it is woefully underrepresented not only in terms of the attention given within EdTech but also in a lot of players/startups trying to solve the problem at ‘Ground Zero.’

Most of the investment today in the education sector is being prioritized to solve the secondary problem of ‘Supplemental Education.’  Schools must focus beyond academics in schools.

Views on school education in 2021 and overview of the overall sector

Schools have been shut for more than 20 months, and the pandemic has adversely affected students' mental, social and academic capabilities.  While schools in the metros took to online education as an alternative, students from small towns suffered due to poor infrastructure and lack of access to resources. The long delays in school reopening added to the challenges of students. While investment in the EdTech sector grew multi-fold during the pandemic, the focus was mainly on supplemental education.

Do you think schools will go back to their old ways once physical schooling starts completely?

While the learning losses across grades cannot be measured, it has allowed school owners, educators and teachers to transform education – not to the pre-Covid-19 days, but a post-pandemic new normal backed by a robust School Edtech. Schools have to integrate technology into every aspect of education, whether in the classroom or at home and give the students the best of blended learning.

In the new normal, schools will have to integrate technology not just with pedagogy and curricula but also routine administrative tasks, attendance management, extracurricular activities and PTA meetings.

Schools will have to broaden their vision to provide students with a holistic education and all-round development that goes beyond academic excellence.

What is your vision for schools in India ?

We want to transform the arc of education with superior technology solutions. The new normal – driven by School EdTech – is an opportunity for schools everywhere to recoup learning loss, infuse digital technology into pedagogy, revise curricula to maximize high-quality learning and become innovative in how we teach students. Schools can – and must – reimagine the classroom, transform schools into tech-based centers of excellence, make learning both engaging and exciting for children, and revolutionize the education system.

What are the future plans for LEAD?

We aspire to reach 26 million students and 60,000 schools by 2026. We want to fundamentally reimagine schooling for the schools through School EdTech and hence we are looking at making the back-end technology much more intelligent and modular.

Secondly, we are looking to deliver teacher delight so that she has more time to teach. LEAD will use AI & ML to automate homework checking which takes up 20% of a teacher’s time.

Lastly but most importantly, LEAD wants to enhance personalization, both for the teacher to build her skill and for the student - both by making the classroom instruction better and at home where we have a perfect match of what a student needs and what is delivered. 

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