Tag Archives: education

Skilling Gen Z beyond Classrooms


Venguswamy Ramaswamy discusses how TCS iON is preparing the ‘gems of tomorrow’ as ‘nation builders of the future’ by equipping students with skills beyond just academics.

In this 21st century, students are expected to constantly prove their mettle by navigating through more skills, capabilities and competition. Much of what students typically learn in schools today will no longer be relevant by the time they graduate from college. A recent Oxford University study found that 47 percent of today’s jobs will be eliminated over the next 20 years! Now consider this — most schools across our country are still largely focused on rote learning with very little input on the additional skills required to survive in this increasingly complex, competitive and rapidly changing world. The future is beyond academics just as careers are beyond the conventional ones.


In a society where routine jobs are getting increasingly automated, the best way to prepare for the future is to develop the ability to continuously learn, adapt and be flexible. Educators, academic researchers and policymakers agree that for today’s learners, 21st century skills such as creativity, curiosity, perseverance, adaptability, critical thinking, effective communication, collaboration and lifelong learning are more important than ever before.

With a vision to help schools and students across the country gain a strong understanding of these much-acclaimed 21st century skills, TCS iON has created IntelliGem — a first-of-its-kind meta-academic platform set in a unique contest mode. The goal of this national-level contest is to ignite a spark among educators and young minds and push the boundaries of growth beyond the school curriculum.


The topics covered in the IntelliGem contest are financial literacy, communication skills, creativity and innovation, global citizenship and universal values. These have been carefully chosen to give the necessary exposure to students during their formative (school) years. The jobs of the future will depend on human collaboration to design work for machines. Value is moving from cognitive skills to social skills. In the past, schoolwork was assessed on individual accomplishment. Today, teamwork and collaboration have become an important key to success.

A century ago, most scientific research was written by single authors; by the 1950s, it changed to co-authorship as the norm. Today, an average paper has four times as many authors as it did a century ago. Also, academic research is far more interdisciplinary, and is often conducted across greater physical distances than it was in the past. To co-ordinate all that activity and keep everyone focused on delivering a specific, high-quality experience, communication must be clear and coherent. Skills in collaboration will increasingly give a competitive advantage.

Routine jobs are the ones that are being replaced by automation. However, jobs requiring skills such as creativity, innovation, compassion and empathy are those, which are unlikely to be taken over by machines. The absence of empathy makes it difficult for machines to do what humans have excelled in — designing products or processes that will maximise utility for humans. Thus, design and creative skills are likely to be in high demand for decades to come.


Students from grades 5 to 9 from all over India can participate in TCS iON IntelliGem, which is conducted every year. In its second edition, which is underway, students from 100+ towns across the country are competing. Structured as a four-round contest moving from digital, phygital, to face-to-face rounds, IntelliGem is unique in every way — be it in using the patented TCS iON PAPERTM device to completely remove the need for printed paper or in providing digital learning content free of cost. The Teachers Network in the TCS iON Digital Hub platform significantly enhances ease of access for both students and teachers to learn and upgrade their skills, and thus keep up with the values of respecting the efforts of all the young student finalists and not just the winner and runners-up as it usually happens at contests with similar formats.

With initiatives like IntelliGem, TCS iON is well positioned to become a strong partner for the school education ecosystem.

Source –https://tatareview.tataworld.com/

Do You Want to Reimagine Education for Generation Z? Do it with AI!

Computers will overtake humans with AI within the next 100 years. When that happens, we need to make sure the computers have goals aligned with ours. – Stephen Hawking

This quote often scares humans instead of inspiring us to do all that is possible to combine human forces with AI. How AI can change things in every field existing today is unimaginable. It can have a tremendous impact, especially in the education system. AI can be used by educators to deepen their impact in the classrooms and create meaningful and personalised academic experiences. 

Let’s look at a few spaces where the presence of artificially intelligent tools is changing the game.


  • Exam Fraud Detection:

To combat the increasing problem of exam fraud, universities have started using facial recognition systems to create biometric profiles of candidates and then match them with photos taken during exams. This technology is also used to monitor students via webcam during online or remotely proctored examinations. 

Exam fraud exists even at the marking stage. To authenticate the identity of the markers, the face recognition system is used similarly. Another advantage of AI-enabled remote marking is the highly effective allocation of marking assessment – if a student in Japan has written an English exam, the evaluation can be easily allocated to a person situated in an English speaking country. The assessment can be quickly evaluated; results uploaded, leading to on-time announcement of exam results.

  • Energy Management of Test Centres: 

When a critical state or nation-wide examinations are being conducted, efficient real-time exam management is vital. TCS iON’s Command Centre has a unique Energy Management Solution whose sensors collect data in the real-time and the temperature of servers and UPS rooms . This translates into real-time monitoring and data analytics for preventing any future mishaps and maintaining them beforehand. Such measures help in ensuring that the exam is not disrupted due to power failures or similar issues.


India’s primary school enrolment rates are at an impressive 94%. This number, however, soon starts to look disappointing when we search for the dropout rates. The dropout rate moves to a staggering 20% by the time children move to the higher secondary school.

This number is a very poor indicator of the quality of education the students are receiving. Technology is making waves and changing lives in sectors like medicine, banking, energy and so on. But the one industry which would benefit the most would be education.

Personalised Learning:

Imagine if all the 94% enrolled students got a chance to pursue their education in a personalised manner, learn at their own pace, and give customised examinations. Artificial intelligence has the power to create this kind of learning environment for millions of students, which in turn can solve a lot of more significant problems like student motivation, pressure on teachers to attend to each child, and dropout rates of students. It even leaves time on teachers’ hands to attend to bigger goals like research or even pursue leadership roles.

Mental Health:

With the increasing amount of pressure and work in student courses, the number of counsellors are just not enough to manage the mental health cases. Some universities have started using AI-enabled chatbots to learn about student emotions and execute “intelligent mood tracking”. These chatbots, of course, cannot function in isolation, but when combined with human intelligence, a lot of the constant wait time to see counsellors could be reduced leading to decreased stress levels and increased student motivation.

Campus Management:

To increase student engagement levels and have higher student satisfaction rates, a lot of university campuses are devising ways to automate operations with the help of AI:

  • Chatbots:

Chat and voice bots are being used to offer round-the-clock support to resolve numerous IT issues related to devices, network connectivity, password resetting, or resolve frequently asked queries. In addition to the support being round-the-clock, the chatbots can handle multiple users at the same time, the resolution rates are much faster, and the implementation and maintenance costs are low.

  • AI-enabled attendance marking:

Schools and universities around the world have started using AI to make mundane administrative tasks easier to execute. Teachers in a classroom have to click a picture of their entire present class and the system, using facial recognition marks the attendance for that day.

  • Recognising Student Emotions:

Virtual classroom platforms can now realise how students are responding to lectures. It not only detects whether students are awake or sleeping but also tracks their emotions. This gives educators a firm idea of how engaging their lectures are and allows them to make changes accordingly.

The above ideas are only a few areas where AI is being used. The impact will continue to grow in the coming years with all the stakeholders in the education system – students, teachers, school leaders, and parents being affected positively.

To know more, visit: www.tcsion.com

Education Aligns Itself to 21st Century Needs

Rote Learning on the Decline as Meaningful Experiences Take Over

“Education is learning what you didn’t even know you didn’t know.” These words by Daniel J. Boorstin will make you pause and ponder. Formal education as a tool for information exchange has been in existence since the ancient Roman and Greek civilizations. Education was founded as an act of preserving ancient knowledge, which could be passed down the generations. With the digital boom, preservation is no more a concern. The current trend is to give learners the opportunity to gain experiences and deeply connect with the subject matter on hand.

Rote learning and unsupervised memorization is slowly fading, while educators move towards more long lasting methods to increase learner engagement. Since digitalization has brought the world closer, there are many parallel learning methods, which have been adopted in recent times. Let’s take a look at some of the current trending methods in education.

Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR and VR)

Technologies that can stimulate your senses and give you a surreal experience, augmented and virtual realities came into focus when the gaming world introduced them. In the education sector, AR/VR helps users grasp concepts better because it works on activating one’s senses. Research has also proved that concepts learnt via sensory learning methods stay longer with the learner. Wouldn’t it be better if you can experience the Amazonian forest first hand rather than learning through pictures? Virtual reality makes this a possibility.


Children running around in a park, kicking a ball and squealing; sounds old school? Gaming consoles, PlayStations and arcade games have taken over the millennial mind. In a bid to make learning more engaging and enjoyable, gamification of learning is one of the latest trends. Subjects and lesson plans have been converted to video game format so as to make it more relatable to the end user. The sensory stimulation adds value and helps with retention of concepts. Students are much more receptive to instructions once the mentor manages to capture their attention via gamification.

Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots

Traditional learning methods did not allow for 24/7 communication between learner and teacher. However, the emergence of AI and Chatbots makes this possible. Students can now instantly reach out to teachers and vice versa. Apart from communication, AI also helps with various administrative functions such as assessments, online tests and faster feedback. Chatbots help solve student queries real time and also provide information on demand. This promotes continuous learning and ensures that students have access at any given time.

Internet of Things

As with other industries, Internet of Things has made an impact in the education sector as well. Worldwide connectivity enables students to connect globally with peers, experts and educators from their classrooms. Textbooks have been upgraded to devices, and students can now work on assignments and submit them via their devices. It also encourages collaborative work and efficient use of time. Data can be collected and analysed at a faster pace thereby saving on tedious manual work. Efforts are channelized towards learning while mundane tasks can be handled digitally.

Blended Learning

Technology may be on the rise, but there is no denying the importance of human communication. Social interactions, group discussions, one on one sessions and, exchanging ideas form a major part of personality development. Blended learning combines the concept of traditional learning with technology to give learners a more holistic and comprehensive set up. In this method, lesson plans and study material are available online, but students also have the advantage of a subject-specific instructor taking them through all the concepts in detail.

Flipped Classrooms

On the other hand, flipped classrooms indicate a learning method where instructions are delivered via online sources, while assignments which are considered ‘homework’ are brought into the classroom. Students get the chance to collaborate both online and offline, thereby covering the complete spectrum of the subject matter. The mentor or instructor acts as a guide to aid stimulating discussions and provide guidance on concepts. Flipped classrooms move away from the single instructor concept where the teacher is the main focus to a more multi-tool instructional design. 

Bite-sized Learning

Given the wave of information that’s available around us, Bite-sized Learning is the perfect antidote to it. Relying on little bites of information, it works on the notion that the human brain can absorb and retain information that comes to it in small size nuggets. This sort of micro learning method proves effective when dealing with complex ideas and formulae. Having worked splendidly in the corporate training sector, education is also slowly adopting this method to draw learners and keep them interested for longer durations.

Lifelong Learning

Philosophically speaking we are all learners for life. As we age, the pace at which we make new experiences may differ, but human brains are sponges that are waiting to soak up as much information as possible. Lifelong learning works on the idea that continuous upgradation of one’s skills is necessary in today’s world. It removes the restrictive age limit completely, enables learners to understand where they lack and provides them with the opportunity to upskill at any given point in life.

All these learning methods prove that “one size fits all” is not the ideal way to go. With so many options available in the sector, learners can choose which method suits their abilities to help them be effective learners. A win-win situation for all!

For more information, visit : LifeLong Learning

Why Open Classware?

‘Unlocking Knowledge, Empowering Minds’, the legend on MIT’s homepage underscores the objective of the Open Course Ware (OCW) movement they started in 2001. Today MIT’s OCW includes over 2,000 courses, accessed by over 35 million users worldwide. A number of leading universities in every continent has launched similar projects to leverage the availability of the worldwide web.

In India, the OCW movement has been tentative, embodied in the government-sponsored National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL), to improve the quality of engineering education. It is anchored by seven IITs and the IISc, Bangalore. Another variant of OCW in India has been the Flexilearn portal of the Indira Gandhi National Open University, which not only offers a lot of free course material, but also enables online enrolment of students. Both are largely limited to the use of technology in delivering education, rather than unlocking knowledge and empowering minds.

While OCW has found enthusiastic takers across the world, including China, our top business schools have been lethargic in seizing the initiative. The only exception was IIM Bangalore which had at least a portal called OCW@IIMB. The portal seems no longer operational. When last operational, it had some ten odd courses across, with many without any published courses. It currently has a portal for ‘open education consortium’.

India needs hundreds of thousands of managers, even without factoring make in India initiative. And then there are the tens of thousands of SMEs, NGOs, micro-finance and other micro enterprises, crying out for managers in millions, of some acceptable quality. With 90% of our labour force in the unorganised sector, we need even more managers to steer them towards organised industries.
We have some 4000 odd management schools, some 99% of which run with abysmally sub-standard faculty. Properly qualified faculty with PhDs in management to prepare these managers are in short supply. And what is more, each of the IIMs awards doctorates in single digits annually, adding a very thin trickle of the potential management faculty pool for a country our size.
Imagine the opportunity for the well-established IIMs, if they could spread management education by taking their classes online, by just affixing a camera inside the classrooms of their best teachers! Wouldn’t that be like the prizewinning corn farmer whose secret of success was to share his seeds with the neighbours, because then, when the wind blew, their seeds blew his way enriching his corn?

Surprisingly, when this idea was mooted to IIM, Ahmedabad, members of the Institute’s board were apprehensive that this may dilute their brand equity! And yet, the tag-line of IIMA logo is: ‘Vidhya Viniyogadwikasaha’, meaning, the more you spread knowledge, the more it spreads! After all, MIT’s brand has not been diluted by OCW. It has added to MIT’s sheen several notches worldwide.

What the leading IIMs need to appreciate is that their competitiveness stem not from their course contents. Their true assets are the quality of their faculty, students, systems, processes and infrastructure and what they can do with these. Ideally by now, IIMs should have been in the thick of the OCW movement.
In short, the top IIMs need to do what MIT did for Course-ware. They could take the classrooms (ClassWare) rather than just the course contents (Courseware), online to millions of students out there. IIMs have better quality faculty than most. What if each and every course taught at an IIM, by the best of its teachers in every course, were beamed online to hundreds of thousands of students in thousands of private b-schools across the country or in Reliance Web-World-like outlets?
These outlets could be manned by coordinators trained at IIMs to help coordinate assignments, clarify doubts, set and evaluate examinations and quizzes, and highlight learning points. Online classes could deliver superior understanding of management principles to online students than what sub-standard faculty can do face to face.
The private schools could decide which of the Class-ware classes to subscribe to; other private students may opt for classes only in say, finance or marketing leading to certificate courses in those disciplines; they could pace their learning in an open university framework , say an IIM Online diploma . Thus, IIMs could penetrate every corner of India, and even beyond. The incremental cost of such ClassWare open to tens or hundreds of thousands of students would be negligible, compared to full-time education.
Given India’s skills in IT and our need to ramp up the quality of our managers, Open ClassWare may be an idea which is overdue. If we don’t do it, we may be passing on the initiative to an MIT or a Stanford. Actually, we may already be losing the race in this direction.

About the Author:

Dr. Viswanathan Raghunathan (born 1954) is an academic, author, columnist, hobbyist and a CEO. Since 2005, he has been the CEO of GMR Varalakshmi Foundation. Earlier he was President, ING Vysya Bank (2001-2004) and Managing Director, GMR Industries Ltd (2007-2008), GMR Group. He has been an Adjunct Professor at the Bocconi University, Milan, Italy, since 1990, where he lectures in behavioural finance every year. He taught finance and accounting at IIM, Ahmedabad from 1982 to 2001, where he held various positions, including Chairman, Post Graduate Programme. He is the author of Duryodhana (Harper Collins, 2014), Locks Mahabharata & Mathematics (Harper Collins, 2013), Ganesha on the Dashboard(Penguin 2012), The Corruption Conundrum And Other Paradoxes And Dilemmas (Penguin 2010), Don’t Sprint The Marathon (Harper Collins, 2010), Games Indians Play (Penguin 2006), and several other books in Corporate Finance.