IOS Kolkata Chapter organises Panel Discussion on “Redefining School Education in the Digital Age”

IOS Kolkata Chapter organises Panel Discussion on “Redefining School Education in the Digital Age”


An online panel discussion on “Redefining School Education in the Digital Age” was organised by the Institute of Objective Studies, Kolkata Chapter in association with Jibreel International School, Kolkata and supported by Madhubun Educational Books on February 4, 2022. The objective of the discussion was to get the opinion of the experts on the reforms that school education should be looking forward to, especially in the light of the global disruption caused in the last two years when the world battled against the COVID-19 pandemic. The panelists spoke, without mixing words, on the need to adopt the change towards preparing young minds for the future and keeping the schools future-ready so that neither the students nor their education become a victim to any situation like one the world is faced with currently. The panel discussion saw over two hundred educators, teachers and school leaders attending from Kashmir, Jammu, Gujarat, New Delhi, Maharashtra, West Bengal, etc. The following is the report of the proceedings.


1. Innovating education and educating for education

2. Engaging and empowering learning through technology

3. Getting the right blend for blended learning


Mr. Abdul Basit Ismail
Coordinator, IOS Kolkata Chapter


Prof. Z. M. Khan 
Secretary General, IOS, New Delhi

Moderator: Mr. Md Shahjahan, Vice Principal, Jibreel International School, Kolkata


Mr. Sankhasubha Roy 
Principal, Assembly of God Church School, Haldia (W.B.)

Mrs. Nupur Ghosh 
Vice Principal, Mahadevi Birla World Academy, Kolkata (W.B.)

Mrs. Ruma Purkayastha 
Former Principal, AIEF Global Master Trainer, New Delhi  

Introductory Remarks: 

While delivering the introductory remarks, Mr. Abdul Basit Ismail shared the initiative of the Institute of Objective Studies, Kolkata Chapter to conduct a series of webinars/panel discussions to study the various problems that ails the current education system propelled by the disruption caused by the two-long years of lockdown and its aftermath, and consequent online mode of education. The series of discussions, so planned, shall cover school, college and university education. The Institute is aiming at documenting the study, opinions, experiences and expert advice for the entire series to benefit educators, teachers, coordinators and school leaders and help institutions frame policies better.

Extending his warm welcome and acknowledgement to all the panelists for their contribution to the first discussion of this series, Mr. Abdul Basit said that the panelists and all attending educators would agree that the last two years have seen a sea transformation in the way the teaching-learning transactions have taken place and he has had the pleasure of observing this CHANGE from close quarters at Jibreel International School. He extended his sincere thanks to Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam, the Chairman of Institute of Objective Studies, Management of Jibreel International School, Madhubun Educational Books and all educators and school leaders,  in his own way addressing them as ‘CHANGE LEADERS’, for making this discussion possible. He concluded his opening remarks quoting George Cuoros – “Change will come our way. We can go through it or we can grow through it. We grow when we seek out solutions rather than let obstacles hinder us” – and calling this discussion a humble initiative to seek solutions.

Mr. Sankhasubha Roy 

Mr. Roy spoke on the agenda ‘Innovating Education and Educating for Innovation'. He laid stress on ‘change’ and ‘thinking out of the books’ to make lessons engaging for the students. He also added though change is the need of the hour, all changes should be well-planned and practical, keeping the available infrastructure and the audience in mind. He added that even a simple change, if planned and implemented well, can be very effective. As he has experience of working in different places across the country and abroad, he shared valuable examples to emphasise that different places have different requirements. Further, he also emphasized on the importance of the educator and his/her connection with the students.

While he shared his screen to show the achievements of the students in the online mode and how his team was able to make the experience of the students effective, he also mentioned that he doesn’t intend to make the teachers model the strategies shared and emphasised on the importance of a teacher to plan things differently. He was of the opinion that it is here that the innovation begins. He further added that it necessarily doesn’t mean one has to employ technology to be innovative but that the objective must be clear, and technology should collaborate if needed for meeting the objectives set forth. Precisely, he meant that teachers may employ simple educational tools but with a practical approach.

Considering a rise in screen-time of the students in the present situation, he suggested limiting the use of gadgets, and he shared his experiences of introducing Digital Detox Day in his school to achieve this. He concluded his discussion by talking about the mental well-being of teachers as well as students for carrying out the plans towards educating young minds for innovation.

Mrs. Nupur Ghosh

Mrs. Ghosh took over the session under a background created by the moderator Mr. Shahjahan who quoted George Couros “Technology will never replace great teachers, but technology in the hands of a great teacher can be transformational,” before asking Mrs. Ghosh to take over. A vice principal at Mahadevi Birla World Academy, Kolkata, Mrs. Ghosh has been heading the academics for years, and her role in implementing the technology-driven teaching strategies during the pandemic has been commendable. Speaking on the agenda ‘Engaging and Empowering Learning through Technology’, she explained how it is very important as an educator to engage ourselves before engaging our students and the importance of knowing the objective behind using technology. According to her, educators should not use a particular digital tool only just because they have learned it, rather a digital tool should be used to make sure that the concept being taught should remain with the student throughout their life. She explained how these digital tools not only help in interaction but also help the students to be at their creative best.

She took the attendees to an arcade of various digital tools like Padlet, Quizzes, Kahoot, etc., which can be used as a mental velcro. She further illustrated how technology was successfully and effectively used in her school to integrate different subjects with different forms of art when they celebrated Van Mahotsav, Republic Day, etc. She also shared how they have empowered their students this year by giving them the agency in preparing the school magazine. While giving importance to collaborated classrooms, she emphasized the fact that no technology can replace a good teacher. She added that in order to transform life, all of us should become learners so that we can provide lots of choices to our students and let them decide the technical tools they would like to use with proper justification,  keeping the pedagogy in mind. Her demonstrations and illustrations seemed as if they would never cease but she was politely reminded of the time, which left the teachers and educators yearning for more. Mrs. Ghosh’s illustrations proved beyond doubt that technology is a powerful tool for maximizing engagement among students, and once the students feel engaged, their learning is empowered.

Towards the end, she drew the attention of the attendees to the two most important things that one should keep in mind while using technology – one must follow digital etiquette and never fail to acknowledge the source of information.

Mrs. Ruma Purkayastha

The last agenda for the discussion of ‘Getting the Right Blend for Blended Learning' needed someone with a blend of expertise in pedagogy, psychology and administration, and Mrs. Purkayastha was just the kind of person. Realising that the virtual house was well informed, she gave a very precise run through over the slides on the various features of the blended earning approach and insightfully shared her mantra for the right blend. In her opinion, the right blend has only two facets – technology must be mapped with pedagogy, and it must be realistic.

The blend of learning should be in order to make the process more productive. While blending, we should keep the needs of our learners in mind. Also, what they are learning, where they are from and how tech savvy they are should be given equal importance.  Then, with a series of colorful slides, she explained the need to develop a social connect among the students and how to use different teaching techniques digitally. She made the listeners understand how we can involve, engage and understand our students by giving them choices. She added that we should leverage experiences to design meaningful activities. She laid emphasis on giving authority to students by guiding them, as the saying goes – “tell them where to look, but not what to see!” She believes that education is not limited to a classroom and hence the blended learning approach is the best approach in the 21st century, and schools should be ready to adopt the methodology for the education of the whole child for the whole world as it combines the strengths of both traditional and digital learning matched.

As a well-being mentor, she looks at teachers as individuals who can help students, as many as they can, to embark on a happy, shared and successful journey of education. In conclusion, she stated that “going blended” is not just about the use of technology; it is about rethinking instruction and effectively managing innovation over time.

Expert Opinion

Prof. Z. M. Khan, who had been a patient listener to an hour-long discussion, shared his pearls of wisdom, insisting the role of a teacher isn’t limited to teaching but that it extends to being a role model in the lives of the students. He shared his personal experiences to prove how education and educators help in grooming one’s personality. 

He flipped through the pages of history to cite an example from our late President, Dr. Zakir Hussain and his philosophy of open madrasah and drew a parallel to the methodologies adopted in the wake of the pandemic. He was, however, of the opinion that engagement cannot be prescribed as each student is a unique individual and so are the teachers themselves. Hence, the diversity and the flexibility that the new blended learning approach could pave the way for the innovation and empowered learning in the digital era. Schools, therefore, need to redefine the curriculum requirements, the paraphernalia and resource persons for their appropriate delivery.

In conclusion, Prof. Khan cautioned the attendees that in India, it is difficult to follow a yardstick of the teaching-learning process because of the given diversity, hence while schools redefine their policies, it must be kept in mind that democratization and liberalization of education is the need of the hour, more so, in the post-COVID world. 

Vote of Thanks

Mrs. Sanchita Bose, representing Madhubun Educational books, presented the official vote of thanks. She expressed a deep sense of gratification at the successful conclusion of the event and extended her sincere thanks to all stakeholders, including the teachers and educators who had joined the session from different part of India.


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