Ramakrishna Mission CBSE and Ramakrishna Mission MPBSE schools in Gwalior started their academic session in June by going completely online. Ramakrishna Mission has collaborated with Notebook as a content provider where every school session will be conducted online, and the students can study from their home. They will not be coming physically to school until further notice as the timings for regular classes online will be from 9.00 am to 2.00 pm. All are well aware of the seriousness of COVID-19 fallout, even if their ward comes to school on a 50% student’s basis. Hence the facility of online teaching is in place. Since the lockdown of schools due to the coronavirus pandemic, a number of schools have been conducting some classes online, but Ramakrishna Mission schools at Gwalior became the first schools to take its entire school system online.
Announcing this decision, Swami Supradiptananda, Principal, RKM CBSE, and Director RKM, MPBSE stated, “COVID – 19 is a fearful surprise for humanity. We were compelled to explore a solution to minimize the damage to students’ academic performance. To conduct regular classes is the only solution. But how to conduct it? To suggest parents to send their ward to school even on 50% attendance basis will continue the anxious atmosphere among all. All these ground realities led us to think seriously to bring the whole school system online. The Notebook has extended free of cost support by making content available. Students and teachers have free access to videos and resource materials. We are really grateful to Notebook, who conducted a series of webinars which helps our teachers to upgrade themselves, develop confidence, and be ready to face the challenge. By now, we are well in command through the use of online solutions in this current pandemic situation. The Management, Teachers, Students, Parents, and stakeholders are feeling blessed and enjoying the benefit of hard work and planning behind the online solution. We recall Swami Vivekananda who said, “Neither money pays, nor name pays, nor fame, nor learning; it is CHARACTER that cleaves through adamantine walls of difference.” We feel Swami Vivekananda’s words gave strength to reach the goal”.
Live classes are being conducted using video conferencing, and teachers are sending video links from Notebook to students one or two days before the class for students to prepare from. The Notebook has been a key partner in this journey. Notebook’s short learning videos mapped to the CBSE curriculum made it possible for teachers to share high-quality content relevant to the class of the student. Launched in 2019, Notebook has emerged as the forerunner in curriculum-mapped video content for CBSE schools. Teachers at RKM are sharing these video links with students over Whatsapp prior to the class and then using the classroom time to engage in better discussions and debates. To ensure that classes are conducted with the same seriousness, as usual, the school has asked students to attend the classes in school uniform. Before the lockdown, Notebook was being offered to schools for use in classrooms as well as home-access for students. At the beginning of the lockdown, Notebook had made its platform free of charge for everyone to access from home and has been able to assist the learning of more than 5 lakh users during the lockdown.
Speaking of their vision, Achin Bhattacharyya, Founder, and CEO of Notebook said, “We started Notebook with a large social vision. Quality education had to be universally accessible, regardless of geography, socio-economic status, and language. And this is not being philanthropic. It is just being responsible. Telecom has successfully shown the incredible growth opportunity that middle India represents. So, when the lockdown hit schools, we made Notebook free of charge. The uptake, however, has far exceeded our own expectations. When Swamiji came as a speaker on our ‘Together for Education’ webinar series and spoke of how his school is implementing digital classrooms, we decided to help his efforts in every way we can, and what he and his team have done is nothing short of a seismic shift. It is only a matter of time before more schools go online, and people see online learning for what it is – not a compromise but a huge value addition to the teachers’ efforts. What is particularly heartening is that this happened outside the metro cities. Middle India is where our next big growth engine is being built, and Notebook is proud to be a part of that journey.”
With Ramakrishna Mission leading the charge, it is now expected that more schools will be adapting the fully-online route.