Educators discuss issues of today’s students at Dubai conclave

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“All we can do is impart knowledge and experience, but it is the kids’ choice whether to take it.”

Over 100 educators addressed crucial questions related to youngsters’ use of technology during the educators’ conclave event recently held at Bits Pilani Dubai campus.

Organised by the Aditya Birla Education Academy (ABEA), the event saw school heads discuss key topics that impact the education system, such as evolving career paths, empowerment in education, and mental health of students.

Neerja Birla, founder and chairperson of ABEA, spoke about innovative workshops and techniques used by Aditya Birla Education Trust to nurture young minds.

At a session titled ‘Technology and Teacher – An Era of Reckoning’ moderated by Nargish Khambatta, principal of GEMS Modern High School, five school heads spoke on the benefits of introducing technology to students. Promod Mahajan, principal of Sharjah Indian School, said: “I believe we should not restrict children, it is their world. But how to bring them up is in your hands. Set some golden rules; give children the freedom they want; let them use technology but monitor them. We have to give students the platform to think beyond, and technology will help them best. And for that, we educators should first be tech-savvy.”

Sanjeev Kumar Jolly, principal at Our Own High School, Al Warqa’a, said: “The world is changing and it is now up to us whether we accept or go back. What we did in our days was not something that could necessarily work for our children today, so we shouldn’t impose our thought processes on them.

“Today, if you are not tech-savvy and do not have Twitter, e-mail or don’t know how to operate a smartphone, you will be considered outdated. All we can do is impart knowledge and experience, but it is the kids’ choice whether to take it.”

Demystify mental health

Birla, who also runs Mpower, a centre in India dedicated to creating awareness and ending the stigma associated with mental health, spoke on the importance of mental health of students.

“Mental health issues often go unnoticed because parents as well as educators feel it’s just a phase. We feel our children are tougher and cannot possibly have such issues. This leaves the children having to deal with problems on their own and at times lead to suicidal tendencies.

“To demystify mental health, educators and parents have to familiarise themselves with mental health concerns. This will help us detect the problem early, raise awareness, and turn risk into resilience. This is what we, as teachers and educators, need to do,” Birla said.

“Teachers have the noble responsibility of shaping the minds and igniting the imaginations of future generations. If we want the next generation to evolve, those who impart knowledge must evolve as well. So this event is important to create a dialogue with the teaching community in identifying gaps and look at ways on how we can enrich learning experiences for today’s students,” she added.

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