This startup fights for fun and meaningful learning experiences in Thailand

The outbreak of Covid-19 was a turning point for Thai education. When schools closed and shifted to online classes, a lack of digital tools and skills, as well as outdated curricula, were laid bare.

dtacblog spoke to Chalipa Dulyakorn of INSKRU, the education startup and a partner of dtac’s Safe Internet project, to understand how tomorrow’s classrooms can be redesigned to build digital resilience among children and youth.

Create safe spaces in school

INSKRU has made learning more enjoyable for over two million students. In 2018, it reached the final round of dtac Plikthai, a platform to crowd-source socially conscious initiatives. It received the funding of 100,000 baht and was connected by dtac to a group of experts. Ms. Chalipa then used the money for creative workshops with teachers, which turned out a success.

Not long after, INSKRU was chosen as a partner of dtac Safe Internet, whose ambition is to foster digital resilience in children and youth by joining forces with students, teachers, parents, and both private and public sectors. dtac leverages INSKRU’s expertise and their community of 200,000 teachers, who play a vital role in redesigning learning process and act as guardians in school.

“dtac has set a strong goal in fostering digital resilience skills among Thai students. And to address these challenges, such as cyberbullying, teachers are a key in driving the agenda,” she said. “INSKRU can support dtac through our teacher community and idea platform. We have so many teachers who are ready to help make this happen.”

This year, INSKRU collaborated with dtac in the #BraveAgainstCyberBullying (#ให้ไซเบอร์บูลลี่จบที่รุ่นเรา) campaign, bringing together students, teachers, parents, and the public, to the 72-hour brainstorming platform to come up with solutions against cyberbullying. The results were used to construct anti-cyberbullying guidelines, which will now be implemented in schools.

“I have been approached by so many teachers and students about cyberbullying. Working with them allows me to see new possibilities at both a classroom and school level in establishing rules and guidelines to create safe spaces for everyone,” Ms. Chalipa said. “From the feedback we received, teachers are concerned about cyberbullying and feel it’s really an issue between them and their students.”

Master Teachers

In the dtac-INSKRU partnership, INSKRU enhances teacher capability and drive digital resilience to be included in the school curriculum. While dtac has a pool of knowledge and resources to continue to work and communicate on the issue.

“I like how dtac is crystal clear on what changes they want to see happen in the society. Their way of work is practical and relevant to social changes and trends,” she said. “For topics like cyberbullying, society already has some understanding about it. dtac’s efforts are therefore focused on building and reaching solutions to prevent cyberbullying and create safe spaces in school.”

INSKRU and dtac’s next steps are the forming of master teachers, who would act as role models for their peers. Ms. Chalipa believes that long-term changes must be driven by teachers themselves.

“We hope that master teachers will help us find new ways of designing learning process and curriculum that are more creative, fostering digital resilience, and supporting other teachers in the community,” she said. “Starting from this November onwards, dtac and INSKRU aim to build the first batch of 150 master teachers. We hope they will be able to make significant changes and foster respect for diversity in school. If successful, we will be able to scale this up even further.”

Make learning meaningful

The pandemic has urged many people to rethink the purpose of education and learning structures. For Ms. Chalipa, the main challenge for teachers is not lack of access to teaching tools but redesigning the curriculum for a changing world.

“Before the pandemic, parents expected their children to study hard and focus on the grades. Now that many people encounter stress from remote learning and economic recession, teachers need fewer indicators and more flexible timeline, so they can really focus on the learning process and development of their students,” she explained. “This is where support from parents and faster action by the public sector are crucial.”

The Office of the Education Council has proposed a plan to shift away from traditional education, which is focused on memorization, to competency-based education. The new curriculum highlights six competency areas, including self-regulation, communication, collaboration across networks, critical thinking, active citizenship, and sustainable living. Its goal is to encourage students to apply knowledge and skills gained from classroom in the real-world contexts.

“Office of the Education Council has this idea that if one student can be a learner, an innovator, and an active citizen, they will grow up as a good citizen who never stops learning and experimenting,” she said. “This is the character I want to see from the younger generations. Resilience and grit are also the crucial ingredients.”

Amid the educational challenges, this entrepreneur believes digital technology has the potential to break boundaries for both teachers and students. And by working with organizations like dtac, INSKRU can help bridge digital divides and build more equitable learning opportunities.

“When education is no longer limited to textbooks, teachers need to be creative in solving problems and work harder to create meaningful learning experiences,” she said. “I want to see equal opportunity in education, where every student is happy, and neighborhood schools can be great too.”