In an era that is dominated by technology usage and where education is taken as stress, the need for real interaction between parents and kids has become even more important than ever. Sandeep Singh spoke to VarunYadav, Founder Member, Ghaziabad Public School about the current scenario of education in India. Edited excerpts:
Our institution was established in 1984 with a single room and six students. In the year 1992 and 1994 we got affiliation for class 10th and 12th and since then with the guidance of our Directors Mr and Ms Yadav we are smoothly sailing forward. We have started two more branches in Delhi NCR and there are plans to provide quality education in the rural parts too.
How do you maintain the quality of teaching in academics at your school?
Our school has highly qualified teaching staff and some of them are here from the time when I was a student. Thus, faculty in our school has ample experience when it comes to maintaining the quality of teaching. From the inception Peer to Peer learning is one of the pioneer teaching methods of our school.
We constantly keep an eye on the results of every student through weekly assessment and track the students’ performance on Enterprise Resource Planning to analyze the overall performance. Since the past our major emphasis in on academics and we would like to maintain our good record down the line.
What are the facilities that your school offers for both physical and mental improvements?
Both physical and mental well-being are co-related as healthy mind which resides in a healthy body. For the physical development, our school has all the sports facilities like Infrastructure and best gears for different games. The students from our school regularly participate in both inter and intra-school sports competitions.
For mental well-being our school has bring in a very refined system. We have tied up with NIIT for introducing Mind Champions’ Academy which helps the development of young mind on self paced mode. Traditional methods like meditation, Yoga and various mental development activities are being held in school from the past.
How do you rate the performance of your students in academic and extra-curricular activities?
I am very proud of our current batch of students as well as those students who were part of this school. Our students come from different strata of the society including those who have initially found it difficult to adjust to the school environment. But still, at some point or another, these kids have surprised us with their achievements.
I am proud to tell that in our branches at Shastri Nagar, the daughter of our staff is currently pursuing M.Sc in Microbiology from University of Delhi. These instances inspire us to help such students and their families achieve their dreams, thus proving that education is for all.
There are other similar examples like our student got selected for IIT and last year another student got through in NASA Space Research Program. So, all these achievements by our students during and after their schooling give us immense honor.
Where do you see India’s school education going?
Some good and innovative things have been introduced in the Indian education system. However, I personally feel that we are missing the Gurukul culture that we used to have in the past. The respect, the dignity and the connect that teachers and students had in earlier days cannot be witnessed now. Now days, the usage of technology has increased. But technology is for humans and we have touse it in a way that does not limit the actual interaction between kids and parents/teachers. We must bring in technology but we do not wish our kids to become robots. At the end of the day they are human beings and they need to have real interaction that would pave way for imparting value-based education. Educational institutions must take in consideration the pros and cons of the technology before introducing them to students.
What should be the role of the government in the Indian education system?
For the government, the best thing would be to send their people on field and find out genuine problems instead discussing the matter at their chambers.
The government needs to talk to stakeholders; students, parents and school institutions about the issues present in the system. They need to sit with the people, who are working day-in and day-out with the students, and then take decisions accordingly.
Moreover, India is a big country and there are many educational institutions spanning across different regions. A solution for a particular school may not necessarily be effective for another institution. Thus, government should conduct detailed research work for every different area and then provide remedy based on the needs of students for that particular region.
How do you see increasing participation of private schools in Indian education system? What is the role of RTE in this scenario?
After more than 60 years since Independence, school education in India has failed abruptly. Students who can speak and write are termed as literate. This situation poses a serious question which is whether we just want to increase the literacy number or are we really interested in educating our youth.
Private bodies are adding value to the education system and if they are contributing to bring quality education. I do admit that most of them are opened for profit-making but if this is the case then government can ask them to work as a company and start paying taxes.
I believe RTE will help the students but the policies need to move out of the offices and be discussed with stakeholders.
What should be done to reduce the stress level among students who are burdened with studies and extra-curricular activities?
Getting back to our old ways is the best solution. The question is whether parents are more stressed out or students? If we start calling education as a stress then how would we prepare our students for bigger challenges that are waiting ahead?
I feel that it is rather parents who are so much stressed about each and everything that happens in the society and at times they become over-protective for their child.
These students need to develop their emotional quotient to face-off bigger problems that are much bigger than the academic pressure. Again, I think that teachers and parents need to talk to the students to bridge the communication gap. They need to interact so that they can understand their kids’ situation and then think from their perspective. Rather than pushing students for everything, try to hone their particular set of interest skills.
Parents need to stop putting their unfulfilled expectations into their kids. Not every kid can be Shahrukh Khan or Sachin Tendulkar; but everyone is different and unique skill sets in their own way. Thus, parents need to put halt to their practice of comparing their kids to another and find out what is best for them.
As a part of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), how can we bring kids coming from socially and financially weaker background into the mainstream education?
As a part of CSR, we devote just one or two hours in a week and make good use of our premises during evening time by educating under-privileged kids. This activity helps those kids in two ways Firstly, they will develop a different perspective about life and secondly, such sessions will gradually make them eligible to be included in same league as ours. I think it is the responsibility of every educational institution to come together and plan such kind of sessions for kids coming from financially weaker background.
China is focusing more on skilled education rather than just imparting regular education. Can India adopt the same model?
I agree that with the help of skilled education, students can find ways to earn extra income but I also believe that education is needed to a certain level that would make them confident enough to know their skill set.