Mumbai

Government, private sector, education boards must work together: Minister

Educational discourse: Panel members (from left) Meenakshi Kilpady, Seema Negi, Kavita Aggarwal, Kusum Kanwar, Sharda Sharma, Pramila Kudva and Mahera-Goel Lakdawala at the event.

Educational discourse: Panel members (from left) Meenakshi Kilpady, Seema Negi, Kavita Aggarwal, Kusum Kanwar, Sharda Sharma, Pramila Kudva and Mahera-Goel Lakdawala at the event.  

Think tank to evolve State model; over 200 heads of institutions discuss innovation, integration and improvisation The Hindu In School’s Education Summit 2020

Quality in education is not an accident, but the result of careful thought and effort. This year’s Mumbai edition of The Hindu In School Education Summit 2020 that took place on February 29 stressed the need for schools to achieve quality through innovation, integration and improvisation.

Varsha Gaikwad, State School Education Minister, in her opening remarks, highlighted the need for cohesive efforts among different education boards, government and the private sector for improving school education. “In Mumbai, we have different types of schools and syllabus, but we are still sending children too far to study and compete. So we are forming a think tank to come up with ways to address this problem and evolve a Maharashtra education model,” said Ms. Gaikwad, the chief guest.

Ms. Gaikwad suggested ways in which private school teachers can contribute to providing equal opportunities to students from different sections of society. “Teachers from private schools can hold virtual lectures for municipal school students,” she said. “It will be our endeavour to help the professional development of teachers who are doing good work by sending them for training to other States as well as abroad.”

On the efforts of the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation to upgrade quality in civic schools, Ramaswami N., its former commissioner, said, “We have used Corporate Social Responsibility as much as possible in improving quality. Many teachers from the private sector, who are good at Mathematics and Science, used to come teach in the schools and engage them in school activities.”

Mr. Ramaswami also spoke about NMMC’s longstanding engagement with The Hindu In School (THiS). Over 9,000 copies of THiS are distributed every day to students from Classes VIII to X. “I got feedback from a lot of students that it really helped them improve their knowledge as well as language,” said Mr. Ramaswami.

Varsha Gaikwad was the chief guest.

Varsha Gaikwad was the chief guest.  

The conceptual age

Drawing the attention of educators and policymakers in the audience, Revathi Srinivasan, director (education) and principal of Smt. Sulochanadevi Singhania School, spoke about preparing children for the conceptual age.

The veteran educator pointed out that the very nature of jobs available to the future generation and their expectations are starkly different from the past. “Children today want designer jobs, customised for them. Their sensibilities and idea of job satisfaction, too, are completely different from ours,” she said. The skills required for these jobs are also very different, she said.

“We have to teach children to think with their right brain instead of focussing on the left and prepare them for democratic work environments,” said Ms. Srinivasan. “Rural immersion programmes and social work activities need to be integrated into the curriculum.”

A panel of ideas

A panel discussion saw school principals share unique initiatives taken by them to bring about innovation.“We face criticism that schools are not changing or keeping up with the changing world,” said Kusum Kanwar, managing director, Kangaroo Kids, Kandivali, and CEO, Add Up Skills, who moderated the panel.

Meenakshi Kilpady, principal, Dr. Sarveppali Radhakrishnan International School, Malad, said, “To make children understand the interconnections between concepts, we have started teaching them in a practical manner. Maths is taught by showing children how vegetable vendors weigh their produce; when teaching about food we cover topics such as food wastage and shortage.”

Similarly, Seema Negi, principal of Sanjeevani World School, Dahisar, said the school has adopted a democratic set-up. “Children are allowed to study wherever they want — on the stairs or somewhere else. We have special days such as no-bag day, days when students take charge of the class and discuss topics that are not part of the syllabus,” she said.

Mahera Goel-Lakdawala, principal, Early and Elementary School, Fazlani L’Academia Globale, said, “We allow children to hold a masterclass on any skill, craft or subject they want.” Pramila N. Kudva, principal, Pawar Public School, Kandivali, stressed the need to develop children’s emotional quotient. “Teaching children respect, sensitivity and EQ is crucial,” she said.

principal of D.G. Khetan International School, Kavita Aggarwal, said schools need to be given more freedom over content. “Schools are expected to follow certain policies even if they are not child-friendly, otherwise boards revoke affiliation,” said Ms. Aggarwal. “If a board asks us to implement a particular textbook, we must try to find out if we can reach those same learning objectives through other sources.”

Scientist’s point of view

Nuclear scientist A.P. Jayaraman spoke about the paradigm shift needed in education. “We are products of an education system that was designed by Macaulay to produce a breed of people who are Indian in appearance but English in their thoughts and opinions. We need to change this into a more relevant model. Reinventing the teacher, finding the right equilibrium between employability and life skills is the need of the hour,” he said.

Catching them young

Pre-schools are an important part of a child’s development. Reeta Sonavat, former dean and head of human resource development, SNDT Women’s University, Juhu, spoke about a pilot project conducted by her students in Nashik. Around 25 anganwadis and balwadis that fall under the government’s ICDS programme were reworked by the team using latest education research and practices. “We made the classrooms brighter, installed mirrors and most importantly trained teachers,” said Ms. Sonavat. “Giving them a digital tool with detailed lesson plans and activities, we monitored their progress.”

Sharda Sharma, deputy CEO and director, Dr. Pillai Global Academy, Gorai, said youngsters today are more socially conscious than their predecessors. “Centennials born with digital devices are called zoomers. This generation is socially conscious, they are concerned about climate change and they are guided by their peers. Schools need to take these points into consideration,” she said.

The event was powered by Cello Colourup in association with Armstrong Ceiling Solutions; the insurance partner was LIC of India, banking partner was Union Bank of India; happiness partner was HPCL and clay partner was Kores.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 6:55:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/government-private-sector-education-boards-must-work-together-minister/article30967494.ece

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