A visionary for modern day school education:

Dr Vijay Datta, the far-sightedModern School Principal

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“The mediocre teacher tells,
The good teacher explains,
The superior teacher demonstrates.
The great teacher inspires!”

In the comity of schools, Modern School, Barakhamba Road, New Delhi, occupies an exalted position — prima o pareil (crown of the institutions) and so do its inspiring principals right from Kamala Bose to Dr. Vijay Datta (the present one).

Dr. Datta has taken little time not only to settle in all walks of school life but also into the hearts and minds of the community of the teachers and the taught. Personal integrity, justice, and discipline happen to be his benchmarks.

  The credentials…

Dr. Vijay Datta B.Sc., M.A. (Eng), M.Ed. Ph.D. in Education, GOC-in-Commendation, Shiksha Rattan, President’s Gold Medalist, has almost three decades of experience in the public school circuit. He was instrumental in bringing the concepts of ‘life skills’ to the country besides propagating the idea of emotional intelligence and scientific attitude.

When asked the purpose of being here at Modern School, he quipped, “My credo is to help my colleagues give their best to the institution by creating confidence in them and in their abilities and to motivate them to contribute their interests and expertise. My administrative style is democratic and I guarantee my staff their rights and freedoms.”

Being a humanist, he has been helping the needy and the deserving in all walks of life, especially in the field of education.

The purpose of school education redefined…

“School education should help students become responsible world citizens in a world beset with problems, including the hold on us of conflicting group identities, the earth’s dwindling resources, hunger, inequality, and environmental degradation,” tells Dr. Datta.

“However, it should also nurture the sense of wonder that all children are born with, and make learning a joyful experience,” he adds. Datta opines that the basics of school education must be neither child-centric nor teacher-centric but “learning-centric”.

The purpose of school education in this age of globalization, according to Dr. Datta, is to prepare students to become alert and vigilant citizens and global ambassadors. They should be physically fit, mentally alert, socially responsible, religiously positive, spiritually sound in their outlook and constructive in their approach and more importantly, actions.

“Children should be educated to become productive and compassionate human beings and not just content-reproducing machines,” adds Dr. Datta.

“It’s of paramount importance that school education should empower young people with the skills needed to become truly global citizens of the ever-changing and fragmented world. It must promote excellence in chosen fields and emphasize the values of human dignity, non-violence, secularism and pluralism,” he adds.

On leadership…

“Leadership is about empowering others through example and perseverance. Over the past two decades and a half, I have endeavored to ‘make’ leaders by identifying and nurturing the individual talents of teachers and staff,” shares Dr. Datta.

Future plans…

Regarding his future blueprint, his response was, “Our long-term plans are to prepare students for the digital revolution; make environmental education an integral part of our curriculum; organize international youth conventions and invite delegates from schools around the world and explore possibilities of offering the IB curriculum.”

Message for students…

“I’m confident that Modern School students will always stand for the pursuit of excellence, tolerance, progress, the spirit of inquiry, humane attitudes and willingness to incorporate and accept fresh ideas,” says Dr. Datta.

On a concluding note…

Modern schools according to Dr. Datta, have become an agent of transformation and are not merely a center of academic excellence. “Schools should transform students, teachers and local communities to make the world a better place. Education is different on two counts — it is grounded in values and offers unlimited opportunities,” concludes Dr. Datta.

Coupled with almost three decades of teaching experience in English faculty, the major forte of Firoz Bakht Ahmed, Chancellor of Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad, has been his writing in various newspapers. Besides, he has been an education activist catering to the upliftment of madarsas and Urdu medium schools asking these to modernize and serve the country.