Bridging the gap with the human resources present at schools
–by Minakshi Kushwaha, Principal, Birla Vidya Niketan, New Delhi
Many people, even in the teaching profession, do not realize how unique is their workforce. They have highly educated members of the community along with a gigantic human resource. Unleashing the full potential of each student while making them future ready remains a huge challenge and there is a vast corpus of human resource available to schools that remain either under-tapped or untapped. This resource is generally skilled, well- educated, and widely experienced parent community.
In order to bridge the gap between text book learning and hands-off experiential learning, the parents need to play a much more proactive role in the daily life of the school, or to be more precise they need to be at the centre of it.
However, it would be too reductive to call the parent community a human resource. I prefer calling them resourceful humans, to whom our students, professionally and individually, are going to be exposed to. I can’t think of anyone who is better placed to give our students a peep into the real challenges of a professional life through workshops, internships, educational visits or encouraging self learning through organizing competitions and project work. Parents can play a huge role in the holistic development our students.
Association with parents…
Every morning when we open our gates to our students, we are infact allowing a whole lot of values – cultural, moral, historical, social, religious, and economic, and many more, to come together and engage in un-thought of complex ways. Children are the smallest and the most vulnerable members of the community, but are never blank documents. Seeking parents’ and grandparents’ participation in intra school competitions, pitching in for cultural shows, organize health camps, help in meeting government compliances, holding workshops in their area of expertise, conduct career guidance sessions, teach some skill, organize trips and excursions, sessions on legal literacy, recounting personal experiences for motivational talks – there are numerous ways in which the parent community can extend their role as worthy role models helping in the building moral and emotional health of the students. This is indeed an asset for schools with limited financial resources. It is true that parents are always happy to be of help.
Schools can have a most supportive parent community. With professionals covering almost all walks of life, they are always ready to share their knowledge and expertise with our students. In my opinion, the practice of involving parents in school life is a healthy one because by this they gain a better understanding and respect for the school culture and also fosters a commitment for mutual goals, thereby reducing a communication gap or the possibility of misunderstanding and mistrust. Children feel a sense of pride in their parents when they are called to school in the capacity of a resource person, subsequently leading to healthy parent-child relationships, greater self -esteem and confidence. Parents too feel confident, when they know that the school and they are on the same page. In short, it is a complete win-win situation for all.
Association with alumni…
A similar role can be played by the alumni of the school. Over years the students are placed in various positions all over the world. It is always a joy to have them back and the same is admirably reciprocated with gratitude. They can be called to groom students and conduct intra and inter-school events like entrepreneurship competitions, debating, MUNs and numerous community related projects.
Present students of senior classes can form a number of committees like event management, literary, coding, legal literacy, etc. These students should be encouraged to conduct peer sessions during substitution time and the follow-up of the alumni sessions throughout the year. This way, a well- structured hierarchical system manages the daily running of the school inculcating a culture of confidence, responsibility, teamwork and learning-by-doing, among other things. With the world becoming extremely interconnected, a symbiotic relationship and optimum learning from all possible sources not only becomes important but also extremely essential.
Minakshi Kushwaha, Principal, Birla Vidya Niketan, New Delhi has done B.A. (Eco), M.A. (Eco.), B.Ed &Diploma in Computer Applications. Her 33 years of experience and contribution in the area of teaching is immense. She believes in holistic development of children and as such her work not only emphasizes on provision of quality education to all students but also overall development of their personality in view of which she ensures organization of various co-curricular activities in the school, striking a right balance between academics & activities. As Principal of Birla Vidya Niketan, she has received various accolades like the International School Award 2014-2017 & 2017-2020 by British Council, ‘Excellence in Education Award’ by Directorate of Education, Delhi during the year 2014-15 & State Teachers Award – 2016 by Director of Education, Govt of NCT of Delhi. She is proactive and exhibits enthusiasm in taking up new initiatives for the betterment of school, students and teachers as well.