Contextual global education in Indian school
Kiranpreet K Dhami
Principal, Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School, Hoshiarpur
Curriculum must provide the knowledge, skill, ability and wisdom for Karmic and Dharmic life since education in itself is the process of cultivating completeness in human beings. Here is how it is to operate in a non-city environment and what elements of global education are included in such schools.
Q: We can see that you operate your school in non-city environment. How are your challenges different from a city school and how do you ensure that the students are at par with others?
Dhami: Challenges have been overcome by sheer dedication and passion towards transforming education in the rural area with an eye on sustainability. Considering economic divide the main factor, funding is rationalized to support implementation of the desired curricula. With the belief that “these are not the children of a lesser God,” all help right from educational trips, sports/cultural activities’ coaching and equipment are provided for free so as to complement the nascent and strong fighting spirit in the rural talent. So the students never feel deprived as they compete with their city counterparts to establish a win.
Q: Is the present curriculum in tune with the needs of changing society?
Dhami: Curriculum must provide the knowledge, skill, ability and wisdom for Karmic and Dharmic life since education in itself is the process of cultivating completeness in human beings. Right from the discourse addressed by Krishna to Arjuna in the battlefield of Kurukshetra, the education has been in the form of an instructional module with a focus on task in hand. Present curriculum must be able to transform and help the present generation to think rationally and find solutions.
Q: Also, there has been a growing trend of contextual global education in Indian schools. In your opinion how much international education should be included in the school to have a right blend of Indian values as well?
Dhami: Social aspects of sympathy and empathy do help to inculcate sense of responsibility in today’s global education scenario. Focus of education as always is on learning outcomes and a shift towards a more global understanding and recognition of competencies is essential. All efforts must be targeted specifically to recognize the teaching and learning process in multiple contexts. Instructive and constructive approach must be compatible and effective in helping the child to use his knowledge creatively.
Q: What about integrative learning?
Dhami: All the administrative services involve decision-making that requires intellectual flexibility and adaptability to utilize varied source of information. This approach comes from only an integrative learning approach. We need to prepare students with a broad range of skills and knowledge so that they are able to sustain in the changing aspects at workplace.
Q: What are the 2-3 things that you have introduced in the school blending with the latest trends so that the students may be prepared for challenges of tomorrow?
Dhami: The school boasts of world-class infrastructure with smart technologies in place at a very nominal fee (average Rs 900 per month). We also offer English Language learning and assessment in collaboration with QUI-UK. Students appear for GETS examination.
Besides, to enhance brain development in the students, free Abacus coaching is given in the primary classes.
Moreover, social integration through various Govt. and Non-Govt. agencies such as Legal Services Authority, Red Cross, State Women and child Commissions is instrumental towards the holistic development of the students.
Q: We know finding good teachers is a big problem, especially in a set up like yours. What are 2-3 key things you might have tried that worked, towards solving this problem?
Dhami: Finding good teachers is a big problem in the non-city environment, but making of a good teacher is not a constraint. Competencies of teachers for effective teaching process are enhanced through professional development programs that also include English language learning along with monitoring and evaluating of their teaching practices. A highly cooperative school environment and good salaries have helped in retaining the good teachers.
Q: If effective and dedicated teachers aren’t available, what’s the solution?
Dhami: As said earlier, good teachers can be made. A good leader can always motivate the teachers towards effective and dedicated teaching through being a role model. A sense of belonging towards the school enhances responsibility. There never was and never will be a substitute for a good teacher.
Q: What message would you like to give fellow leaders who are managing school like yours in similar environment?
Dhami: In a non-city environment like ours, challenges are different and often require additional resources, to facilitate a continuous cycle of improvement through personalized learning. The students are from humble background so an effective communication between parents and school is essential to support the overall performance of students.
Be a leader who
‘Knows the way
Goes the way and
Shows the way.’
Kiranpreet K Dhami, Principal, Sri Guru Harkrishan Public school, Hoshiarpur, is Member of Punjab State Commission for Women and Punjab State Advisory Committee. She is also Executive Member- Punjab Arts Council (General Body) and Asstt. Director Education- Chief Khalsa Diwan Charitable Society Amritsar, besides being President of Hoshiarpur Sahodaya – CBSE Cluster schools. She is also working for the community through diverse forums with a passion to help the society evolve. She is heading a CBSE school that imparts education to students from more than 110 villages. She also works with a number of NGOs and seek their help for education of children from the economically weaker section.