“Innovate and upgrade with changing times”
says Jitender Singh Ahlawat, Director, R.E.D. Group of Schools, in conversation with Varsha Verma.
Jitender Singh Ahlawat
Director, R.E.D. Society, Chhuchhakwas, Haryana
The role of an educationist is to promote education while upholding the morals of students. He is a parallel parent, nurturing children as they grow. Jitender Singh Ahlawat, Director, R.E.D. Group of Schools is one such educationist who has devoted thirty years of his life into education. Here, he shares more about his experience of working in a rural environment, where even the basic amenities are a challenge. Excerpts.
Jitender Singh Ahlawat, Director, R.E.D. Society, believes that education should foster independent thinking, creativity, exploration and experimentation as a life-long process – all without compromising moral and ethical values. “The purpose of education is to bring out and optimize the hidden potential of every child in physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual planes. We aim to nurture them and prepare them for a balanced, healthy, happy, ever-growing, international-minded, out-of-the-box thinkers living to make a contribution for making the society a better place to live,” he shares.
Journey so far…
“R.E.D. Society, Chhuchhakwas, Haryana was founded in 1987 with a dream to create an educational institution firmly rooted to Indian values but with a modern outlook and approach. In rural areas, children do not get the environment they need and so, we thought that we will try our best to give them the education they require,” shares Ahlawat. Fifteen years later, they opened another branch in Jhajjar, while the Charki, branch was opened in 2010. All the schools are English medium and are affiliated to CBSE.
Curriculum – to change with time
On asking about his views on the curriculum followed in schools, Ahlawat shares that though the curriculum is positive and balanced, but there is a need to upgrade as the society is changing very fast. “We are lagging behind countries like Finland and Singapore, which upgrade things better,” he replies. “In Finland, I have seen total involvement of school and parents which help a child to grow. The more it is, the better it is. If methods and manners and positive, it is welcome. If it creates coordination and teamwork with the school system, there’s nothing like that,” he adds.
The winning edge…
Being passionate about education, Ahlawat always strives his best to help children achieve their dreams. “Children should have a dream and commitment for future. We try to create an environment for career counseling, NTSE, Olympiad, etc. We also try to prepare our students for IIT and NEET exams,” he says.
Challenges in rural environment…
Operating an English-medium school in rural environment posts its own challenges. “We don’t get good faculty easily. Then, the parental support to children at home is negligible as either the parents are not educated or they have no time or temperament to handle them,” shares Ahlawat. Besides, lack of transportation services, power cuts and insufficient water supply are other basic problems they face.
But, necessity is the mother of all inventions and Ahlawat shares that slowly, they came up with solutions as per the needs. “For example, to tackle the transportation problem, we first hired the buses, then we bought buses of our own. We also provide vehicles to our staff for easy access. It is a collective effort, wherein all teachers, student and schools co-operate,” he adds.
As far as teachers are concerned, Ahlawat tries his best to get the best teachers by advertising for vacancies in national/local newspapers. “We try to offer best package in the sector. We have in-house training and orientation programmes at all the branches. We have a research and training centre in Chhuchhakwas,” he shares. They also work with Mylestone for improving the teachers’ skills. With Mylestone, teachers get the well-researched lesson plans that help to expose the global skills and essentials to face the difficulties and challenges of today’s innovative world. The main goal of Mylestone is to empower the teachers and make the learning techniques simpler. “Infact, we give an environment for learning and growth and all teachers willingly try to learn and change,” he adds.
Ahlawat believes in team work and he shares that the responsibilities are well-defined to the staff and the principal. “The day-to-day operations are looked after by the staff and principal. As management, we try to facilitate the basic needs and social support. We have set rules and regulations, which are followed by one and all. We give them feedback and inputs, mentoring and monitoring them in the process,” adds Ahlawat.
On government bodies support…
“The basic reality is that the government tries to look after the interests of common man but private schools have their own needs as they need to upgrade faculty and quality of education. Balancing these things creates issues but in a democratic set up, it is important to consider all stakeholders,” he says.
Message to educationists…
“I feel that need of the hour is that private schools should change with the times so that they are successful in providing competitive quality education for being on the right side of the law. They must constantly innovate and upgrade as per the changing needs,” concludes Ahlawat.