Futuristic Schooling System : Pramod Sharma, T N Academy-Gangtok, Yadavindra Public School, India

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Yukti Pahwa in conversation with Pramod Sharma, who brings with him an illustrious career in education spanning 37 years to the school. He was awarded the National Award for Teachers by the President of India. He has served as Principal for over 2 decades across various institutions, including the T N Academy-Gangtok, Yadavindra Public School- Patiala and Mayo College-Ajmer.

Please tell us about the  international collaborations your school has engaged in.

Genesis Global School is running in collaboration with Clifton College, U.K. and L’Ermitage International School of France in Paris. Principals of both these schools are on board of this school.There is a continuous exchange of teachers to understand the best practices across nations. Taking internationalism further, we have created a room for video conferencing, mostly famous with the corporates. In school education, this is being experimented with for the first time. I am in touch with few schools, who will be engaging in the project by replicating what we are doing and then we will together measure the success of the project by sharing presentations and information. So the process becomes multi-dimensional.

I am aiming  to introduce ability to understand perceptions of others and self in various contexts amongst my students and eventually community. Example understanding of an Indian child of concept of pollution, where there are lots of industry, will be very different child who lives on an island, next to sea. So I want my children to understand that perceptions of the same problem could be different and we must appreciate it. I feel understanding perceptions is one of the philosophical points that I want to stress on.

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What is your understanding of role of ICT implementation, RTE and inclusion.

ICT is to play a major role for execution of RTE. RTE, nobody can deny its need, the only challenge is terms of implementation, which will smooth out over years. But its more important to get factors such as blackboards and teachers presence, in place.

At the moment, government has taken a softer route out by asking private school to bear part of the cost, along with the government. But the other aspects of the RTE that need emphasis should be checked. They say that 25% seats need to be reserved but what happens in government schools, shouldn’t 100% seats be reserved for the neighborhood children, because it is totally owned by government.

Your opinion about the opportunities and challenges that ICT use represents to education sector.

It does not hinder in anyway because it is important for faculty and students to be trained in ICT. We now have interactive whiteboards in every single class. So students can take computer aided learning to next higher level.

We also have school management system which will be digitalised. Teachers from varying background but for them to gel as a team, understand and work for implementation of the philosophy of the school is the challenge that we see before us, at this point of time. For instance, we have computer science syllabus adopted from CIPP (Cambridge International Primary Programme) as a early programme and we are also affiliated to CBSE. So computer science as a subject has been taken up on these lines.

While choosing ICT enabled infrastructure, what helped you zero down on a vendor for your school infrastructure?

All the products look fascinating but for me the proof of a vendor is backing of a happy school where their products have  been implemented. Many products are there in the market, lots of things are promised and we also fall for the big names in the market, there are assumptions that it would be good. But such is not the case always. We have gone to an unknown vendor from UK, which is providing services to a few school, not many. But we can not discredit the big names also. We also have some e-solutions from S.Chand, for a few subjects across fourth to eight standards.

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