Towards a Holistic Education System

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Prashant Jain, Founder Director, Pathways Group of Schools, believes that the education system in India should be student-centric and not teacher- or curriculum-centric. In conversation with Sheena Joseph Cherian and Seema Gupta

Please tell us about the genesis of Pathways Schools.
The idea of Pathways was conceived in the year 2000 and much research has gone into the kind of education that has to be delivered.  We have studied the education models in India and abroad and found that students in India can beat their Western counterparts in  academic excellence but they lack when they have to present themselves to the outside world.
India was a world leader in education 2000 years ago because of the Gurukul system of education. The concept focused on engaging  with the students on a one-to-one basis. It was not a one-way but a two-way delivery of information. This was the basis of setting up  Pathways where education was student-centric and not teacher or curriculum-centric.

What methods have you adopted to train your teachers? 
A teacher should have the ability to connect well with the children and should be able to speak their language.
Pathways has teacher training programs for its teachers all through the year. Every Thursday, the school ends one and a half hour  earlier for students-teachers collaborative training programme. During summer and winter vacations, all teachers come back a week  earlier and a huge teacher-training program is run for the teachers at the school. The teachers are sent for training workshops held by  IB. Experts in various fields from all over the country come to provide training to the teachers.

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Please share with us about the cocurricular activities Pathways has taken up.
The objective of a school should be to educate the child in all spheres of life. Academic knowledge is only one aspect of education but  for the overall development of a child, various areas like dance, drama, art, debating and sports have to be made an integral part of  education. Pathways Schools has special educators who can identify the inherent qualities of the child and then help enhance them  further. We also have a brilliant set of teachers and educators who provide wholesome exposure to all co-curricular activities to  students.

What do you think is the role of ICT in education? How is it useful to students?
ICT should be used as a tool for education as it provides ways to enhance the learning experience of the students. ICT complements  education beautifully. It enables the child to do his work from anywhere and doesn’t restrict him to the classroom. It also makes the delivery and understanding of education easier.

How is social media being used to promote agenda of schools?
General social media is a very open platform and can be easily misused by the children. In contrast, a modified and monitored  platform which all children can be a part of should be provided. This platform can be used by the children and teachers alike to take  forward the experience of the children in education.

How has CCE pattern been introduced in the schools?
In CBSE schools, CCE has just been introduced but in the IB system, the concept of continuous evaluation has always been followed.  Pathways Schools hasbeen practising the CCE pattern since the inception of the school. Assessment of children happens all through the  year. At the end of the year, the teacher has the flexibility to take whichever best assessment he wants to include in the final grading.
A Pathways student is evaluated on two levels: achievement grade and effort grade. A child scoring an A in a subject in achievement  grade but a C in effort grade means he has only scored good marks in that subject but has not made much effort in that subject. This  helps the teachers know about the child’s multiple intelligence and his likes and dislikes.

What are your future expansion plans?
Pathways will be starting a preschool which will be a family-solution school for the young children. The Pathways Early Years is a step  to fill this gap. This school will take care of children from age one till grade five. It will be like an extended day for Pathways students  and a day care for children coming from other institutions.

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