Change has to be Forward-Looking

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If you are running a school with the right vision, you will choose quality over quantity, says Siddharth Singh, Director, Emerald Heights International School

Siddharth Singh, Director, Emerald Heights
International School

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Please tell us about the journey of Emerald Heights so far. 
Our journey has been a little different from the other schools. My mother started the school 30 years back as a Nursery school with two rented rooms. Today, we are one of the biggest residential schools in central India with more than 4,000 students. Our campus is spread in 90 acres of land.

What challenges are you facing?
One of the biggest challenges for a majority of schools is the implementation of Right to Education Act. We understand that every child must get the best education. Teachers in government schools are paid very well, yet education in government schools is not up to the mark. The government is spending more money per child than anyone else, so why does a person earning `5,000- 6,000 per month wants his child to go to a private school? The government needs to look into where the system is lacking. There is a myth that private schools are only money-making institutions. If I start a hotel on the same land, I would earn much more. Challenges are inevitable, but we stand by our passion and dedication.

Please highlight some changes that you are looking at in the school?
We are bringing international exposure to our school and have affiliation with Cambridge International. Indore is still a very young place for international board to set in, but it is happening. This year, we have around 30 students taking Cambridge. In my opinion, CBSE is changing more than us. Indians are very hardworking and flexible. Ironically, Cambridge is moving towards the Indian system today; they have started marking and we are moving toward grades. Change is always welcome but it should be forward looking.

What major challenges do you see in school education in MP?
The major challenge would be to pro- vide quality education in government schools without putting any burden on private schools. Despite all the facilities,
most of the government schools are un-able to provide quality education to students. If you are running a school with the right vision, you will always choose quality over quantity.

If Central Schools can Excel, Why cannot Ours?

How has the school come over the years?
The Annie Besant School was started in the year 2000. Our Chief Director, P K Yadav, dreamt of a school which belonged to the average middle-class family and supported the cause of real education. In those days, the focus was shifting from school-for-education to business. Even in this area, there was no good school as most of the schools were in other parts of the city. Though our emphasis has been modern education, we have ensured that we do not shake the roots of our students or the society, while keeping intact our moral and cultural values.

How helpful is the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) system in improving students’ performance?
Though we are satisfied with the results we have got after the implementation of the CCE, we also understand that every system has its own limitations. We feel that continuous evaluation brings in an element of involvement and makes education interesting for students. We have CCE hours during which  students work on the project assigned to them. This activity brings both the teacher and the student close to each other.

How supportive has the Government of MP been to the schools?
The Government of Madhya Pradesh has little role to play in CBSE schools. It is implementing the Right to Education Act in schools in the state. Schools are also being made to enrol students from all sections of the society. We should bring our government school system on the lines of the Kerala model which encourages good pay and amenities to teachers in government schools. If central schools can excel, why can’t ours?


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