Training students for tomorrow is Challenging

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Carl Laurie, Principal, Christ Church School, Mumbai talks about changes in school system from pre-independence to post independence era. In conversation with Seema Gupta, Elets News Network

Please share your views on changing face of education system
The education sector in India is going through exciting times over past five years. As estimated, 47 million children need to get basic education by 2020. Education over the last five years can be termed as a transition phase as India has seen a mushrooming of new educational institutions, backed by resources from industrial houses, jostling for their share and recognition. We have the pre-independence schools that had a head start, and rightly can claim to be pioneers in quality value based education. Fortunately, there is space for the old and the new to co-exist and network together contributing to nation building through education.

How can we prepare students for future?
We have no choice but to move from the old to the new, the demarcating year 1989, that is, pre and post the impacting ‘world wide web’ but there is optimism as always in human capacity to adapt and change, the young are more comfortable with this phenomena, but it was the pre-1989 generation that created the computer, so there is no reason why the challenge of digital age in education should cause a murmur in hearts of senior and older teachers. Earlier education given by schools lasted a life time, but today what is valid this year, may be out dated next year. So, the greatest challenge is to prepare our students for tomorrow that we haven’t seen, a tomorrow that will be so different from today, and nothing like yesterday.

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Please highlight some initiatives that CCS took up under your leadership.
Value is the most important principle that governs every decision and is something that never grows old, outdated or stale. If values can be inculcated in our young, they will emerge like a tree that withstands all pressures. The system of having Mentors for smaller groups of 8-10 students helps the children to confide and stay motivated academically. Being an old school, nearly 200 years, we have a rich blend of experienced and not so experienced staff. Technology bridges this gap but bring tech savy students and experienced teachers together so that the beneficiaries are the students at the end.

“Value is the most important principle that governs every decision and is something that never grows old, outdated or stale”

Please throw light on special training programmes for teachers’ development?
Real life is the ultimate open book exam for students, hence it’s imperative that we, as educators prepare ourselves to prepare our students. We at CCS invest a substantial part in teacher development, and staff development programmes Right from training in fire-fighting equipment, disaster management to training in soft skills, computer based teaching, motivation and counseling skills to dealing with children with problem and an inclusive education to leadership workshops. It is a continuous and happening process ingrained in the psyche of all in the school.

What has been your priority as an administrator?
As an administrator, the biggest challenge is not educating the child, but the parent.We have to make parents understand that their child is the only star for them, but for a teacher, all the children in our care, are stars. We love them, we believe in them and we want the best for each of them that is why we are teachers.

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