Private schools are providing quality education to children, thereby helping the nation in its development. Dream India Schools fit into the affordable private schools model, and the fee range is `12,000 to `20,000 based on the area, says Raju Sangani, Director, Dream India School, in an interview with Arpit Gupta of Elets News Network (ENN)
Last year, we had tied up with the largest school education provider in the world. We have opened 150 new schools in the current academic session, and our plan is to start 500 new schools in the next academic session. We are expanding our business in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, etc. We are also studying the rules and regulations of states and understanding the expectations of the parents. We are conducting surveys to understand the need of the areas and then we will open schools. With our present systems, parents are happy as there is no homework burden, no tuitions and no bags. Students can keep their bags in the school itself. We have an assessment system that calculates the progress of children throughout the year. We don’t let our students deviate from academics. This practice leads to our students becoming masters in all subjects. After passing out 10+2 from our schools, most of the students get selected in IIT/ PMT and other competitive exams. This happens because of the strong foundation they are getting in our schools.
What is the vision of Dream India Schools?
Dream India is an initiative to educate and empower the mass population with a focus on qualitative and affordable education. We are providing quality education at an affordable fee structure. We are currently present in eight states having 370 school branches. Most of our schools are located in rural areas and towns. Therefore, we keep a lower fee structure. Though we don’t invest much on infrastructure and buildings, we never compromise on academics, and our level is equal to any international school in academics. We take buildings on rent and provide all required materials and basic requirements. We have an integrated system with us. We have prepared our academic programmes keeping in mind the mindset of parents belonging to middle class and lower middle class families. We take complete academic responsibility of children.
Our schoolchildren do not require home tuition and outside coaching for preparation of engineering and medical entrance examinations. Everything is available under one roof. We provide study hours in our school for the students of Classes VI to X. Then, home work and various other things are done in the school itself. We also provide IIT and medical foundation courses to our Class VI to X students throughout the year, along with regular classes. In addition, we provide extra-curricular activities and weekend activities, which is important for overall development of the students. Our schools are responsible for overall development of children i.e. computer education, digital classes, online classes and various other activities. Our vision is to spread all over India to start 3,000 schools and we are moving in that direction.
What technology have you introduced in your schools to ease learning for the students?
We understand that technology is the need of the hour today. We have already introduced remote teaching classes in our schools like online class. We have a studio at our national office in Hyderabad from where expert teachers deliver their lectures and all students across all branches get the benefit of it. This is an online teaching facility. Besides, we have a digital lab in our schools. We are teaching through digital classes too. We have established an English language lab in all our schools. We are also preparing a teaching content library so that the sessions of all the lectures will be recorded and whenever a student wants to study a particular lesson, he can get the video easily. It will be done for all chapters from Class I to Class X.
Do you have teachers’ training programme to keep your staff up-todate?
To provide quality education for students, teachers must be trained. In rural areas, we don’t get good teachers. Therefore, we believe in teachers’ training, for which we also have a department in our organisation. We have experts who conduct training programmes for our teaching staff five times a year, while we impart training to our principals eight times a year. There is a continuous training programme for teachers and principals to develop their subject knowledge. They are trained on how to teach in the classroom, improve the performance of students, use technology in education, get content and reference books, etc. As we know, spoken English is a major challenge in rural areas, we are providing training to teachers. Likewise, we conduct a day-long training session for principals every 45 days.
What is your take on skill education, and do you offer vocational training courses?
This year, we have introduced Dream India Skill Centres. Out of 370 schools, we have identified some places to start with. We have started it on a pilot basis. Apart from education, we are also honing the skills of our students in Skill Centres. It is not only for our school children, outsiders can also attend our training programmes. Courses change according to the requirement of the area. While in some areas, emphasis is laid on computer education, electronics and mechanical courses are being run in other areas. We cover all trades, but it differs from one area to another.
We are thinking of helping candidates get placement after completing our programmes. It is a part of our strategy. We give them certificates, but it is not affiliated to any university or government. The duration of the course depends and ranges from 45 days to six months. Moreover, we are charging very nominal fee in Skill Centres.
Do you encourage BYOD or other technology sync with academics?
Most of our schools are in rural areas, where parents cannot afford Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)-like technology. So, whatever technology is required for quality education, we provide it to the students from school itself. The paying capacity is less in urban areas, and parents cannot afford the instruments required. However, we are planning to implement this model in our schools. Though, initially, we are in the process of starting it in urban areas.