Thought Leaders Panel
Providing quality education to children is the mandate for the schools to make India a developed country. It is not only the private schools’ responsibility but also the government responsibility to impart quality education. It is indeed one of the important components for moving the country forward as private schools add to the changing economy of the country writes Bhawna Satsangi of Elets News Network (ENN)
Like most private schools, Global Discovery is also focusing towards changing the paradigm and education delivery system in the country. We are trying to contribute to the growing economy of India. There are 1.4 million schools in the country today catering to 250 million kids, school going students and 100 million of them are enrolled with the private schools, which is nearly 40 per cent. By year 2022, we are still going to be short of nearly 1, 50, 000 schools and that is the demand that exists in the country.
There is no government pre-schools available in the urban areas. We have ‘anganwadi’ set up by the government in rural areas. So, that’s the basic need of parents to put the child in private schools. Considering that need of Vidarbha region, we started schools all over Vidarbha districts. There is a need of quality education in a developing country like India. Looking towards the developing sector of our country, the motto of our education society is quality education at par with the metro cities. Computer literacy, language development, preparation for different competitive examinations comprises of quality education, which is must to be imparted to the students. The exposure to the students at international levels helps in developing good generation and the country.
India is the second most populous country in the world. There is around 125 crore population and we are moving towards the first place in near future. If the human resources are utilised properly, definitely India will become a developed country. Providing quality education especially to the school going children is the need of the hour and it should be the government responsibility to provide quality education. However, government has its own limitations. There are state governments schools which are facing lot of problems and do not have a proper monitoring mechanism. Most of them are regional language schools, which are not helpful for the students and parents, there is no proper mechanism for teacher training, no one shows interest to adopt new technology and there is lack of competitions. Because of the lack of amenities, we have observed one to two per cent migration from government to private schools. Therefore, private schools have taken the responsibility of providing quality education even to the rural areas. Today, the need of the hour is affordable private schools, which can help parents to afford the education of their child.
Today parents see the benefits of good preschool education. A child who has been to a good preschool system is more confident, has more social skills. We teach socialisation skills in our schools. Also verbal development also quickly adapted in preschools. Role of our sector changed dramatically from preparatory schools to preschools preparing them for formal schools. There are 70 percent elements of running a quality school that are replicable. That is why franchising works beautifully.
Eden Group of Schools was started in 2004. Since then, the school has expand to 24 branches in Rajasthan. There are three major categories of private schools that we look forward in today’s scenario:
The midscale is further divided into the lower midscale and the upper midscale. We started with low cost school and gradually scale to midscale and two premium schools. The reason to categories private schools is that we mostly generalise them in one entity. Each of these categories has different needs, the major need of the parents in the low cost school is that the student should read, write and speak. In the midscale, majority of parents is inclined more towards counting on the numbers of the students. The student should come in top 10. In upscale schools, parents believe that majority of the innovative teaching or global perspective teaching is done in the upscale schools. Today, what is required is to invent a particular education for kids because these kids are the future of the country. We need to make sure that the kids are more adaptable to the changing world and its needs. It is necessary to keep the learning standardised and this keeps on increasing with the personal learning.
We started our journey in 1946, in a cantonment and the school was set up to cater to the needs of the people. It was one of the first privately managed school besides missionary schools set up by the Britishers. Over the last seven decades, we are fortunate to have grown in terms of volume and quality. To sustain, schools have to have a strong set of value system. To sustain, it is more important to win the trust of the other stakeholders like parents, society etc. The fee structure is minimum and there has been no compromise on the facilities given to students. We have observed sudden changes in education system in the last 70 years and in the last decade K-12 segment has shot into limelight. Everything has changed, now with the single child or two child norm, the affordability to spend on education has increased. There is more awareness among the parents on education and are not compromising on the education of the child. Role of judiciary, role of media, and intervention of the government with the Right to Education legislation has been changed. At the academic aspect, earlier there was not too much emphasis on various activities. However, now there is a lot of transition from an academic environment to a more activity oriented environment. We have been keeping pace with the changing scenario and are using technology in the curriculum at the school level.
POINTS TO PONDER:
- Preschools to get named as preparatory schools as people understand what is it all about to develop the child to go to the next level
- Child Development, a combination of good learning spaces, experiential gadgets, technology use, innovation, keeping address of the time, metrics and measurements should be watched constantly to keep the pressure to deliver what has been promised
- Franchising is not a dirty word. We need to realise that the idea is to scale across
- Need to focus on standardisation, teaching and training which is very important
- People should start choosing teaching as a career
- Education should be affordable to spread across the country
- Winning the trust of the government is critical. We need to take our concern to the government through the mediums of forum which will help in expanding education reach
As soon as people have a choice, they can move from one to the other. If you open up the market, there is going to be a lot of competition and that itself will ensure that people do not misuse the situation. The competition will improve quality, give a lot of space for innovation and will also solve the issue on marks of the children, sooner they move to secondary level. The minute the processes in education is eased out, there will be lot of investments coming in, competition coming in. It’s a long way in solving these issues.
It is very tough to run a teacher training institute because nobody wants to be a teacher. This is the hard reality and everybody knows that unless we have quality and urban kids wanting to be teachers, we can’t deliver quality in the classroom. The quality is the teacher herself. When we talk about ICT as a source of delivering quality, it’s a supplementary source. The primary source is the teacher and this country lacks the aspirations of the teachers. At the very outset, it is no rocket science that education planning has dominated the economic planning from the past decade. There have been number of reforms, commissions and programmes. India alone is contributing to almost 100 billion people. Private schooling is on the rise. In India privatisation of schools is very high. The number of students enrolled in private schools is over 100 million compared to the US, which has 5 million, and in the UK strength is 5 lakh. Simple reason being that in the US and the UK public school system, which is a government run system, affords quality education. Some of them are almost free. In our country, this experiment went wrong. The school government system failed miserably in quality which is why private schools got the opportunity to move in and provide quality education. According to FICCI report, by 2030 India is going to be the youngest nation and the oldest civilisation. A large number of students of the college going age are going to bring up this young India. Every fourth graduate of the world is going to be an Indian product of the Indian system. So, it is really upto us to provide quality and skilled education to the world or not.
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