Adapting to Changes to be FUTURE-READY

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Savita Venkat
Principal, Bombay Cambridge School (BCS), believes that skills-based education and adapting to the changes taking place around is a lifelong learning. She tells Aamir H Kaki of Elets News Network (ENN) about the changing education scenario, need for teacher’s training, technological transformation in education, BCS’ initiatives and tie-ups with international institutions and more

How do you see the education scenario in India as compared to other countries?
The education scenario in India is still traditional in tilt, as compared to other countries. Syllabi and institutions in the country are even now catering only to knowledge development rather than skill development or application of skills. In other countries, skills and their applications are woven into the syllabi, which train students to apply what they have learnt in real life. It is a lifelong learning. The 21st-century skills in education are already being applied in other parts of the world. In India, the awareness has begun now.

In recent years, there has been a positive shift in the outlook on education. The 21st century skills, skill-based education, career-focussed education, vocational training and application of skills, along with life skills, are being looked at to play a major role in education now. A lot of discussions are also happening at the statutory level in this area. Surely, there will be a major shift seen and then the Indian education system will be a pioneer in balancing emotional intelligence.

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With BCS in education for more than two decades; do you see any paradigm shift in education and learning space?
Bombay Cambridge School is a pioneer in education. It constantly studies the changing dynamics of the world and keeps introducing the new trends in its way of imparting education. This empowers students with latest tools, helps build their confidence and motivates them to apply the skills learnt in day-to-day life.

The school has achieved several milestones through initiatives, such as introduction of computers, having a care centre with experts in counselling and remediation, imparting life skills, physical safety modules, technology driven classrooms, collaborative teaching-learning methodologies, research, and project-based learning and self-assessments, along with successful concepts. We have also ensured 100 per cent participation of students in the events of the school, helping them explore their unique talents, giving all an opportunity to understand themselves without getting into comparisons and one-upmanship through no competition policy in the kindergarten and primary sections. These all have led Bombay Cambridge School to inculcate in education an emotional and spiritual intelligence, apart from intellectual development. Thus, 21st century skills, vocational skills and career-oriented education are moulded into learning as inclusion of different paradigm changes taking place across the education spectrum.

How, according to you, educators/ teachers need to change themselves to become future-ready?
Educators and teachers need to always be aware of the winds of change, need to be tech-savvy, bring in the human touch, ensure an attitudinal shift, understand child psychology, learn skills on handling today’s student and have a vision. The educators must realise that they are the change-makers to the society. Whatever students learn in schools today will become part of the society. So, teachers have to be sensitive to the needs of the futuristic society and bring about change in the education system carefully.

With changing education dynamics, how important is teachers’ training with regard to nurturing students?
Teachers’ training is highly important. Schools need to invest regularly in training of their staff. It prepares the teachers for the changing trends in education. Trainings related to technological advancements, understanding students’ mindset and sound critical thinking are absolutely required. Teachers also need to be trained to keep a balance between a scientii c temperament and a spiritual mind. The 21st century skills and ASK training are a must for teachers. Schools must facilitate these training. One of the key factors of a quality school is a welltrained and well-equipped staff.

How technological transformations and innovative learning tools can change the education landscape in India in the coming years?
Large classrooms and teacher-student ratio can be made productive by fully using technology in the classroom and bringing in transformation and innovative learning tools like virtual i eld trips, worldwide experts in classrooms, webinars, presentations, TED talks, online evaluations, mobile apps for learning, etc. Internet can facilitate quicker and faster learning and make research effortless.

What are the future plans of your school? Are you planning any tieups with international institutions?
The school has tie-ups with international organisations and institutions. International student-teacher exchange programmes are already going on. The school is planning to have tie-ups with international universities and seeking memberships of international organisations that are catering to technology, globalisation and international collaborations. The school is also planning to be a Microsoft centre.
We are already certii ed by the World Education Foundation (WEF), the UK. Extending oneself in education is a continuous process, which the school always believes in. The memberships with COBIS and CIS are on the anvil. Exchange programmes with Spain, sports representation to different parts of the country, participation in youth programmes, and MUN programmes internationally are being planned for the next three years. Currently, the school participates in HMUN, NASA trips and British Council programmes

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