We envision quality education with new-age pedagogy: Dr. Neeta Bali, Seth Anandram Jaipuria Group of Schools

neeta bali

Academic rigour is strengthened with a host of 21st-century skills that we develop in children. The thrust is on critical thinking skills rather than rote memorization, shared Dr. Neeta Bali, Director-Schools, Seth Anandram Jaipuria Group of Schools in an exclusive interview with Sheeba Chauhan of Elets News Network. Edited excerpts:

How do you ensure that the Seth Anandram Jaipuria Group of Schools maintains high standards of education across all its branches?

Academic rigour is a complete non-negotiable at Seth Anandram Jaipuria Group of Schools. We adopt the best of new-age pedagogy and infuse it with the power of digital technology to ensure optimal learning experiences and outcomes among students. For instance, our schools adopt practices such as computational thinking to equip children with the know-how to frame problems in a programming language. We encourage the design thinking approach to problem-solving and differentiated learning to personalise education. Project-based learning is actively practiced in the Atal Tinkering Labs. Academic rigour is strengthened with a host of 21st-century skills that we develop in children. The thrust is on critical thinking skills rather than rote memorisation. We guide children toward developing an informed perspective about local, national, and global issues. At the same time, we ensure holistic development by nurturing sporting caliber and artistic creativity. All our schools have radio jockey studios to help students build their communication skills.

The high standard of education is upheld particularly through the regular professional development of teachers through the in-house academy called Saamarthya Teachers Training Academy of Research (STTAR). Frequent sessions for capacity building of staff to keep them updated, integration of the latest technology to enhance teaching-learning, pedagogies that spell modernism, and regular academic audits ensure that standards are maintained. Relentless efforts are made to ensure standardisation to maintain quality across various schools through the corporate office.

What is Saamarthya Teachers Training Academy of Research (STTAR) that your group launched in 2020 to build new-age pedagogical competencies in today’s educators?

STTAR or Saamarthya Teachers Training Academy of Research (STTAR) is a teachers’ training academy with expertise in developing the latest pedagogical competencies in today’s educators. The academy was founded in 2020 when the teaching community was faced with the challenge of delivering online education to students during the prolonged Covid lockdowns.

Since then, the vision and scope of the academy have expanded by leaps and bounds. Today, the academy is transforming the education landscape with proficiency in four verticals: teacher training, curriculum designing, school enrichment programmes, and academic research. I’m pleased to share with you that in May 2023, the academy conducted the STTAR Global School Education Conference which saw enthusiastic participation from global thought leaders, educators, academics, and industry experts. In the past, the academy has imparted ICT training to 10,000 teachers of government schools in Uttar Pradesh. Very recently, STTAR launched a new platform called STTAR E-Learning which offers self-paced learning courses for teachers on some of the very relevant topics in present-day pedagogy.

UGC has approved the hiring of Industry experts as professors for practice. What are your views on industry experts as teachers for schools? Can we see any such practice in schools of India? Will that be of any help?

We welcome the decision by UGC. Hiring industry experts as professors will surely infuse an empirical element in education as these professionals will bring real-world experience with them. This will help to reduce the gap between the erudite world of academia and the action-oriented domain of industry. Students will benefit the most from such practices, particularly in the schools that are beginning to rope in industry experts from various sectors. To give you an example, Seth Anandram Jaipuria School, Ghaziabad, hosted a special session by the world-renowned educationist and computer scientist – Dr. Sugata Mitra, a few months ago. Both teachers and students benefitted a lot. The value added by such initiatives is immense.

The group has many franchisee schools and has also ventured into preschools with the brand ‘Little One’ imparting quality education from KG to PG. What is your plan for expanding in the years to come?

Our focus is particularly on tier 2 and tier 3 cities where we believe, there is immense potential among young learners but not enough avenues to avail quality education. Presently, the group has 16 operational partner schools and 18 signed up and slated to open in the years ahead. By the year 2025, we aim to add 25 more schools to our fast-growing network. Our vision is not just to increase numerically, but to take quality education backed by new-age pedagogy to the heart of India.

The World Education Summit has been igniting transformation in the education industry since its initial edition. What are your thoughts on being a part of the 26th edition of this global platform on 4-5 July in New Delhi?

Having been associated with the event for last many years, my view is that it brings some of the best educators together on the same platform, enabling them to share thoughts, views, and ideas, and brainstorm together. The world of education is very dynamic, what with new advances in technology and pedagogy. Educators need to continually reinvent their methods, styles, and perspectives to keep up to speed with these advances. The World Education Summit is an important forum to initiate meaningful discussions and create a consensus on the way modern education needs to take.


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