Boarding schools making Children Future-Ready in true sense: Dr. Prem Kashyap, The Pestle Weed

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From highlighting the importance and transformative role played by boarding schools in the holistic development of a child to speaking on the role of AI in education and the need to be cautious in its usage, Dr. Prem Kashyap, Principal, The Pestle Weed, opens up in an exclusive interview with Sheeba Chauhan of Elets News Network (ENN). Edited excerpts:

You have built a great boarding school in the foothills of Himalaya. We would like to know more about your organisation and challenges you faced and how you would like to define the benefits between the day school and the boarding school.

Having a boarding school instead of a day school offers numerous benefits. Boarding schools provide a structured daily routine that includes educational, extracurricular, and social activities beyond regular school hours. In contrast, day schools typically follow a standard schedule with classes during the day and extracurricular activities taking place after school.

In a boarding school, students reside on campus throughout the academic year, providing ample opportunities for their training and preparation for future challenges. With a limited number of students per class, boarding schools facilitate close and strong relationships among peers and teachers, allowing for greater attention to each student’s holistic development, which may be lacking in day schools. The close-knit community fostered in boarding schools leads to stronger bonds among students and a sense of camaraderie.

Moreover, boarding schools often offer a wide range of extracurricular activities, sports, clubs, and programs that go beyond regular school hours. This allows students to explore their interests, talents, and passions to a greater extent. While day schools also provide extracurricular activities, they are typically limited to after-school hours and may have a narrower focus on the local community.

Another advantage of boarding schools is the opportunity for students to develop independence and take on more responsibilities. Living away from home requires them to manage their time, studies, and personal needs independently, contributing to their overall personality development.

What is your NDA foundation course? Could you let us know more about the specific course offered to students belonging to class 9th and above?

I have developed a deep fascination and genuine affection for individuals serving in the armed forces. Over the course of the past 55 to 60 years, as a teacher, I have witnessed numerous gatherings where I have had the pleasure of hosting a substantial number of guests, many of whom hold esteemed positions within the Navy, Air Force, and Army. Within our educational institution, we have taken the initiative to embark on a journey with students aspiring to join the National Defence Academy (NDA) from as early as the 9th grade.

We provide them with a foundational curriculum tailored specifically to their aspirations. Moreover, we offer comprehensive guidance and assistance to those who are preparing for the NDA examinations and harbour a strong desire to serve in the Army, Air Force, or Navy. Notably, we have the privilege of having Samish Agarwal, a retired General Officer Commanding (GOC), and a team of other distinguished retired military professionals who diligently train these aspiring students, equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge for their future endeavours.

AI is the prevailing phenomenon within the education sphere, with widespread discussions surrounding it, what is your comment on the same?

Artificial intelligence (AI) holds significant importance in our society, and its integration into educational institutions has already taken place. However, to my understanding, AI is not a recent development. Its utilisation can be traced back thousands of years to a particular era. While European countries are currently highlighting the prominence of AI, India also has the potential to follow suit. In fact, India has already made remarkable strides in leveraging technological advancements such as AI to revolutionise the education sector within the nation.

Nevertheless, it is crucial to ensure that AI does not assume the role of a master. As long as it continues to serve as a tool, it remains acceptable. The reason for this cautious approach stems from the fact that excessive reliance on AI could potentially displace manual labour, exacerbating the already challenging task of job creation in a densely populated country like India. Although the automation of tasks through AI is advantageous for smaller European nations, its impact on our country would be different.

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?

I am truly honoured to be a part of this prestigious event. Education plays a vital role in shaping the future of individuals and societies, and I believe that platforms like the World Education Summit are crucial for fostering collaboration, sharing ideas, and driving innovation in the field of education.

I have been a part of various educational conferences and summits. As learning is a continuous process, I also learn from the great ideas and knowledge shared in summits. I look forward to engaging with fellow educators, policymakers, and experts from around the world to discuss pressing issues, exchange insights, and explore innovative approaches to enhance learning outcomes and educational systems.

I have been a part of various educational conferences and summits. As learning is a continuous process, I also learn from the great ideas and knowledge shared in summits. I look forward to engaging with fellow educators, policymakers, and experts from around the world to discuss pressing issues, exchange insights, and explore innovative approaches to enhance learning outcomes and educational systems.

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