Teachers should have the capability of finding out a solution
Says Mr Ajay Pal Singh, Principal, Bhai Paramanand Vidya Mandir, Delhi
The CBSE has recently come up with policy reforms. Are you aware of the New Educational Policy draft? How is it? Are there any major changes as compared to the previous one?
Yes, I am aware of the new education policy draft launched by the HRD ministry but, I haven’t read it thoroughly till date. Our NCF is very good and this policy will surely add on some positive changes. Let’s hope for the best.
What are the major downfalls in our present educational scenario?
The major downfall lately is due to two major decisions—No Detention Policy and CCE pattern. Though CCE has been rolled back, it was a game changer. The intention of the Government was to make this continuous and comprehensive evaluation student friendly. The idea was good but the schools didn’t have necessary infrastructure. Teachers were not trained enough to deal this new ordeal. It had been formulated by, keeping in mind mostly, the urban population, abandoning the rural areas of our country.
Next is ‘No Detention Policy’. Once students are aware that they are not going to be detained till elementary school, they exponentially grow bold. Problems, once again, arise in the 9th standard when situation of mass failure becomes a common occurrence among students due to the lack of strong foundation.
No Detention Policy is neither beneficial nor healthy for a student’s overall development. But, what is the solution! Unfortunately education reforms is the subject of various state governments and the related boards. Additionally, many of them are still in favour of this policy despite its long-term drawbacks.
What sort of alternatives would you suggest to tackle the above mentioned hurdles in the smooth flow of the Indian education system?
I believe that elementary education acts as a strong base for further higher studies. Hence, they should not be taken lightly. At most, the No Detention Policy should be upto 5th standard only. To balance out this idea, the passing percentage can be reduced down from 33% to 30%.
Secondly, CCE pattern should’ve been implemented in stages, starting from metro cities, then tier 1 and lastly, to rural areas. All the teachers should have received proper training prior to its implementation.
In the recent years, CCE have promoted the use of technology, mainly mobile phones, among student population in the name of conducting research or for educational projects and assignments. In reality, it has only fuelled their addiction. Its role and usage should be limited.
Has your passion always been in being an educator?
Yes, my passion always lied in teaching. At the same time my interest lies in sports. I used to play three different sports at the state as well as university level.
My hometown is Bulandshehar, Uttar Pradesh. My father was in the education department. He is my inspiration.
Teacher retention has become a real threat for schools. Has it been a problem for you?
Yes, it is a problem and it remains the same as anywhere else. In my past 30 years’ experience of being an educator, I have not encountered a single individual, who claimed to become a teacher for her passion.
In yesteryears, we have seen an increase in the degradation of quality of teachers. They come in this noble profession for the monetary gain and not to shape future individuals or impart knowledge. That’s why, the problem of teacher retention has risen. It not only affects the smooth management of school but also shed a negative impact on students.
Parents are also somewhat responsible in this. They perceive teaching as a part-time profession. They then push their kids to pursue it half-heartedly or to be in it for short term.
The primary duty of a teacher is to boost their students’ morale and confidence. They should not forget that the ‘Future of our country sits right in front of them’. So, if one cannot enhance their abilities, they have no right to demoralise them.
In your 5 years’ association, what are some of the changes that you’ve brought about in this school?
In the past 2-3 years, we have rigorously promoted digital learning—with smart classes, projectors and trained faculty. We try to implement whatever new and good approaches come our way. We are also conducting a pilot project for our first graders.
We have started a student exchange program. In the past 2 years, we have sent two batches of our students to the U.S.A. and Europe respectively. We have introduced Spanish as a third language, this year onwards. Presently, we offer Chinese as a third language in 6th to 8th standards.
Do you have faith in career counselling?
Of Course. Three counsellors are currently working with us. In our school, counselling begins from the primary stage. We aim to identify children and provide appropriate solution early. If our students face any problem, they are free to contact and talk with the counsellors. After diagnosis, our counsellors also inform the respected families. If need be, special educators are contacted, who come in thrice a week to conduct classes with the special child. We try and bring that child up to the par in our mainstream curriculum.
Have you faced any unexpected challenges as the Principal of Bhai Paramanand?
Challenges are everywhere. They are always present in one form or another. But I am happy to face them head-on. Being a Mathematics teacher, I tend to have different solutions to every problem.
Would you like to share any message with our readers?
Teachers should find out a solution to all problems. Other than complaining on various issues, they should be passionate and devoted. Teaching is certainly not for all.