Prashant Parashar – Technology has been a great enabler, but it can never be a substitute for a passionate, immaculate, and dedicated teacher…

Technology has been a great enabler, but it can never be a substitute for a passionate, immaculate, and dedicated teacher…

feels Mr. Prashant Parashar, Principal, N.K. Bagrodia Public School (Rohini)

How long have you been associated with N.K. Bagrodia Public school? What is your vision?

It has been an enriching and satisfying experience having been associated with N.K. Bagrodia Public School, Rohini for last seven years. My vision is to pursue academic excellence, ensure continuous improvement of school, set pace in the field of school education, instil an astute sense of scientific temper and enquiry in students, interspersing with strong values and ethos which go behind providing man-making and character-building education.

The ongoing pandemic has shifted the traditional classrooms to rectangular screens. All of us are digitally connected now, wherein the classroom protocols can easily be averted. What is the better medium according to you, the digital one or the traditional one we have had for so many years?

There is no substitute for a teacher educator teaching face to face in a traditional classroom situation. There is nothing called good or bad, and everything has its share of pros and cons. Technology has been a great enabler, but it can never be a substitute for a passionate, immaculate, and dedicated teacher working in a classroom situation. Nonetheless, the influx of technology into the classrooms has its own share of benefits and we can reap rich dividends by making proper use of it as a facilitator to transact our lessons more realistically, meaningfully and impactfully.

Our educators are under huge stress since the beginning of the pandemic, from coping with internet connectivity issues and erratic power supply to more structural issues like curriculum designing and teaching techniques. How are your teachers overcoming such challenges? Did you arrange for some special training for them?

I do agree that it was a stressful and uphill task for majority of the educators to understand, learn and master the nuances of technology, and moving out of the comfort zone was never easy for them. But, everybody stood up to the challenge and it was simply an amazing and a mind-blowing experience. For all this to happen smoothly and to do away with the homeostasis, a lot of hand holding, and quality training programmes were conducted by various stakeholders, and our resourceful teacher in-charges who helped the teacher educators in overcoming initial hiccups.

In this new kind of one-way teaching, how are they (the teachers) managing and monitoring students’ active involvement?

The teachers are managing and monitoring the students’ active involvement by way of conducting one-to-one live sessions, ensuring timely distribution and submission of worksheets/assignments, conducting online assessments, programmes, and events. All this is, meticulously and pragmatically, being handled by our teachers through meaningful and soulful interaction with the students as well as with the parents from time to time. Open House Sessions, multiple mode of assessments and PTMs conducted online have been hugely beneficial. Online monitoring, notebook correction, submission of work online, conduct of online inter and intra School events, activities and programmes ensures everyone’s active involvement and participation.

As you already know, National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 has been approved and is expected to be implemented shortly. Your comments?

The advent of NEP 2020 is a welcome step by the Government and will definitely be a milestone in achieving the educational aims and objectives. It has lots of promises, hopes and aspirations for the overhaul of our education system. All this would require a mindful and meaningful implementation by all the stakeholders involved. Moreover, the government should find ways and means to allocate, ever elusive, 6% of the GDP towards the welfare and development of educational initiatives to do justice to the society.

What are your thoughts on students achieving near perfect scores in board exams? How will NEP solve this aberration in our examination system?

Perfect scores in Mathematics and Science is justifiable by all standards. But assigning cent percent marks in literary subjects is an aberration. NEP aims to solve this by way of doing away with the habit of rote learning and assessing students’ knowledge by moving up the pyramid of the Bloom’s Taxonomy. Laying more stress on essay type answers, case-study based questions, application, analysis, and synthesis-based questions will adjudge the presentation and writing skills of the students which will ultimately do a lot of good to them.

What are the key challenges that you go through as a leader and how do you overcome it?

The key challenges which I face as a leader are humongous as there are plenty of loopholes to plugin. The biggest challenge is to provide a man-making and character-building education, centred on instilling an astute sense of mindfulness and heartfulness. A mindful shift of focus from developing and nurturing only the intelligence quotient as opposed to developing a balanced and dignified sense of emotional, social, spiritual and adversity quotient are other major challenges faced incessantly. I try to overcome all these challenges by using a judicious mix of walk around management and by way of leading from the front and leading by example.

Dealing with parents is a crucial factor in school education. What is your opinion?

Dealing with parents and their stereotypical mindset is a big challenge in school education. Counselling and convincing them about choice of streams for their ward(s) along with having a realistic mindset and outlook towards the career choices/options is an arduous task. Many of them never come to terms with the fact that their ward(s) needs counselling/medical attention because of various psychological issues. Questioning the integrity and ethics of the teachers and being argumentative has become a fashion of sorts. All this requires deft handling and is daunting and challenging at times.

Would you like to share any message with our readers?

Being an educationist down to the core, I would like to give a message to the readers to pay highest of regards and respect to the teaching fraternity. Appreciating the dignity of labour and the contribution of teachers in shaping the life of students and having an attitude of gratitude is what will strengthen the bond between the students, parents, and teachers alike. At the same time, it is our moral responsibility to guide and counsel the students to improve their behaviour, code of conduct and mannerism in online as well as offline situations.