The challenge lies in implementation of New Education Policy in the right spirit and with right intent – Ms Meenakshi Zarabi

The challenge lies in implementation of New Education Policy in the right spirit and with right intent

Ms. Meenakshi Zarabi, Principal, ASPAM Scottish School, Noida

What according to you should be the top three priorities of the Government of India in Education sector?

The top 3 priorities should be—

1.    To envisage a comprehensive mapped learning programme that will bridge the learning gaps in students.

2.    To minimize school dropouts.

3.    Integration of vocational skill subjects with main stream subjects.

What is your vision for Aspam Scottish school?

The vision is to see ASPAM emerge as an exclusive school that hones 21st century, experiential and existential skills so that the students are future and career ready.

NEP (National Education Policy) 2020 aims to revolutionize the Indian education system. What are the challenges you foresee in implementing the policy guidelines?

a.    Integration of vocational skill subjects with main stream subjects so that offered combination has a great career prospect.

b.    Addressing multiple crisis in educational system simultaneously as NEP 2020 aims to address pedagogical issues, structural inequities, broadening of access apart from making the learners future ready while meeting the demands of a 21st century India.

You being a senior educationist; in your opinion, how has the Indian education system evolved over the years? In which areas is it still lacking?

Yes, education system is evolving and is on the path of progression. Due to pandemic, online teaching resources have taken a major leap. Furthermore, the NEP 2020 focuses on making Indian education scenario at par with global standards.

But the challenge is in terms of implementation in the right spirit and with right intent due to the sheer size and diversity of India’s education sector. Also moving away from a rigid content-driven rote learning system to experiential learning and critical thinking would require revolutionary attitudinal changes amongst the stake holders – teachers, students, and parents.

What according to you are the three most important 21st century skills for teachers? What challenges do you face in developing those skills among your teachers?

Three important skills for teachers are:

a.    Research and Innovation.

b.    Attaining 4 Cs—critical thinking, communication and interpersonal skills, collaboration, and creativity.

c.    Self-awareness and empathy.

The challenges are in terms of integrating 21st century skills into teachers’ professional development, and growing these competencies in students. Also there is need for systematic implementation of the curricula through alignment with appropriate pedagogy and assessment.

What are the challenges of the hybrid learning model in primary and secondary grades? Do you think it is the way forward post covid?

The challenges faced are: 

a.      Not much student engagement – There are only a few students who actively participate in the online classroom activities. May be because they are shy to express themselves or are not very adept at using online resources.

b.     Technical glitches are part and parcel of online teaching and at times due to technical glitches the pace and momentum  is impacted.

c.      Minimal collaborationThe personalised and individualised attentionhas led to less of peer interaction or teamwork.

Most certainly, yes. The education sector specifically witnessed a surge in the adoption of ed-tech leveraging. Hybrid mode brings the best of both the worlds of physical interaction and online learning, and ensures that the students get access to a high-end educational experience. It has enabled the students to study from the comfort zone of their homes, indulge in self-paced learning, and work on projects in the real world. Hybrid learning has made learning immersive, and flexible. The personalized learning approach motivates the students to learn at their own pace and be connected with diverse human perspectives and also upscale their learning, Thus hybrid mode is utilizing the best potential of cutting-edge technologies and online resources to extend the high-end learning experience to the students.

Ms. Meenakshi Zarabi, Principal at ASPAM Scottish School, Noida, an educationist and visionary joined the school after successfully completing 27 years in education field. She holds rich experience in strategic planning, curriculum development, educational planning, student relations, parental engagements, human resource management and general administration.
She has worked as a Principal (Pan India) in many reputed schools; prominent ones being Ramagya School (Noida), Vidya Bharati School (Ghaziabad), GEMS International School (Gurgaon), Doon Public School (Bathinda), Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan’s Public School (Jodhpur); Vice Principal, SMS Senior Secondary School (Jodhpur) and as Academic Coordinator & PGT Commerce in schools like DPS Maruti Kunj (Gurgaon), Army School (Srinagar & Dinjan etc). She initiated a 360-degree feedback system to enhance transparency and objectivity.
   Awards and Achievements
•  Enlisted twice as Top 50 Effective Principals by Education Today (July 2020 & July 2021).
•  Featured on the Cover Page of Mentor Magazine (July 2019 & July 2020 addition).
•  Thrice received award for being the ‘Most Inspiring Educator’.
•  Helmed the school to be conferred with the “Best Co- Educational School in Ghaziabad” in 2015-16 (by Brand Achievers).
•  Awarded with ‘Active Principal’ by Akhil Bharatiya Nagrik Vikas Kendra.
•  Appointed as CBSE Mentor for senior secondary Schools.
•  Awarded as the best Principal by National Education & HRD Organization.

What drives you to work every day? Who is your role model? How do you keep yourself motivated?

My passion drives me every day. Student development, smile on their faces, students sharing their stories, parental appreciation and the constant urge to learn drives me and keeps me motivated as well.

From all my seniors I have learnt a lot and look up to all of them for inspiration and, in particular, Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of ‘selfless service’ is the motto of my life.

I see a lot of videos of great leaders and through self -talk and goal setting I keep myself enthused.

Tell us something about yourself— your likes, dislikes, interests and what do you like to do in your free time?

Travelling is a great learning process. I believe, the more you travel the more you learn about different cultures and habitats. I am an avid reader and love to read books of all genres. These days I am reading more of Vedas, Upnishads and books on educational pedagogies.