I was recently at the book launch of Once Upon a Story by Dr Swati Popat Vats and Vinitha R, a book based on life of India’s finest unsung educator, Gijubhai Bhadheka from Gujarat. Approximately 100 years ago, he pioneered some path breaking work in the education space with limited resources and support. This was pre-Independent India.
When I think about this, and what he was able to achieve, I do feel that as an industry we need to know that we have it far easier today as a free country, ample of resources available and accessibility to so much, thanks to technology. So, we can either call it “barriers” or use them as challenges and turn them into opportunities. Yes, we have our own problems — over populated, not enough funds for public schools, very small percentage in private schools, not enough skilled teachers, etc. the list will always go on! But always blaming it on someone and spending the next 20 years disgruntled will get us nowhere.
“If there is a will, you will have to find a way” is what the attitude should be, and therefore, using this as a backdrop, I think we are far luckier today than we have ever been, and the future looks bright. There is tremendous exposure to new ideas and collaboration because of the technology, we are adopting and embracing best practices in whatever manner we can cope be it public or private. Also, more professionalism coming into the industry which is always a welcome sign as corporate intervention, and it was always been there and will be a desire to improve and create better practices. There is also increasing awareness, collaboration and conferences and more people are able to connect to technology now.
We need to continue to be open-minded and not get into the rat race of numbers and rather become territorial about numbers for “our” own school. Competition should enable you to improve standards and processes, and allow the “consumer” — the parent to decide which environment works best for their family. This will be a healthier way to go. Also, inset heavily in skilling teachers, the soul of the school and creating more opportunities for hands-on and personalized learning for students. Automatically this will uplift the standards and your school becomes a benchmark for others. Also, in the coming time with a community upgrade, economy benefits as the school being the foundation that builds careers. Instead of always focusing on what the government had not done, perhaps as an industry we identify ways of mobilizing the communities to participate and contribute and once the wave picks up, it triggers a positive reaction even for the Center. I do believe that the human mind is capable of generating solutions and if this becomes a collective voice and everyone thinks of socioeconomic relevance, and the country at large, there will be growth and everyone will have a piece of the pie.