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Education Interview 2016-07-27

Teachers are our biggest assets: Jeanie N Aibara

Schools nowadays have introduced programs that allow teachers to relax and rejuvenate, so that they can invest their time and energy on coaching students. Indian Government also laid out mid-day meals and new reforms for government schools to reduce d...

Teachers are our biggest assets: Jeanie N Aibara

Education is considered to be the backbone of life. From the early years, a child is exposed to so much of learning wherein each parent plays a vital role. Young children spend most of their day with teachers and parents, which require these mentors to set a good example in front of them.

Schools nowadays have introduced programs that allow teachers to relax and rejuvenate, so that they can invest their time and energy on coaching students. Indian Government also laid out mid-day meals and new reforms for government schools to reduce drop-outs and motivate children to attend school regularly.

In a candid conversation with The Education Bureau, Mrs. Jeanie N. Aibara, Principal, Ambience Public School, explains about steps taken by the school management to increase the productivity of teachers and students simultaneously and why efforts should be made to make teaching a sought-after profession.

Tell us about Ambience Public School.

This is a 45 yrs old school. Known as Hillgrove Public School earlier, the name was changed to Ambience Public School in 2012. With its state-of-the-art infrastructure and increasing number of children and teachers enrollment, every day brings a new learning experience for all of us. . Because of exceptional resources, facilities and programs, and outside agencies pouring in their expertise, the school is already on its way to achieve excellence. We make sure to live up to our motto – Humanity First, as we strictly feel if you’re a good human being, the rest of the path will take its own course and in the right direction. So, everyone here works together to achieve a common mission and we keep repeating it.

How do you imbibe these values in your students?

Values are not en passé or to be spoken of once in a while. We have weaved them into our curriculum and have included as a part of our time-table. We’ve got certain programs running which are only to inculcate values in our children. All assemblies are theme based where children of a class performs on-stage. The dates of these assemblies are decided in the very beginning of the year. We actually call it a mini annual-day and other children and parents of students of that class are the audience. The level of the assemblies has gone up remarkably. Then there’s a ‘Gifted Children Program’ wherein some children are selected and taught beyond their courses through projects allowing the child freedom and space to work with a little help, but beyond their age to see if they can be creative. We have Dr. Srivastava from National Science Centre presenting the models and presentations for the program. We also have ‘Echo Ambience Program’ which is an online mentoring of teachers wherein learning takes place by sharing knowledge.

How is your school different from other K12 schools in Delhi?

All schools in Delhi are performing really well and are giving the best education to their students, but what makes my school different from other schools is our numbers. Our classrooms have 20-25 students and so wefeel we know inside out of these students. We’re able to tell the parents what we actually see.

How important is education in today’s time?

This is a very old problem pertaining in India. At present, though we are becoming very conscious about teaching the masses, there are other factors that need to be addressed. We need to have control on our population growth. Another key factor is that we have not realized the worth of a teacher. Children do not want to become teachers when they grow up because of the pay package and because this job is not glorified. Today’s youth is looking at a standard of life which you can’t get if you are a mere teacher. Teaching should be a passion and the teachers should be paid well, honored, awarded so that they can bring about a change in the society. People enrolling themselves in NGO’s and other social teaching programs are doing so to build their own CV’s and are lacking the passion to teach. So, the mindset of people needs to be changed.

How has the school’s journey been so far? How do you plan to expand?

We’re opening a new branch in Gurgaon (Gurugram) next session. The building is in progress. We also have opened a junior school, Ambience First Steps in Haus Khas Enclave, to tap the energy of two year olds. It also has a day care and other self-developing activities like chess, music classes etc. In our school, we keep adding new subjects every year as we believe that whichever subject a child would like to learn should be there. We also have some lighter subjects for disabled students to make them feel more confident.

How important is technology in education?

We all need to be global citizens and cannot be satisfied with what we have. In one click we have vast information available which motivates self-study. Smart classes take place when a child and teacher study together using internet. Children discover so much using technology, making them vulnerable. Parents introduce iPods and mobiles so early in childhood that we see ourselves introducing toys to children in school. Social media is another problem. Children get hooked to using such devices while having food, playing and even while going to bed for which parents are to be blamed as today’s young couples, young parents have no social etiquettes. They use mobiles while having dinner, while talking to their children, so the children are bound to learn from them.

What are your opinions on the new education reforms which focus on putting extra effort on weaker students?

I feel hard core work is going on. Earlier the reforms were being made by politicians and now they are roping in educators to plan and come out with new education reforms. So, we’re very positive that they’ll work out. The government is really being very thoughtful and brainstorming is going on to make them successful. It isn’t a knee jerk reaction, so will take time. My motto for our teachers in my school is ‘Mother First, Teacher Later’ which makes a teacher behave like a mother to the child first and taking actions accordingly.

What improvements according to you should be implemented by Mr. Prakash Javadekar, our education minister?

He’d look into and rectify the mistakes made by the ministry in the past and is moving in the right direction now. I’m very positive to see a sea change in the positive direction.

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