Mrs. Madhu Narayan, Principal of Gopalan International School, has been instrumental in setting up the School and making it one of the best ICSE Schools in Bangalore. She is also the Convener of 33 ICSE Schools in Bangalore. In conversation with Mrs. Narayan, Team Edvantage Point finds out about how education in Indian Schools is transforming.
Q. With competition ruling the education industry, how does Gopalan International School stand out?
A. At Gopalan International School, we nurture the mediocre children and help them deliver their best rather than solely focussing on the cream students. Despite being just 13-year-old school, we have nurtured it and brought quality and numbers in terms of admissions. As a convener of 33 ICSE schools in Bangalore, I’m proud to say that we stand apart and are very stable as far as the curriculum is associated.
We have set a name for ourselves as a school with holistic education. Over the past few years, we have had several admissions for the sole reason that we have unique activity-based learning. We balance academics with activities and ensure that the students chase at least one passion. Our management is keen on sports activities. We have a sports academy for GIS and therefore, everything is easily accessible for kids.
Q. What are the challenges that the management faces on a day-to-day-basis?
A. These days parents are ready to shift their child from one school to another just at the drop of a hat. So, retaining these students and increasing our numbers is a primary challenge. We tap the parent community whose priorities match ours. Our second challenge is providing good and nutritious food to kids. And, the third one is transportation – getting kids home safely everyday is a challenge. Finding good faculty members is another huge challenge for us as we need them to imbibe our school’s culture.
Q. How can we make Indian Education inclusive, especially schools?
A. We, at Gopalan International School, accept kids with learning difficulties. Parents of these kids wanted to have access to the activities at GIS and hence, we have started National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) Curriculum. We have taken special care to ensure that NIOS Students’ classes and regular ICSE students’ classes are position right beside each other. So, they are only separated at the time of academics.
We ensure that GIS’ vision which is the joy of learning is part of everything we do. Education is a continuous process. It doesn’t end with schooling or college. Inclusiveness too is part of Education here. The environment at GIS creates a culture of acceptance and that is how we have made GIS inclusive.
Q. Is traditional way of teaching still relevant in today’s world?
A. Despite the advent of technology, a classroom cannot be completely digitised. Chalk-N-talk method is very important. Some of these traditional methods should be followed. Connect between students and teachers is very important and learning should be a mix of both. We do not follow the rote learning method. There are Group learning sessions where we emphasise on kids understanding the concepts rather than focussing on memorising stuff.
Q. Does GIS have social media restrictions for students? How are kids counselled about its use?
A. Children are always curious. So, we do not ban them from using phones but impose certain restrictions. At school, we educate them about the perils of social media. We also communicate with the parents and counsel kids on the usage. At GIS, we ensure that kids share their concerns or issues with counsellors openly. If there’s a change in a student’s body language or behaviour, our counsellors try to identify what’s wrong. Given that GIS has a very homely atmosphere, we ensure that a child feels safe to share anything in an environment which is conducive for learning.
Q. How would you describe the impact of technology on education? What can be done to ensure that education remains holistic?
A. Too much of e-learning doesn’t make sense to us at GIS. It should always be a healthy mix of modern and traditional methods. On the other hand, education has become more commercial now. On one side, there is pressure to increase numbers in school. But, we can’t make it commercial just for the numbers. Education cannot be about numbers. Quality not quantity should be the motto.
[Apply for Admission Online: If you are looking for an admission at Gopalan International School, click on this link https://bit.ly/2TetSZF]
(Edvantage Point is India’s go-to platform for education-related products and services. We facilitate online admissions and recruitment services for schools, offer career advice and counselling services for students).