Saturday, 13 February 2016

Dreamers School...... Management of schools to note.

Schools & colleges need to come around to doing their basic tasks well. Provide a safe and conducive environment to every child for learning, teaching and growing up to be a reasonable citizen of the world. The key term is reasonable. Exceptional children will be supported to incrementally benefit from his/her god gift.

The core competencies of an educational institution is the above. When they begin to fail in these areas of excellence that the rot sets in fast. 
Since the role reversal has happened I will not go down the road of guru Shishya param para etc. suffice here to say that schools which keep to their basics will survive the competition and all others will fall by the wayside. There is no need to lament that schools have become a magnet for making money, that politicians, business investors who have barely passed their high school have set up institutions of learning. The top management and the market  will decide the long term performance of an institution. Should the institution make the core vulnerable the outer shell too shall become vulnerable. 

What therefore are those core competencies we are talking about or what are the basic stuff. 

So here goes the basic stuff that a school must provide is a safe haven. By that I do not mean cameras at all places, watchman at every 10 meters,a fence or a wall making the school a prison for thoughts, words and deeds, a set of supervisors overseeing the watch mans and another set overseeing the cameras, and a supervisors overlooking the supervisors, no need for multiple registers, id cards and badges to be given out. All this defeats the purpose and helps get you more helicopter parents.

The school will believe and action the fundamental principal that every child is good in every sense of the word, and any behavioural issues can come from something not going right at the child's home, school or it has is a medical issue. 

The school should be such that it is like your home. Simple comfortable and people around you that are compassionate,care for you and love you and provide that knowledge we are all seeking. The school needs to have open space in plenty, and needs to have a great library, awesome laboratory, invigorating sports room,musical music room,creative art rooms,a great auditorium, lush green surroundings, a city forest to nature sow its magic. The class rooms should be spacious, allowing a lot of natural light, a school canteen and eating area, very comfortable staff rooms in each floor and rooms for coordinators,a big play ground and the cleanest toilets on all floors. 

All floors should be designed such that movement is safe and children cannot easily misstep, fall etc. The school also has to have a reasonable and well equipped medical room. The unfortunate part of architects and owners is when designing the school the perspective is from a child's point of view failing as usual to see that the school may have at any given time at least 70 90 adults as well.
But most important of all is not any of the above it is the school faculty that will decide how good or bad the school is, not the structure, not the air conditioners,nor the space. Compassionate, knowledgeable, intellectual with immense patience and love, well read, willingness to give, high standards of communication skills, open mind willingness to learn, enjoying the process and light handed banter, setting high standards of values, highly self motivated and having high ethical values, environmentally inclined, creative,innovative,and  keeping the child at the center of his or her being.

The nerve center of the school will be .... you guessed it wrong the Library. Books of all kinds and a librarian of top class who will encourage you to borrow books, recommend books is well read, and is a author too. The chief guests for any function will be persons who personify knowledge or a skill, they will be visiting faculty every week be it a story teller, a musician, author, politician, economist, stock broker or a street performer. The school will at all times and its faculty will endeavour to provoke, create an enquiry, research ideas, discuss.

Getting all this will be difficult in one individual thus the school management has to invest in seeking out the best teachers and constantly sent for or conduct training. Teachers make the institution not the structure. Thus mediocrity will find no place in the institution and must be weeded out swiftly and with alacrity.

The intention of the institution must at all times and every time focus on the needs of making learning fun, interesting and the child coming out from the school may not have come first in the city or state or not joined IIT/IIM he she should be a reasonable student of the world,  ready to take up the challenges the universe prepares to throw at him/her. 

The child has learnt and is passionate about his/her dream is passionate about his her subject of interest and has a hobby  has learnt finer things of life be it in music, art, theatre,science, History, literature or geography. He/She  has travelled sufficiently to appreciate hunger and pain but also fine dining and dancing be it khathak, kathakali, bharatnatyam, Bhnagda or kuchupudi, Jive or Flamenco.

 He she has learnt to appreciate the great ancient temple sculptor and  architecture, cave paintings, calligraphy,paintings of Monet or Hussein he she has learnt to play or enjoy listening to Bhimsen Joshi or Mozart and Strauss and equally enjoy the music of Kishore Kumar and Sonu Nigam, he has the  knowledge the exotic night of black tie attending a concert or a shake spear play or in a sherwani enjoying the Munsi Premchand play of "Kafan" and the music of ustad Allaha Rakha. The child takes interest in sports, participates, competes and just has fun in ll he does. The school will make provisions for any one with special flair. All children are welcome all children with whatever difficulty will be attended to by a specialised faculty. All will be taught to speak their mind and parents involvement will only be limited to the allied issues. They will be a partner of the school and will help propel the school to greater heights. High levels of transparency will be there between all stake holders and fees will be high but for every 10 children one economically deprived child will be provided free education all inclusive.  Teachers will be highly paid and well taken care of in order to help them focus on the child. The school will evolve a culture of the outdoors and every child will care for the planet.

Such a school will not fail. It will set higher standards and the world will flock to such a school. Management with a vision, transparent approach, high ethical standards, no room for mediocrity high standards of safety and excellence in all that is done.