Dr Vandana Lulla, Director of Podar Group of International Schools, talks to Bhanu Pratap Singh about how International Baccalaureate program has impacted the Indian education system, among other things…

Q. How is International Baccalaureate education changing the Indian education system?

A. For more than a century, the Indian education system was exam driven, with great emphasis given only to rote learning. There was no creativity and independent learning or growth for the students. With the advent of IB education, the education scenario in India has begun to change. IB is a research-based curriculum emphasizing on inquiry-based learning through which students reflect on the nature of knowledge and complete independent research. Our students also undertake a project that often involves community service. This curriculum is making our students thinkers, decision makers, inquiring, knowledgeable and caring human beings.

Changing the education landscape

Q. IB offers a number of subjects. How does your school guide students in choosing them?

A. The Diploma Programme (DP) curriculum is made up of six subject groups and the DP core comprises of Theory of Knowledge (TOK); Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) and the Extended Essay. We give them a variety of subject choices according to their interests which help them in making good career decisions. We invite different universities from around the globe who orient the students about the bouquet of courses they offer.

Q. What role does technology play in enhancing learning experience at your school?

A. Our schools have won many awards for being the frontrunner in the extensive use of technology in education. We have Smart Boards, Learning Management Systems, E-books, etc. Our students also use iPads extensively. We also have a 3D printer and our students are well-versed in making 3D models.

Q. Do you focus on training of teachers?

A. At Podar Group of Schools, we stress immensely on teacher training. We have a Teacher Training Department which continuously works to support and enhance the teaching skills of the teachers. We also conduct IB training on a regular basis for our teachers. We invite specialist trainers in every field who impart training to our teachers.

Q. How do you foster curiosity and critical thinking in a child?

A. We encourage creative thinking and decision making in all our students. We conduct inquiry-based learning where students frame hypothesis and conduct research and ultimately draw conclusions. Their curriculum is embedded with many hands-on critical thinking activities, learning through games, case studies, and open-ended questions which enhance their curiosity and critical thinking.

Q. How do you balance students’ academic performance with extracurricular activities?

A. For us, we ensure that all activities are embedded in the timetable, so due importance is given to those activities. However, we support all our students even if they are privately taking part in extracurricular activities.

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