Suman Kumar, Principal, Bluebells School International, New Delhi speaks to Careers360 on how to address the issue of violence in school campuses. In the interview she also speaks on importance and necessity of teacher development not just academically and professionally but also in terms of society. Read the complete interview below to know more.
Careers360: There is a general feeling that schools have turned into commercial businesses. Is there any merit in this?
Suman: I would say you cannot paint everybody with the same brush and because of this in future the respect for institutions, learning, and teachers is going to be critically minimized. I think there are regulatory mechanisms in place and if you find something lacking you have all the power to take requisite action. This issue is at three levels; first the media has to reflect. As soon as any incident happens media sort of block schools, create a negative image. We have had good tradition where schools were respected, teachers were respected so I think media has to reflect, it should not just sensationalize.
The second thing is the media hype spills over into the parents. Undoubtedly there are concerns. The attitude of parents have changed; it is like fault finding; the kind of reverence their parents had towards addressing their teachers has completely gone. The third thing is the role of schools. We need to keep ourselves updated; we need to take responsibility. Schools must take the onus of the children and when concerns are coming up we have to be open enough to rectify the problem.
The teachers are also the product of the system and we need to have more teacher development programme not just academically and professionally but also in terms of the society and how to deal with children.
Careers360: The school education has suffered because of not getting good people to teach, what can be done to address this issue?
Suman: There has to be a very, very serious effort on part of the government with respect to teachers training and its curriculum. It is important that what are the skills that teachers need to be trained with. Earlier people were not coming into the teaching profession because of low pay but now things have improved a lot. I think there is sense of responsibility and accountability on part of the teachers and we are now getting good people.
Careers360: Our education system still promotes rote learning, students study only to score marks in exams, and crack professional exams. How can this be changed?
Suman: It’s a slow change and I remember 10 years back Humanities was not even considered. Now children are looking at other aspects as well. It is rather slow; parents still have the pressure of IITs and their own aspirations of becoming engineer or doctor. To talk about rote learning all the schools till class 8 have the freedom to move around with the curriculum and they can design a curriculum that promotes 21st century learning and skills.
Careers360: The schools have to understand that one size does not fit all. What are your suggestions in this regard?
Suman: We have got to have designs in which we reach out to every child and as said earlier that we need to slightly change our curriculum to make children equip with 21st century skills and learning. Personalized education has to be done to understand the social ramifications; you leave the children unattended and you do not understand the need of the child, it is going to have behavioural issues. The government schools have their own issue, which needs to be sorted out before we come to personalized education.