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Don’t just open a school, start a school that is ‘smart’


Posted on August 9, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu

Typical classrooms inspire a scene with rooms equipped with blackboards, pencils strewn around and stockpiled notebooks. With the advent of education technology, the picture is changing. Now, it is not a “far-fetched” or “futuristic” to picture a school where monitors, computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones abound.

 

Recent advances in technology have also entered our schools turning them into smart schools constituted by smart classrooms, and the trends reflect that the improvements are met with performance and appreciation, thanks to numerous benefits and wide opportunities that school technology provides to both the students and their teachers. By successfully and seamlessly integrating technology with traditional classroom learning we are witnessing increased student performance in schools. Credit is due for a truly smart classroom. So if you are thinking to start a school it is an excellent choice to make a smart school which will herald change, success and advance development of its students.

Prior to deciding to establish a school, it is pertinent to learn about the ways how smart classrooms are helping students and teachers in raising the bar:

 

An Evolved Pedagogy:

Blended learning comprising of both traditional learning and the cutting edge technology keeps online learning and interpersonal communication tied up together to create a smart classroom. When one chooses to start a school with technologically aided curricular implementation, one benefits from the effectively blended transmissive pedagogy with pedagogy-technology interface by guaranteeing the student engagement and efficient learning.

Technological advancement in schools also makes administrative tasks easier and thus makes teaching-learning more convenient. Teachers, with the help of digital learning, can now upload lectures, videos, and assignments to specifically created mobile applications. Students have access to these apps anywhere and at any time. Class-specific online platforms help teachers to store grades and attendance records of every student in their class, making it easier for students and parents to check them.

 

Smart Wearables, Dynamic Adoption of Technology for Schools

Smart classrooms are not limited to computers and tablets, in fact, wearable technology like smartwatches and smart wristbands are making their space in schools even faster. Using smart wristwatches and wristbands, teachers would be able to take attendance almost instantly and in case of younger students who go on field trips, use of wearable technology would help teachers to make sure that no child wanders away. In boarding schools, wardens can also use wearable technology like watches and bands to ensure that children are getting enough sleep.

 

Widening the Dimensions of Communication

People all across the school campus are connected with smart networks. Monitors placed in individual classrooms helps to be in direct connection with the main school office. The monitors provide ease in streaming school messages regarding daily announcements, circular and updates and emergency notifications. Thus the students and teachers will remain in the know of all the developments and administrative decisions pertaining to them.

 

Deriving Personalised Learning through Data Analysis

Access to analytics is one of the best things about smart classrooms, so when you start a school,  the information which is gathered from other schools can be used to personalize learning and then plan accordingly to suit and actualize every student’s individual needs and abilities. To make such a scenario possible one has to establish a school where the school principal, teachers and parents are versed in analytics to create a better learning environment. It will help teachers to use live analytics to monitor each and every student’s progress and students can receive a timely feedback from the online tests they take. When one starts an analytics-enabled school it will help teachers to also pass important data to parents which will help them support their child whenever needed.

 

The Best Learning Environment

It’s undeniable that a blend of interactive and transmissive classroom learning will continue to play a pivotal role in school education, yet fast growing technologies deserve attention simply because they facilitate higher-level learning with greater retention to boot. Bringing monitors, laptops, tablets, and wearables into schools and the very popular BYOD i.e. ‘bring your own device’ trend will provide teachers and administrators an opportunity to enhance and better the teaching and learning experience and the experience with educational technology recorded as collected data will aid in progressive pedagogical aims like personalized learning.

Although one should be mindful when one establishes a school with smart classrooms that technology do not compensate for the competence and qualification of the teachers, neither does it singlehandedly boost repute of the school brand overnight, what they can do is bring proximity between knowledge and intellect and increase the rate of learning.

Emphasize Infrastructure when opening a school


Posted on August 4, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu

While deliberating on the construction of the building in the course of opening a new school, one comes across a typical observation, worded differently but essentially meaning the same thing which is — that for anyone who loves to read and learn, any place can be good enough. Acquisition of knowledge transcends the physical instrumentalities which stop mattering beyond a point.

We beg to differ.

It is disingenuous to deny that you do need a well-planned, quiet and ordered place to bolster concentration of the students and help them assimilate everything they read and learn. And in terms of ongoing progressive education trends, having classrooms for learning in best possible conditions for students is as vital as any other facility for securing desirable learning outcomes. Hence it has to be granted that the physical environs wherein students study for hours at a stretch is correlated with their performance.

A good school infrastructure with ample learning spaces makes it easy for children with different learning styles and pace easier to study. While building a school, not only the physical design but the evolution of education system on so many levels must be heeded. Nowadays, learning is much easier, advanced and interesting than it used to be mostly because of the evolution of  technology. School Architects world over opine that the  school building must reflect a progressive inclination and receptive spatial design.

 

 

IMAGE AND LOOK

During the design phase of what would end up becoming the aesthetic attributes of the building, many things must be kept in mind. Certain things to take under consideration would be, what equivalent image do you want beholder to conjure after taking a look at your building? What purpose does the school serve and what are its educational goals? These considerations will give a perspective and orientation to the design of a school building that’s distinctive.

 

SHARED SPACE AND INFRASTRUCTURE

While advancing with the school building project, a relatively new trend that has emerged must also be taken in consideration – ‘shared space’. Many schools are building shared rooms for teachers or staffs to keep their belongings, stationeries, copies to evaluate etc. in one room. This will also preclude misplacement of stationeries or copies. This will also free useful space in the classrooms which can be then used for other productive classroom activities.

 

POINTS TO KEEP IN MIND WHILE DEVELOPING QUALITY SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE

  1. Comfort for students and staff – Appropriate spaces for students, teachers, administrators along with adequate intangible and tangible aspects including temperature, ventilation, lighting, water and other facilities like sanitary and drainage.
  2. Place for skill development, rehearsals and practice – Libraries, information and computer technology labs (ICT), Science labs and newly trending Math and English labs.
  3. Spaces for developing and nurturing talent – auditorium, ante-rooms, entertainment rooms, culture centred theatre, impromptu dramatics corner.

 

APPARENT IMPACTS OF PROGRESSIVE INFRASTRUCTURE ON QUALITY OF EDUCATION

Increased and consistent Attendance: Good infrastructure naturally appeals to the young minds. The dropout rate in the schools is discouragingly high in the rural schools. deficient and sub-par infrastructure has been implicated as one of the major reasons for absenteeism and low attendance count in an academic year.

Teacher Motivation:  survey shows, that the absence of teachers, on an average, in schools with poor infrastructure is ten per cent more than those in better urban-designed schools.

Members of the intelligentsia are becoming votaries of the improved infrastructure of schools and education technology and there are new dimensions which are getting revealed.

With CSR spending flowing into upgradation of school infrastructure, one hopes, the architectural techniques that bolster motivation and performance will enter the realm of pedagogy. We have dwelt on the relationship between architecture and pedagogy in our earlier article click here to read. The internationality of the work culture of the industries can herald a redefining trend if applied to school buildings too. Besides The involvement of students, teachers, tangible factors like building a lesson of a subject or fashioning a demonstration for comprehension of a concept can also be positively influenced by customized and researched architectural techniques which can be an asset for those who are opening a school with the purpose of making a difference in the education scenario of their region.

The outdoors or externalities of the infrastructure are not comparably heeded when it comes to optimizing the architecture of educational institutions. Researches have shown that the external infrastructure, even the façade, can have an undeniable effect on the environment of the school. For K-12 schools which run multiple streams and value interaction between the students and teachers must carefully select the master plan and get the interiors designed with attention to details.

The infrastructure of the modern schools, taken in its entirety, would constitute teaching aids, digital installations, education technology etc.  These are not subtleties any longer but have emerged as the necessities to be taken into account while opening a school with productive teaching environment.

The educational architecture is attentive about promoting individualized learning, creating settings for innovative teaching, incorporating new technology, being environmentally sustainable and supporting community involvement.

Designs of the new schools have a key element which owes their importance to the rise of technology usage in teaching practices in schools. Information and communications technologies (ICTs) which are highly valued for its role in the professional development of teachers in our country where teacher education is a critical issue. The designs which are coming forth recognize the distinct needs of pedagogical settings some of the deliberated ones include the degree of insularity i.e. acoustic and visual screening of the learning environments.

If one is opening a school where international programmes will be initiated, there are things that would make infrastructure compatible with the requirement of international curriculums which include directive, collaborative, applied, communicative modes of pedagogy.

Doing away with the constraints of the classroom which embodies an egg-crate model. Technology friendly architecture has changed the scenario for the better. The collaboration it promotes between the faculty and the students in colleges can be selectively adopted in the K-12 schools.

A glimpse into International Baccalaureate® Primary Years Programme (IB PYP)


Posted on July 19, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu

In the course of establishing, managing and improving schools throughout the country, School Serv has dealt with all aspects of learning to make sure institutions achieve optimum learning outcomes. Selection of appropriate curriculum and its implementation has always been our top priority. Our research wing also keeps a tab on developments and studies the features of curriculums to enable school promoters choose the best according to their context.

With the advent of IB  in India, school promoters who wanted to try different curriculums have found a way. In our role as curriculum implementation consultants, we have found out that before deciding on IB sometimes the groundwork of understanding and appreciating the course had not been done by school management, as a result, series of surprises were encountered. There are some very distinct features of IB curriculum which are important for school promoters to understand before opting IB as the curriculum of their school. In this article we have tried to provide a practical understanding of IB PYP curriculum as it remains the area wherefrom most of the queries arrive.

The primary year’s programme (PYP) of International Baccalaureate® is for children aged between 3 and 12. This implies that the inception of PYP happens in Kindergarten and it goes on till grade 5 making way for the Middle Year Programme (MYP).

The PYP programme is self-contained, which means that its significance will not get diminished even if it is not followed by the next level of IB i.e. MYP and DP. That actually applies to all these IB programmes and they are all independently pursued in many schools, yet, a continuum is recommended by IB and if a school could run successive programmes, it would make an ideal scenario.

It has to be said that IB PYP has a complex curriculum model which has several aspects constituting it. Once the staff adapts to it, IB PYP curriculum starts to show its rewards in the form of student engagement and parental satisfaction. Incorporated into ‘hexagonal model’, the IB PYP curriculum design and objectives are laid down for teachers to understand.

It is mentionable that like all other curriculums, the IB primary years that continue for 9 years of a student’s life will also cover subjects including Mathematics, Science, Language, Social Studies and Arts. The features that distinguish IB from other curriculums obtain from the fact that it is derived from a ‘framework’. The said framework is made up of overarching transdisciplinary themes including ‘who we are’, ‘where we are in place and time’, ‘how we express ourselves’, ‘how we organize ourselves’, ‘how the world works’ and ‘sharing the planet’. These themes underlay the content covered in the syllabus and make the pedagogical style international in perspective and transdisciplinary, meaning that while learning the concepts of a given subject or discipline the students also get introduced to concepts or themes which fall in the purview of other subjects.

Besides the themes, the curriculum is composed of three interlinked components including ‘written’, ‘taught’ and ‘assessed curriculum’. The components of the PYP curriculum confirm the commitment to increased involvement of the learner in the learning process. The significance of the components is as follows—

  1. The written curriculum—The written curriculum is, in effect the answer to ‘what do we want to know’? The written curriculum can be described as an organized set of learning outcomes. Studying “scope and sequence” document provided by IBO and assessment of other curriculums is done to derive certain benchmarks for designing the written curriculum. As a result, the curriculum will have topics gleaned from and compared against the major curriculums like CBSE, ICSE etc. However, discretion is exercised while charting the course or the way of teaching the content in the class and the sequence in which topics are introduced. Therefore it is quite possible to come across certain topics which are introduced in lower classes of IB are in higher classes of other boards. With respect to the syllabuses, certain omissions and commissions are made, but the primary objective to keep it coherent with the IB learner profile remains intact.

 

  1. The taught curriculum—’in what way will we learn best’? That’s the question that forms the cornerstone of the quest for the IB PYP taught curriculum. Innovation from the teachers, use of the teaching aids become essential in teaching the written curriculum in the best way. Helping individual children is also an objective of operationalizing the taught curriculum. The pedagogy determines the efficacy of the taught curriculum and its effectiveness for children who seldom have uniform learning styles.

 

  1. The assessed curriculum—the quest that defines the assessed curriculum is about knowing how to determine what we have learned? Conventionally, the assessment strategy is written exams complemented with vivas. In the case of IB PYP, assessment is multifarious and mimic higher education assessments. The methods of assessments are chosen by teachers or suggested to them and finally the validity, reliability of the assessment methods determining its suitability to assess the taught curriculum. The assessment methods also determine the direction of learning of the pupils, deviation from the instruction and in the process, the taught curriculum gets informed by the assessed curriculum.

The synergy between these three components brings out and effective IB PYP curriculum consummate in every respect. Furthermore, IB has a ‘learner profile’ in place which enlists the values and qualities that the student is expected to develop while he courses his way through the curriculum. IB expects the learner profile to be consolidated in the personality of the student, The profile signifies the attributes of a cosmopolitan or internationally-minded person. In fact, the learner profile is the core of the IB PYP curriculum.

IB curriculum is informed by the constructivist philosophy of education. When children are believed to be ‘constructors’ of knowledge their interaction in the classroom increases, they are given time to meditate about their learning and how they are learning, physical mobility and furniture configuration of the classroom does not remain conventional but becomes markedly different.

The curriculum throughout the primary years will drive the students towards the development and achievement of five essential elements including –

  1. Knowledge – The body of knowledge that the syllabus constitutes
  2. Concepts – form , function, causation ,change, connection ,perspective, responsibility and reflection
  3. Skills – disciplinary and transdisciplinary skills, thinking skills, social skills, research skills, communication skills, self-management skills.
  4. Attitudes –  the perspective to look at the issues of the world around
  5. Action – which means motivated action that the knowledge incites within the child to bring about the desired change.

The IB curriculum enforcement is aided by IBO through workshops and material for the trainee teachers. Our International School Consultants have successfully designed, implemented the IB PYP curriculum and trained the teachers to practice and sustain it.

How Corporate could Complement School Education in India?


Posted on July 10, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu

The role of corporations in the upliftment of education and quality of learning has been recognized globally. The potential of the corporate sector to improve learning outcomes can be inferred from UNESCO’s ‘Education for All’ Goals and the ‘UN Global Education First’ Initiative.

 

Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has adopted leadership of sorts in the collective social assignment of making quality education available to all children. The targets that the collective of corporates has set coincide with that of the Right to Education Act and many other public policies framed for development and propagation of education.

Corporate researchers recommend areas for high impact CSR spending in education which include establishment schools under Public Private Partnership (PPP), training of teachers and preparation of school leadership. Besides these, subjects like the application of technology in education, involving ICT in school education and in student assessment, co-scholastic or co-curricular schooling, early childhood or preschooling, nutrition and introduction of vocational education in secondary grades have been zeroed upon for strategic spending.

 

Social dividends of CSR contribution in School Education

The social dividends that directly follow with progressive spending on education are economic and social equity. Corporate spending on school education can enhance the quality of the human resource which would accelerate the economy.

The social component of education is extensive and has the potential to bring about social and economic justice. Quality education would bring in its wake better health care, the increment in incomes and standard of living. Furthermore, the quality of education will ensure higher political consciousness and democratic engagement. It will also increase the consciousness of human rights. One of the most notable prospective impacts lies in the girl education, Socio-economic studies have proved that investment on girl child education gives phenomenal developmental returns as it potentially affects the state of the entire family and communities.

 

How to start a school ?

 

 

Economic and Strategic need of CSR Investment on Education

It is commonplace to hear how good Indian diaspora is doing in U.S, UK or Australia but it cannot be denied that the situation of the inadequacy of skill set of the employees at home is retarding the development of companies in India.

There are certain findings from the investigations focused on the issue of effects of low levels of skills of the workforce on the enterprises like a global CEO survey which revealed that as many as 41% of Industry leaders including CEOs were forced to withhold, postpone or review important industrial initiatives due to the talent deficit in their firms.

Given the gravity of the situation in terms of the effect on the economy, CSR investment in education becomes a decisive measure.

There are quantitative assessments of the skill set and productivity which suggest that returns for the investment on education are exceptionally encouraging.  Every 100 Rs. invested in the schooling of an Indian child translates into a return of 5300 Rs. for the employer of the resourceful employee the same child grows into.

 

Ways of corporate Intervention in School Education

It is emphasized by several corporations investing in school education that to create an impact, indirect modes of intervention like policy optimization, collaboration with civil society groups and governments should be explored.

In the current scenario, innovation could hardly be driven by the government system. Therefore one of the best corporate efforts has been in research and development of innovative models wherein projects have been piloted and their impact has been systematically recorded, assessed and scaled up.

The other indirect modes of intervention which corporates have opted for includes institution-building. Institutions like Azim Premji University which trains professionals for a career in education and in the development sector have been set up as a corporate effort and is strengthening school education.

The indirect intervention mode recommended by CSR strategists include collaboration with other stakeholders which are brought together by the company taking the initiative to put in effect a coalition that enables knowledge sharing.  The organizations with expertise in building learning environments in different scenarios are acutely helpful for corporates to spend fruitfully on education.

Another indirect mode of CSR investment in school education is the collaboration with NGOs and development sector organizations having expertise in their field of school education. To broaden the impact of CSR, institutions like Socio-Economic Development Foundation (SEDF) of FICCI acts as the advisory organization to help corporates choose suitable development sector partners.

 

Ways To Manage Schools Redefining Learning Outcomes

 

Streamlined CSR spending strategies in school education

CSR interventionists have started taking a realistic view of the timelines of the projects. The educational quality improvement is a gradual process, unlike infrastructure development. While forming their CSR approaches, companies hold on to a long-term view with mid-term objectives.

The other practice which is gaining currency in CSR educational intervention is the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of inputs and short and long-term outputs.

Even though the corporate spending in school education is relatively modest, these developments give us reason to believe that if done strategically, CSR will catalyze the development in schooling by facilitating innovations which are impressive enough to move the state to commission them.

 

PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP (PPP) SCHOOLS

Complementing school education has found an effective way in the form of Public Private Partnership (PPP) schools. The term ‘Public-private partnership schools’ implies that the ownership of the institution is public and school operations have been privatized. PPP schools are institutional models which have been adopted from countries where they have shown great promise as far as improving education infrastructure is concerned. The concept has its value in the idea that inherent efficiency of the private functioning will rejuvenate the ailing government schools. These schools can become quality schools and leading examples propagating the efficient ways of school administration.

It has been noted that the infrastructure of government schools ends up becoming surplus as a preference for private schools limits the number of students in the government schools. In urban areas, were private schooling has proliferated owing to its superior quality, the situation of unused infrastructure in government schools has become particularly pronounced. This presents a scenario where PPP schools can come in as a change maker.

 

Strategize School Improvement To Build Sustainable Futures

 

The Education Alliance, a relatively young organization advice the government in favor of PPP by tabling their design and execution strategy and in collaboration with state agencies they come up with quality assurance mechanisms. Presently, the CSR arm of corporate groups supports quality education through a PPP model. A trio exemplifying the collaboration of corporate, civil society organization and the government institutions has been made in several cases.

The trio of corporate, civil society organization and government has taken up six municipal schools operating the schools, paying salaries of teachers etc. and selected a suitable education foundation as knowledge resource partner. The role of the government agencies come in with the municipal corporation providing the infrastructure, books and stationery, mid-day meals. The knowledge foundation trains teachers and prepares school leadership. In the mentioned example, the corporate arm supports foundation conduct a student progress assessment test termed national ASSET test. The CSR effort in education is exceptionally rewarded when Educational Quality Foundation of India by “Whole School Award”.

We conclude that spending on education is definitely a promising option for corporates as far as CSR fund allocation is concerned. The shift in corporate philanthropy towards school education suggests that this fact is dawning upon enterprises. The need is for expert agencies like School Serv which can aid corporate groups to go about their CSR spending with their hands-on experience in establishing and managing K-12 schools. it is an imperative for the aiding ‘school lifecycle organization’, like School Serv to command expertise in the field of executing school improvement projects for CSR spending to be more meaningful and sustainable.

CSR Spending for Improvement of School Education


Posted on July 10, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) contributions has been mandated by Government of India for all companies meeting specified financial thresholds. Certain areas of socioeconomic development have been specified as well, school education being one of them.

 

According to Section 135 of Companies Act 2013, Every company having net worth of rupees five hundred crores or more, or turnover of rupees one thousand crores or more or a net profit of 5 Crore or more during the financial year, shall ensure that the company spends, in every financial year, at least two percent of the average net profits of the three immediately preceding financial years on CSR activities. With the Companies Act, 2013 came into effect, the involvement of the companies in school education through CSR has changed both qualitatively and quantitatively.

 

School education – a case of changing nature of corporate philanthropy

Current trends of philanthropy in the corporate sector indicate that school education is receiving exceptional interest. Corporate leaders who have come to realize that resources spent on school education are bound to impact social equity are diverting CSR budgets to improve the quality of school education.

Customarily, CSR funds in education have been spent on improving the basic infrastructure and amenities. However, in the absence of continued maintenance, it proved to be only a cosmetic change at best. Further, the outcome is marred by inefficient, stereotypical use of assets resulting in stagnation. But there is an apparent change in the corporate spending scenario in the improvement of school education. This change is visible on several fronts including R&D for efficiency enhancement, application of technology and training of school leaders.

As the corporations realize the importance of educational equity in the establishment of a sustainable economy they are proactively aiding the implementation of the Right to Education Act. With the change in the outlook platforms for collaboration emerged for an exchange of ideas and knowledge sharing. Consequently, the role of corporates in K-12 education sector progressed from granting and funding to research, advocacy and facilitation of systemic change.

 

Ways To Manage Schools Redefining Learning Outcomes

 

For corporate initiatives to be consequential, an understanding of India’s education landscape is a must. To this end, several fact-finding studies have been funded by enterprises. The findings of these studies pinpoint the areas that require special attention in CSR outlay including quality and adequacy of teachers and school leaders, assessment of student achievement, measurement of the impact of new educational policies and use of technology in optimizing teaching-learning outcomes.

The changing outlook of stakeholders underlays the principle that CSR budgeting for education should shift focus from inputs and outlays to outcomes and impact.

 

CSR spending for stimulation of innovation and improvement of education

Corporate intervention for Top 10 Corporates Ranked In Order Of CSR Funding On Educationmaximum impact on school education also includes the adoption of best practices in education, bringing tested processes to scale and development of an environment conducive for innovation with accountability. An environment free from bureaucratic friction enables the stakeholders to conceive, test and assess innovations.

A sister organization of Pratham, ASER center started releasing annual surveys beginning  2000s about the scholastic merit of Indian students,  the survey became most quoted and significantly reliable student assessment tool used in India. Its inherent value made certain state governments adopt its indicators in assessing the impact of school education reforms of the state.

Other corporate assisted projects whose innovation has been upscaled pertain to the training for school leaders. Under this project, the administrative practice wherein principals of schools in India are commissioned to work as administrators without any formal training compromising the education ecology of the school, was selected for intervention. The significance of the role of heads of the school is reflected in several pieces of research one of which states that learning outcomes are altered by 25% depending upon the effectiveness of the school leadership. The school leader-training model that turned out to be exceptionally impactful was initially tested in the state of Rajasthan and eventually in 1000 plus schools in 3 states.

 

Strategize School Improvement To Build Sustainable Futures

 

Prospective influences of corporate spending on school education

While 97% enrolment in grade 1 has been achieved, only 35% of the 355 million children in India reach grade 12. Private schools are saving the day by imparting quality education and their role can be optimized in a knowledge economy with the assistance of CSR backed initiatives. Despite the fact that the private schools cater to 40% of the total students, policies made by the state does not consider their position and practically undermine them like what happened after RTE quota enforcement to some very good affordable schools.  CSR spending can help to bring about a change of state of affairs through research and advocacy and make easier for schools in India to operate and upgrade.

Experts operating in the K-12 sector in India can make it easier for corporates to strategize their CSR spending in school education arena. The government of J&K, Wort & Tat are cases, where School Serv has assisted to bring a systemic change in housing children in the safe, caring environment and educating them for socioeconomic progress.

 

Impact of School Architecture on Pedagogy


Posted on July 10, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu

It has been a common observation that when schools are built, the emphasis on the finer correlations between pedagogy and infrastructure is missed out. Typically, school promoters emphasize on the construction of a school building which is just in compliance with a given board of affiliation. The directions given by the education boards or councils are generic, primarily containing the directives about the size of the school land, the area of the labs, playground, number of facilities and the size of the classroom. Then, as a measure to preclude crowding, maximum strength a class is fixed.

 

Despite the competition between schools, the learning environment design does not find the place it deserves. Those who want to start a school and take school building as a brick and mortar construction with only quantitative not qualitative difference from any other sort of building, are not few. In the resulting scenario of sheer ignorance or compromise, ideas of ‘collaborative learning’,  ‘interactive learning’ and campus experience turn into irrelevant terms with hardly any impact on teaching-learning practices of schools and boarding schools are no different from bunkers. We have seen that the school promoters often find it difficult to understand the emphasis that is placed on the master plan and architecture by the international education organizations.

 

Aspiring For Institution - Defining Architecture & Interiors ?

 

Further, it is often seen that there is no dearth of those who think that educational technology can spruce up the classroom and make up for the shortcomings of the classroom architecture. Here again, a flaw in the understanding of learning space design is evident. Classroom technology mainly including computer-enabled learning, Interactive White Board etc. definitely form an important part of the learning space, but they are neither practical for every grade nor are they uniformly efficient for old and small children. School promoters and educators realize that it is not sufficient to come up with technology abled classrooms to facilitate best learning outcomes.

The guiding principle for the architects and master planners while planning and designing school infrastructure is to make central the student experience and learning outcomes.

The school architecture is becoming more and more crucial in bringing learning experiences to classrooms in-line with the evolving curricula. It is not just about the classrooms, there is an undeniable need to attend the external context and landscape design as well. With such trends coming to the fore, the focus is moving towards designs that facilitate holistic education experience.

Consummate school architecture and masterplan are the ones that place focus on both tangible and intangible components of the learning environment, they focus on connectivity between teacher and students and freedom of interaction among the students as much as temperature, light, and ventilation. In fact, connectivity between staff and students and freedom of interaction should be focused upon in the external contexts too.  While these are the characteristics of an ideal school design, we have a long way to go before we could create a culture where a perfect school architectural design becomes a priority of the school promoters.

Edupreneurs and academicians agree that the learning environment must modernize both with respect to the curriculum and the infrastructure. It’s evident from several outstanding examples that the 21st century has thrown doors open for accelerated, inclusive and efficient teaching-learning but only for those with a modernized outlook. Master planners and designers have immense value to add with their craft and imagination.

The learning environment and the educational ecosystem should be child-centric rather than instructor-centric. This approach is essential to achieve the objectives of the 21st-century schools. Nevertheless, the majority of the classrooms still practice the same old transmissive style of teaching-learning making the student passive or withdrawn. The change in the design of the classroom would translate into the change in the attitude of students and learning outcomes, a number of researches have been conducted to determine decisively the correlation between modern classrooms and educational outcomes.

The researches have even suggested that dropout rates would reduce if the facilities of the government schools are thoughtfully constructed and maintained. Researchers are of opinion that the ideal learning environment of the higher classes can never be made by inserting monotonous rows of desks giving it a look of a factory.

Pedagogy is influenced by sociocultural and socioeconomic circumstances. It has been influenced by researches in the field of psychology especially child psychology, cognition, memory, and learning. In the 1990s, with the advent of theories like constructivism in the field of psychology and education there came a marked shift in the perspectives of the educators and learning space designers and they began to stress upon conversational, interactive, collaborative make-up of the instructional environment rather than the stereotypical top-down broadcast model of learning. The theories that evolved from these progressive views had their impact on learning modalities like curriculums and learning environment. The effect of the surroundings on the receptiveness of the student is apparent across grades.

We recommend school promoters to opt for school master plan, school architecture and school interior designing services from professional agencies with exclusive expertise in designing 21st-century learning environments.

Major changes expected in CBSE affiliation bye-laws  


Posted on July 10, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu

CBSE affiliation bye-laws are set for an overhaul. The proposals containing guidelines for far-reaching changes in the examination policy and affiliation bye-laws have been drafted and sent for consideration to Ministry of Human Resource and Development for approval. The proposal that is being construed as making the case for the revamping of the affiliation bye-laws has already been approved by the governing body of the CBSE. Besides this, the examination committee is reported to have been given more executive authority, which seems only rational in the light of scams and paper leaks in the CBSE board examinations, and some changes in the curriculum have been proposed to the NCERT by the board.

 

We believe the proposed changes in the affiliation bye-laws, will make it less arduous for the schools to decipher the bye-laws, apply and obtain affiliation. It remains to be seen if concessions are made in the land and infrastructural requirements besides the reduction in the procedural length and application processing time. It is expected that the affiliation process that currently spans between 16 to 18 months will take considerably less time of 6 months.

That implies ease for promoters starting a CBSE school and new entrants into the education sector. The sheer length of the process and the long tenure of the consideration before the affiliation is granted to the school had long been putting edupreneurs in logistical difficulties. And for the ones who contemplate setting up a school and subsequently making it a CBSE school,

 

How to start a school ?

 

deciphering affiliation bye-laws has very often been unduly hard. Affiliation bye-laws contain clauses about the minimum land requirement, documentation, qualifications of teachers, remuneration and financials that the school must conform to, among other critical conditions about the state of the school desired by the board. This makes the document crucial and, at the same time, voluminous. The affiliation bye-laws document which is a 90-page volume is getting trimmed down to 40 pages.

As a matter of course correction, “duplication” of procedures that take place in the course of inspection for granting affiliation to a school would be done away with. The present state of affairs has a lot of inspection, verification, and reviews that end up being done multiple times at two different levels. for instance, the inspection committee’s review of the documents related to the land and infrastructure is carried out despite the fact that every operational school already has the necessary certifications and permissions from the state education department. Other bureaucratic measures of checking conformity in the documentation and details about the amenities will stand curtailed if the reforms are finally approved.

The inspection committee that assesses the suitability of the school for affiliation will focus on reviewing the outcomes of the institution that relate to pedagogy, academics, teachers’ competence and level of training, initiative, and innovation.

 

Ways To Manage Schools Redefining Learning Outcomes

 

If that comes to pass the affiliation to CBSE will not only get fine-tuned but remarkably progressive.


SCHOOL CONSULTANTS
Want to Start a School in India ?