Posted on September 15, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu
No school provides “bad education or good education”, I personally believe every school starts with an intent to provide quality education. The philosophy, methodology, and infrastructure may vary with the founder’s vision.
The school ecosystem comprises of several elements, the administrators, the teachers, the students, the parents, and the support staff to name a few. They work in tandem to operate a 21st century school, demonstrating excellence in their job.
The students, parents, and staff are all brand ambassadors of the school – this can hardly be contested. The school must have a reliable connection with the entire school ecosystem. Schools are expected to deliver their educational promise. Parents perception revolves around several factors.
There is a practice of socializing amongst parents. With the advent of communication technology, the ways to communicate has expanded, Schools have become the talk of the town. In this article, I would like to talk about how the schools can make parents’ critique positive –
- Personalized Learning: Education tends to become a monopoly of bright students. Classroom instruction more often, than not, leans towards the best and the brightest. 21st Century demands diversity of talent which, in turn, demands personalized instruction and individual child development. The rate of cognitive and emotional development of the child will resultantly rise much to parent satisfaction.
- Safety & Security: It would be stating the obvious, yet no school should compromise the safety and security of the child. The school must ensure that the points of high vulnerability are closely watched; transportation, perimeter, classrooms, activity areas, private spaces, employee background checks, etc. Stringent action is advised even for a minor lapse, Parents expect that school keeps nothing ambiguous. When school safety is referred to, it means the overall well-being, safety, and security of the child, including physical and emotional health. These are looked at from the perspective of –
- Safe school environment – the safety of school premises, building, and property – secluded areas, debris, campus, playground, pathways leading to school/inside the school
- Location of the school – risk-prone area, on the highway or near a railway crossing
- Safety & Security of classrooms – seating arrangement, furniture, the height of blackboard, electric connections
- Access to school – availability, management of children in transit, vulnerability to sexual harassment on the way, physical barriers on the way to school
- Quality of school construction and maintenance – safe for use
- Health & Hygiene in the school premises: Certification of hygiene is among the prerequisites for opening a school in India, however as the time passes and schools strength rise hygiene takes a back seat. This is a common recipe for disaster, exposes children to infections.
- Health & hygiene in school premises – drinking water, toilet, hand washing facilities
- Meal – kitchen hygiene, etc
- Care: Care is a vital part of 21st Century Learning, parents expect the school to provide a caring environment.
- Communication: Communication gap between the school and the parents can confound the itinerary of their child’s future. A constantly open channel of communication will reassure the parents, at the same time school could recalibrate individual child development and track progress efficiently.
- Being Proactive: School must proactively build and moderate the connection between the parents and the teachers by creating more opportunities for interaction.
- Harnessing the Parents Teacher Association Potential: Events like Parents Teacher Association (PTA) meetings must be heeded particularly and their attendance observed. Children of the parents who regularly do not attend PTA meetings can be counseled to know whether they are undergoing parental negligence at home.
- Increased Interaction through school events: Besides the class and individual students, the school as a whole is also to be represented in the events that take place. The events must not be a show of grandiosity but an opportunity to showcase the child’s potential reflected through the combined work of the teacher and the taught.
- Grievance Redressal: Grievance Redressal committee must be very prompt in listening to the parents’ concerns and rectifying the same.
- Child Protection: It is important all school staff be made aware about how to handle instances of Physical abuse, Emotional and mental abuse/harassment, Cyberbullying and Child sexual abuse so that they are equipped to initiate required action to ensure the safety and security of their students. Preventive strategies to aid prevention of situations that make schools unsafe or insecure for children should be in place, this will also reduce the possibility of the manifestation for any issue to take place or occur, thereby reducing children’s risk or vulnerability to their safety to their safety and security. The school should train staff for a better understanding of how to respond to situations that occur despite best of preventive measures.
- Results: Results speak the loudest and they echo for at least a year or until the next exam takes place. Nothing builds parents confidence than academic results. Call it a bias, but it is justified.
Parents hear and watch the school and from subjective opinions. The overall acceptance school earns from the community and the progress it makes by the year complements an increase in student enrollments. It would be remiss of me not to say that ethics, value system and will to excel are the factors that synthesize success of a school.