Bharat Malik — Chairman, Arya Gurukul Group of Schools, Mumbai
Bharat Malik is the Mumbai-based chairman of the Education Today Foundation (estb. 2006) which manages the Arya Gurukul Group of primary-secondary schools and preschools, with an aggregate enrolment of 6,000 students and 180 teachers. Malik is also a founding member of the National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) and vice president of the Federation of Unaided Private Schools Association of Maharashtra.
What is your overview of NEP 2020 released last month?
NEP 2020 has been announced after a waiting period of over three decades. The proposed shift to the 5+3+3+4 academic system, focus on vocational education and multi-lingualism in classroom instruction are all welcome reforms. But their implementation will require higher budgetary allocations for education and the willingness of stakeholders to change entrenched mindsets.
How satisfied are you with the switch of K-12 schools to online/blended learning during the current Covid-19 crisis? Is this a beneficial development for school education?
Digital online learning is the future of school education and the Covid-19 crisis has helped hasten this transition for many schools.
The past few months have witnessed increasing government interference in fees and online education delivery. How much damage has this caused to private schools?
The issues of online learning and fees should be resolved bilaterally by schools and parents. Government meddling in these matters is causing more harm than good. It’s clear there is little understanding within government of the enormous costs incurred by private schools in building IT infrastructure and training teachers. My earnest request to government is to let schools do their job to the best of their ability.
What initiatives have the Arya Gurukul Schools recently taken to upgrade teaching-learning?
Designated Microsoft Schools, all Arya Gurukul schools made a smooth transition to online teaching-learning when the national Covid-19 emergency lockdown was announced. Online classes, exams and virtual events are being conducted with ease and efficiency. Moreover, we have intensively trained our teachers in online pedagogies and encouraged them to enroll for online professional development programmes.
What are your Top 3 proposals for re-inventing India’s K-12 education system?
- Increase government investment in teacher education and training.
- Revamp assessment systems to include students’ individual and group learning capabilities.
- Design pedagogies that promote self-directed learning.