Francis Joseph — Co-founder, SLN Foundation, Mumbai
Well-known educationist Francis Joseph, who has over 25 years experience in education management in India and the Middle East, is the co-founder of School Leaders Network (SLN) Foundation (estb.2015) which works with 720 private and public schools countrywide to promote collaboration and sharing of best teaching learning practices.
NEP 2020 overview. It’s a forward step in the right direction. The policy’s focus on student learning outcomes and achieving foundational literacy and numeracy skills will positively impact Indian education. The universalisation of early childhood education, multi-disciplinary curricular and pedagogy approach, and focus on vocational education holds a lot of promise for the future generation.
The establishment of State School Regulatory Authority (SSRA) is welcome provided it is balanced with equal participation of all stakeholders and adopts a consultative, transparent and accountable approach in its functioning. However, the success of NEP 2020 will depend on its implementation and cultural adaptability, especially at the state and district levels.
Switch of K-12 schools to online/blended learning during the current Covid-19 crisis. The compulsory closure of schools induced common pain for all educators who had to switch to the online medium to maintain learning continuity. Some positives of this transition are that parental engagement has increased with parents and teachers becoming aware of their roles, teachers’ capability to use modern technology has improved vastly, and schools have greatly upgraded digital infrastructure, curriculums and innovated differentiated and personalised learning pedagogies. However though I am excited about teachers embracing online technologies, I am hopeful of physical schools reopening soon so that students can benefit from a holistic school experience.
Increasing government interference in private schools’ fees and online education delivery. Unfortunately, the myth that private schools are commercial, exploitative and indulge in unfair practice has wide currency. This perception is wrong and needs to change. Most recent government policies have been framed without any research and consultation with important stakeholders such as school managements, parents, legal experts and education boards. Faulty populist policies can seriously damage the private school ecosystem, creating a cloud of confusion and distrust among stakeholders. This will discourage private investment in school education.
SLN Foundation. The objective of the School Leaders Network Foundation is to upgrade both private and public schools through the power of collaboration. Over the past few months we have worked with school leaders, policy makers, education boards and influencers to improve teachinglearning standards across the board. SLN has made education policy recommendations to governments and education boards, enabled curriculum reforms in municipal and state government schools in Maharashtra, and conducted school development activities for affordable schools run by the Western Region Catholic Foundation for Education.
Top 3 proposals for re-inventing India’s K-12 education system.
- Grant greater autonomy to private schools especially in curriculum planning/delivery/assessment and administration.
- Establish an independent regulatory body or a shadow ministry of education in every state with equal participation of experts and practitioners from public and private schools, research organisations, parents, legal experts and government authorities.
- Set up a government recognised virtual school board, ensuring access and affordability of learners to online education