Manan Choksi — Executive director, Udgam School, Ahmedabad
Manan Choksi is executive director of the CBSE-affiliated Udgam School for Children, ranked Ahmedabad’s #3 co-ed day school in the EW India School Rankings 2019-20. A commerce and law graduate of Gujarat University and qualified chartered accountant, he also manages the CBSE-affiliated Zebar School and two preschools — Bodakdev and Satellite — all in Ahmedabad. Aggregate enrolment: 7,500 students mentored by 600 teachers.
What is your assessment of the NEP 2020?
It will be a very good policy prescription even if 50 percent of it is implemented. We need to raise greater awareness about NEP 2020 and discuss it widely on public platforms.
Will the switch to online/blended learning during the current Covid-19 crisis benefit Indian K-12 education in future?
Covid-19 has pushed the education community into the tech era. It’s commendable that teachers across the country have risen to the challenge of ensuring learning continuity for children through online education delivery. We are witnessing measurable academic progress and it’s a great achievement that children’s learning hasn’t stopped. The beneficial outcome of the Covid-19 crisis is that hybrid classes are the future.
The past few months have witnessed incremental government interference with the tuition fees and online education delivery of private schools. How much damage has this caused?
Schools are usually run by publicspirited people who want to nurture future generations. No person without public service in mind would enter the education sector as there are better opportunities elsewhere. When government interferes in education, it demoralises school leaders and teachers. Moreover, government should have a balanced view rather than favouring parents all the time. If private schools are evil, why are they not banned?
What are the major initiatives Udgam School has recently taken to upgrade teaching-learning?
We believe in continuous improvement and made a major push towards integrating technology into our teaching-learning processes before the Covid-19 lockdown. Other initiatives have been in the areas of bolstering teacher training, and providing remedial education through personalised teacher interventions.
What are your Top 3 proposals for reinventing India’s K-12 education system?
- Government should encourage promotion of private schools. Greater competition will lead to overall improvement in K-12 education standards, and fees will become automatically regulated. Teachers will get good salaries, and students better education.
- Increase teacher accountability. Teachers should be assessed on the basis of student performance, and parents’ ratings under several parameters.
- Government should frame rules for private schools bearing parents aspirations in mind. Very often, parents demands are at variance with government guidelines. For instance, the government recommends mother-tongue as medium of instruction but parents want English-medium education.