Praveen Raju — Founder, Suchitra Academy, Hyderabad
An engineering graduate of Osmania University, former nationally ranked snooker player and former executive director of the Indus International School, Hyderabad, Praveen Raju is founder-director of the CBSE (Delhi) and Cambridge International (UK)-affiliated Suchitra Academy, Hyderabad (estb.2011), which has 1,500 students and 120 teachers on its muster rolls.
NEP 2020 overview. It’s a forward looking policy. Reforms such as integration of vocational skills and co-curricular education, overhauling of the B.Ed study programme, introduction of playbased early childhood curriculums, project-based learning, are sure to make Indian education globally comparable. However, effective implementation of NEP 2020 is required to realise transformative change in the education sector.
Transition to online/blended learning during the current Covid-19 crisis. I am very pleased with the way our teachers have embraced the transition to online/blended learning and ensured learning continuity of children. The blended learning model is here to stay. In the post-Covid era, remedial classes, parent-teacher meetings, etc can all be done remotely. Teachers are no longer averse to technology and this is sure to benefit all schools in the years to come.
Fallout of government interference in fees and online education delivery of private schools. About 1,000 budget private schools have shut down in Telangana and another 2,000 are on the verge of closure. With 90 percent of school expenditure fixed, fee deferment/waiver notifications have resulted in massive losses to school managements. Moreover, the government has offered no rebate in GST, property tax, electricity or road tax to schools.
Curiously, some sections of the media have contended that school managements can afford to, and should give, concessions to parents. This has resulted in parents holding back fee payments despite having capacity to pay, creating a debilitating atmosphere of mistrust. Now with unreasonable screen time restrictions, government is ensuring that we won’t complete syllabuses on time.
Suchitra Academy major initiatives. We run the Suchitra Badminton Academy, a training centre for badminton professionals — Olympic silver medallist P.V. Sindhu trains at our academy — and are also a recognised Khelo India centre, training many athletes ranked in India’s Top 10. During the recent Covid crisis, we designed a unique fitness curriculum for school children delivered online by experienced trainers. These workout sessions energise the mind, body and spirit and include yoga and meditation.
Top 3 proposals for re-inventing India’s K-12 education system.
- Implement the curricular, pedagogical and teacher reforms proposed in NEP 2020 at the earliest.
- Allow for-profit institutions in education to attract long-term capital from domestic and international capital markets and boost foreign direct investment. USA, China, Japan, Germany and UK and almost all of India’s neighbouring countries in Asia, the Middle East and Africa allow for-profit investment in education.
- The Central government should issue an advisory to all state governments to enact enabling legislation such as the Uttar Pradesh SelfFinanced Independent Schools (Fee Regulation) Act, 2018.