Rohan Bhat — Chairman, Children’s Academy, Mumbai
A commerce and education graduate of Mumbai University, Rohan Bhat is chairman of the Children’s Academy Group of Schools, with three branches in Mumbai, and an aggregate enrolment of over 8,000 students. Children’s Academy, Malad and Kandivali are ranked among the Top 10 co-ed day schools of Mumbai in the EW India School Rankings 2019-20.
NEP 2020 overview. NEP 2020 has proposed several overdue reforms. I am especially pleased with the proposal to increase public spending on education to 6 percent of GDP; the merger of early childhood education with formal primary education; creation of a new National Curriculum Framework and introduction of a four-year B.Ed degree. 360 degree holistic student assessment is also a great idea. But it remains to be seen how well schools adapt to this new assessment system given that previous attempts have failed due to disconnect of education policy makers with ground realities. If successfully implemented, these reforms will revolutionise school education.
Moreover, education is in the concurrent list of the Constitution, and how each state implements the policy will determine its effectiveness. I sincerely hope the timelines set in the policy are adhered to strictly, else the entire exercise will be futile.
Online/blended learning efficacy during the current Covid-19 crisis. Despite many challenges, online/blended learning has worked well for us during this unprecedented crisis. The learning experience and investment in online infrastructure will benefit all schools and improve teachinglearning processes. There will be a better balance between online and conventional classroom learning once the situation normalizes.
Increasing government interference in fees and online education delivery by private schools. India hosts 1.5 million schools which provide varying infrastructure, teacher-pupil ratios, sports facilities etc. A one-size-fitsall solution is untenable. Therefore, Central and state governments need to prioritise raising teachinglearning standards in government schools. Micro-managing of private schools by government is unnecessary and against the public interest.
Children’s Academy initiatives. The Children’s Academy Group celebrated its golden jubilee in 2019-2020. We have consistently upgraded our infrastructure and learning outcomes over the past five decades and are currently ranked among the most prestigious schools of Mumbai. We accord high importance to teacher training with the first Saturday of every month dedicated to professional development. Over the past few months, we have intensively trained our teachers to use digital tools for creating video lessons and providing online learning.
Top 3 proposals for re-inventing K-12 education.
- Allow schools to operate as for profit businesses under guidelines prescribed by the government in a manner similar to price control of life saving drugs.
- Government should establish an independent body of education experts to supervise school managements. This body should have a fixed tenure of 5-7 years to ensure that decisions taken are not overridden by successor governments.
- Government should provide education vouchers to parents to enable them to select schools of their choice