Trustee, Jodhamal Public School, Jammu
Nandan Kuthiala is promoter-trustee of the CBSE-affiliated Jodhamal Public School, Jammu (JPS, estb.2005), which has 2,650 students mentored by 140 teachers on its musters. An alum of Mayo College, Ajmer and Delhi University and a real estate entrepreneur, over the past 15 years Kuthiala has nurtured and developed JPS into Jammu’s #1 co-ed day school in the EW India School Rankings 2019-20.
The Covid-19 crisis has majorly disrupted the education system. How has JPS responded to this challenge?
Swiftly and proactively. We launched online classes in the first week of April and supplemented them with in-house designed online worksheets and lesson notes. We have also purchased access to several reputed online education platforms which is provided free-of-charge to students. This will enable them to access a wide range of teaching-learning content.
What are the major challenges confronting Indian education in the Covid era?
Poor Internet connectivity and access to reliable digital devices. Most children, especially in government schools, don’t have Internet connectivity and teachers aren’t equipped with the digital skills to conduct online classes. And once schools reopen, it will be a challenge to maintain physical distancing and conduct sports and co-curricular activities.
Several state governments have issued fees waiver/deferment circulars to private school managements…
The government should adopt a balanced approach as teachers and staff salaries need to be paid. To make fees payment easier, state governments should direct schools to collect monthly tuition fees during the lockdown period — rather than quarterly and half-yearly. Transportation and other charges should become payable once schools reopen.
What are your proposals for reforming K-12 education in India?
The curriculums and assessment systems of state exam boards should be brought on a par with the pan-India CBSE. Moreover, there should be a total revamp and standardisation of primary school curriculums to enable youngest children to learn through creative play-based pedagogies.
The situation in Jammu & Kashmir is yet to normalise after the trifurcation of the state, and now the Corona pandemic has made it worse. But I am hopeful about the future and have plans of promoting a new school in Kashmir or the Kangra Valley.