CEO, Heritage group of Institutions
An alum of Calcutta University with 27 years’ experience of managing top-ranked educational institutions, Pradip Kumar Agarwal is CEO of the Heritage Group comprising six education institutions in Kolkata including the top-ranked K-12 Heritage School, Heritage Institute of Technology, Heritage Academy, Heritage Business School, Heritage Law College and Heritage College. Together, they have 9,800 students instructed by 800 teachers on their muster rolls.
How have Heritage institutions responded to the Covid-19 disruption?
We have formed a Covid task force to aid all our institutions to respond effectively to this unprecedented crisis. All Heritage institutions including school and colleges have moved their teaching-learning online using Google Classroom and conduct regular online training sessions for teachers to equip them with digital skills. Moreover, we organise webinars and psychological and career counseling sessions for students. Most importantly, we have distributed textbooks, including stationery to all our students, using our bus transport network. We have also dis
tributed cooked meals to 300 people living in neighbouring villages and made a contribution of Rs.50 lakh each to the PM Cares Fund & CM Relief Fund
What are the major challenges confronting K-12 education in the Covid era?
The biggest challenge is to alleviate fear within the parents community about sending children back to school when the lockdown is eased. Students and parents are struggling to cope with the switch to online learning because of poor Internet network and lack of digital devices. It will be a major challenge to persuade students and parents to overcome fears and anxieties relating to the pandemic at a time when businesses and employment have been hard hit
Several state governments have issued fees waiver/deferment circulars to private schools. What’s your comment?
As a temporary fire-fighting intervention, it is understandable. However, fees deferment for a longer period will create a crisis with private education institutions unable to pay teachers and staff salaries. Moreover, fees deferment should not be treated as waiver.
What are your Top 3 proposals for reforming K-12 and higher education in India?
• Implement the recommendations of the draft National Education Policy 2019 and increase expenditure on public education • Revamp K-12 and higher education curriculums to boost interdisciplinary learning with facility of credit transfers • Establish a K-12 education council/ board with uniform syllabus and assessment system countrywide.
What are your future plans for the Heritage Group?
We want to develop and transform our higher ed institutions into a state-of-the-art university providing excellent teaching and research facilities.