Covid19 Education Warriors: Rashid Sharfuddin, SelaQui International School

EducationWorld October 2020 | Spotlight Feature

Promoted in 2000, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) affiliated SelaQui International School (SIS), Dehradun offers holistic 21st century learning steeped in Indian traditions and values. Routinely ranked among the Top 10 co-ed boarding schools in the country in the annual EducationWorld India School Rankings, SIS has been at the forefront of pedagogical innovations with special emphasis on developing 21st century skills and global competencies and technology integration in the teaching-learning process.

During the ongoing mass shutdown of educational institutions prompted by the novel coronavirus pandemic outbreak, the SIS management, under the leadership of Rashid Sharfuddin, has been drawing upon the expertise of the SIS faculty in deploying technology in the teaching-learning process to provide a seamless online learning experience to students and also mobilising the school community to help those worst impacted by the Covid-19 crisis.

“SelaQui International School was among first schools in the country to deliver digital technologies driven learning for students during the initial days of the national lockdown in March. I am extremely proud of my colleagues who despite many personal and professional challenges, stepped up to support students and parents during this unprecedented crisis. They have reinvented themselves and in the process, the entire pedagogical process. SIS’ steady growth,  wonderful board results and excellent rankings are attributable solely to their efforts,” says Rashid Sharfuddin, headmaster of SIS.

An alumna of the University of Delhi with a masters degree in School Management and International Education of the University of Bath (UK), Rashid Sharfuddin started his teaching career when he was just 21. Following his teaching stint in highly reputed boarding schools of the country — The Lawrence School, Lovedale, and Assam Valley School, Guwahati — he signed up with the The Doon School, Dehradun — the country’s top-ranked boarding school — as a history master in 2003. He served as the assistant housemaster of Jaipur House (2008-2011), housemaster of Oberoi House (2012) and was the housemaster of Jaipur House before being appointed headmaster at SelaQui International School in 2014. A sports enthusiast and an avid biker, traveller and reader, Rashid Sharfuddin has been keenly interested in the education of marginalised communities and has presented research papers on the subject at various national and international seminars. He has also researched the history of early 20th century Delhi. His study on the renaming of New Delhi roads was nominated the most original research paper at a history seminar in Delhi University.

Under his able guidance, the SIS management and staff has ensured a smooth transition of the schools teaching-learning processes to online platforms in the following ways:

Initially, the school staff drew upon their expertise in providing blended learning to swiftly move the teaching-learning processes online with the help of digital platforms such as Zoom and Google Classroom.

Subsequently, the Microsoft Teams platform was used as a one-stop solution for teaching, assignments and assessments for all classes.

The SelaQui staff also created a 136-page detailed training manual to assist teachers in delivering an excellent blended learning experience. 

Community outreach

All members of the school community donated a part of their salaries to the PM Relief Fund.

Under the guidance of the school captain Ganesh Tripathi, the student council conducted an online meeting of all students to discuss contribution of their two months’ tuck amount to those worst affected by the pandemic. 

In collaboration with the local administration, the school community also supported the daily wage earners in the neighborhood through donation of  dry ration and medicines. This humanitarian gesture was also covered by national news channels.

The school management ensured that all the support staff were being paid full salary despite being confined to their homes.

Professional counselling was provided to students and parents in dealing with various emotional and other issues.

A series of webinars on various pertinent issues were also conducted wherein experts from various walks of life shared their opinions with the school community.

“Our efforts to ensure learning continuity of students has been applauded by all students and parents. We have almost 95 percent attendance for our online classes. Parents have been included in the process by sharing regular updates and achievements of students. They are not only praising all our efforts but also standing with us strongly by paying fee on time. We are grateful for all the support we have received from our parents as they appreciate our teachers’ commitment to educating their children despite the struggle and pandemic,” says Rashid Sharfuddin.

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