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Eduleader Focus: Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia, Principal, KIIT World School, Delhi

EducationWorld Eduleader Focus features interviews with education stalwarts and principals of reputed educational institutions. In this edition, Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia, Principal of KIIT World School, Pitampura, Delhi (estb.1965) and mentor, Happy Hours School (Feeder Primary School), discusses the challenges involved in implementing India’s National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020) and talks about the various aspects of education at KIIT World School that have contributed to the institution’s rich six-decade-old legacy.

Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia, Principal, KIIT World School

A Chemistry postgraduate of Delhi  University with a Ph.D. in Bio Inorganic Chemistry (Delhi University), Dr. Bhatia earned her B. Ed. qualification from Annamalai University (Tamil Nadu). She started teaching at KIIT World School (erstwhile New State Academy) while pursuing her Ph.D. and over the next few years, she steadily rose through the ranks to helm the school as its principal. 

With over four decades’ experience in teaching and institution administration, Dr. Bhatia also serves as a CBSE master trainer and is closely involved with STEM teaching as Senior Vice President, Delhi State Science Teachers’ Forum. A former member of the CBSE governing body, she is a recipient of the National Award to Teachers 2008 of the Ministry of Education, CBSE Teachers National Award 2005 and CBSE State Teachers’ Award 2003. 

Excerpts: 

Please elaborate on the new initiatives and innovations in teaching-learning that you have introduced since assuming charge as the principal of KIIT World School.

Innovation has been our continuous journey of over fifty years, rather than a stand-alone event. Innovation is seen as a response to the new and evolving environment, and we have introduced best practices in curriculum planning, introduction of 21st century skills in the curriculum, assessment & evaluation norms, including development of anecdotal records and pedagogical tools, and promoting sustainability and responsible citizenship.

The initiatives that deserve special mention are those which focus on individualised learning wherein we have developed and honed approaches like Personal Learning Curve and Reflective Journaling. These are oriented towards enabling every child to excel, knowing their strengths and identifying areas where they need extra support. 

Connecting with the wider community is another area of focus. The Class Climate Survey is an important way for teachers to step back and receive feedback from parents and mentors. I am an advocate of integrating the global dimension into the curriculum, and the KIIT World School facilitates cultural and educational exchange with countries like the UK, South Korea, Germany, Scotland, Uganda and Poland.

What do you believe are the distinguishing features of education at KIIT World School? (Including school culture, pedagogical innovations and global exposure provided to students)

KIIT World School is today recognised as a changemaker in education. Our distinctive teaching-learning approach is built around values of curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, and innovation that are grounded in independent thinking. This dynamism sets our school apart. 

We believe that education must evolve to keep up with the times. Our focus on interdisciplinary learning, continuous investment in technology and in the latest pedagogies keep us in step with the future. One of the first schools to invest in a MakerSpace Lab, our Idea Factory stands for the innovation and creativity that are part of our DNA. The Idea Factory, international peer-to-peer learning and our international collaborations began as pilot projects that have developed into integral parts of our learning.

Each student takes charge of learning and displays ownership, whether it is in academics or even school administration, developing as a confident individual and a lifelong learner with the ability to grow continuously.

Please elaborate on the teacher/faculty development programme at KIIT World School.

We invest deeply in ongoing learning for teachers. In fact, we see ‘assessment as learning’ for us, the teaching community. Every teaching initiative is reviewed, evaluated and improved in an iterative manner. A regular calendar of CBSE-led workshops, capacity building programmes and internal training supplemented with online learning through Diksha, Swayam and Nipun platforms keep our teachers well-informed and knowledgeable outside their subject areas, and emotionally equipped for their roles. 

The Centre for Innovation in Teaching & Learning (CITL) promotes innovative pedagogical approaches both on campus and in online classrooms. We continuously invest in state-of-the-art technology and educational tools, fostering an environment where teachers can experiment and implement creative teaching methodologies. 

How satisfied are you with the growth and development of the school? 

Today, I take pride in the fact that over 5,000 of our alumni are engaged in diverse professions from medicine and law to media. When I meet them at my office or in different parts of the world, there is a sense of deep satisfaction with the work that we have done at KIIT World School. Our students stand tall in every arena. 

I am never at rest though, and we will be working towards benchmarking ourselves against international best practices and contributing towards new educational paradigms in a global context. 

What is your take on the new 5+3+3+4 education format recommended by NEP 2020

The specification of age-appropriate development milestones and an integrated approach must be welcomed. The importance of early childhood education and ongoing evaluation in a consistent framework will reduce the pressure of the 10+2 board exams and prepare children over a period of time – this is no small achievement. However, successful implementation will depend on various factors, including curriculum design and stakeholder collaboration. 

How prepared is KIIT World School for implementing the new format from the new academic year? Do you foresee any challenges the school’s stakeholders (students, parents, teachers) might face during the transition to the new structure?

The National Education Policy 2020 has laid out a vast and comprehensive agenda for change in India’s education landscape. As we have introduced various futuristic initiatives several years ago at KIIT World School, we have already traveled some distance towards the NEP 2020 goals. We are poised to make the most of this new direction. The key challenges that we foresee are creating a better understanding of the new policy and ensuring that teachers are equipped with the required skills and knowledge to implement the new educational vision.

Please elaborate on the new projects/initiatives in teaching-learning at KIIT World School and future plans for the school.

From art integration to phenomena-based learning, we have started following a broader curriculum and a more interdisciplinary approach. This initiative translates into new ways of teaching-learning and it is transforming classroom interaction and teacher competencies. We think about how teachers from disciplines can work together within existing curricular requirements, embedding concepts from different domains in a structured manner. The approach is not individual-led but systemic. It incorporates the different skills that teachers require to come together as a collective. Regular in-house Master Classes demonstrate and model the approach as teachers become learners and explore wide-ranging subjects within a single class. 

If there was one thing you could change in India’s education system, what would it be?

I would seek fast implementation of forward-looking progressive measures such as those outlined in the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. I believe in the importance of action and effective implementation for India to make significant strides towards building a more inclusive, and high-quality education system. 

What is your philosophy of education?

Our classrooms have to be nurturing and inclusive environments, where every student is empowered to reach their full potential. Our school motto “I am a promise, I am a possibility” aptly sums up my philosophy. It envisages a system that enables students to become lifelong learners, critical thinkers, and compassionate citizens prepared to contribute positively to society, in different ways that make the most of their unique capabilities.

One word to describe your leadership style.

Unwavering. 

 

Also read:

Implementing NEP 2020

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