An education and business management alumna of Panjab University, Dr. Niyati Chitkara is principal of the CBSE-affiliated Chitkara International School (CIS), Chandigarh. Promoted by the Chitkara Educational Trust, which has also established the Chitkara University, CIS has an enrolment of 1,800 students and 120 teachers on its muster rolls.
Are you satisfied with the Union Budget 2018-19 allocation of Rs.85,010 crore for education?
Yes, I am pleased with the increased budgetary allocation for education. I hope the allocated amount is utilised optimally to improve the quality of public school and higher education.
What is your solution to reforming the country’s failing teacher education system and crisis of lack of qualified teachers?
Our teacher education system, particularly the curriculums of teacher training colleges need radical reform to produce teachers who can educate 21st century learners. The government’s proposal mooted in the Union Budget to introduce a four-year integrated B.Ed programme is an excellent idea.
What are your Top 5 suggestions for reforming K-12 education?
• We need to rejig the K-12 education structure for preparing children for higher education and workplaces. We should plan for kindergarten to industry rather than K-12.
• The focus of K-12 education should move beyond exams to developing children’s diverse skills and talents. A child’s progress report should comprise academic, co-curricular and sports achievements.
• We need to redesign the format in which we give feedback to students. Examinations and report cards are just one of the tools of assessment and not the be all. Feedback needs to be holistic, data-driven and timely.
• Schools should create purposeful faculty development programmes to continuously train teachers in contemporary pedagogies.
• Every school should offer structured career and guidance counselling. With the employment market continuously evolving, it’s important to prepare students for the changing jobs market.
Also read: Chitkara’s reverse gamut of education