Established under the aegis of the Anandilal Podar Trust (estb. 1927) which was helmed by Mahatma Gandhi as its first president, Podar Education Network is committed to “provide contemporary education rooted in Indian traditions and values of honesty, integrity and service.”
Promoted in 1927 by prominent businessman-philanthropist and freedom fighter Sheth Anandilal Podar, the Podar Education Network (PEN) has metamorphosed into a nationally respected education conglomerate with 136 proprietary Podar International Schools and 79 Podar partner schools (Podar Learn School) with an aggregate enrollment of over 1,80,000 students mentored by 7,600 committed staff.
Established under the aegis of the Anandilal Podar Trust (estb. 1927) which was helmed by Mahatma Gandhi as its first president, PEN is committed to “provide contemporary education rooted in Indian traditions and values of honesty, integrity and service.”
PEN’s steadily growing pan-India network of education institutions also includes pre-primaries (Podar Jumbo Kids) and colleges offering international undergraduate and graduate degrees and part-time courses and teacher training institutes.
“In consonance with our mission statement ‘to provide the children of India with the necessary skills to face the challenges of the 21st century’, we strive to build independent, responsible, global citizens through a widely accepted curriculum and practices that are founded on learner-centric education. Therefore, each Podar school imparts world class education through the best use of modern resources, developing young minds to think, question and create. Our network of schools aim to blend strong cultural fundamentals of Indian society with advanced learning tools acquired from around the world giving education an exciting and dynamic direction,” says Dr Pavan Podar, Chairman, Podar Education Network.
Standardisation of curriculum and teaching-learning practices
The Podar Education Network is distinguished by its commitment to centralise and standardise teaching-learning quality and curriculum design functions. The establishment of the Podar Innovation Center (PIC) was the first step towards this direction.
Incepted in 2008 with a team of five creative and enthusiastic academics committed to usher in meaningful changes in education, today PIC boasts a team of more than 80 academicians, educationists and experts who work towards facilitating teaching and learning across PEN’s entire K-12 spectrum. The team is committed to providing high quality academic and non-academic support to all the Podar schools based on the curriculum guidelines of the various national and international school-leaving examination boards including the Central Board for Secondary Education, Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations, the Maharashtra state board and the Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE), UK.
PEN’s centralised and standardised teaching-learning practices ensure that irrespective of where a school is located, the Podar standard of education is maintained. Right from selecting textbooks, building syllabus, making the yearly planners, developing lesson plans using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and other teaching aids, formulating worksheets, designing question papers and internal assessments, developing guidelines for activities, projects and lab work, the PIC team strives to ensure that students receive high quality education.
Ensuring learning continuity during the pandemic
With the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent mass closure of education institutions, the Podar institutions swiftly transitioned to online platforms to ensure the provision of uninterrupted learning for students. In the short transition period from pre-lockdown to lockdown the Podar Innovation Centre created a Virtual School Plan (VSP) that went live on April 2, 2020 – the scheduled day for the start of the new academic session.
The Virtual School Plan (VSP) encompassed a three-pronged approach – creation of content to support synchronous and asynchronous virtual classroom teaching in the form of resources such as lesson plans and student support documents amongst others, creation of a support system to guide teachers, students and parents alike to enable smooth transition onto a teaching-learning platform and lastly, the creation of a system to continuously monitor and evaluate the performance of schools despite the odds. To create and execute the plan effectively, all verticals of the PIC worked in perfect synergy.
Innovation Lab: Even before the onset of the pandemic, Podar International schools distinguished themselves through effective integration of technology in the classroom. The schools’ state-of-the-art Innovation Lab enables students to acquire hands-on experience on the latest technologies such as Robotics, Coding, Drones, Virtual Reality, and 3D Printing. The Innovation Lab is a dedicated space designed for children to apply STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) concepts with an integrated curriculum. It serves as an avenue to reach students who want to express themselves creatively and encourages collaboration and out-of-the-box thinking.
With generous investment in research and development to build the infrastructure, curriculum, and support, plans are underway to launch the Innovation Lab in all the 136 campuses of Podar International School in a phased manner.
BetweenUs Portal: The in-house developed parent-school communication portal BetweenUs allows parents to track attendance and fees, view messages, circulars, information, resources, and much more. Moreover, by enabling two-way communication between teachers and parents, it promotes strong home-school partnership.
Lending a helping hand during the pandemic
Podar Education Network set up an industrial kitchen at Sewri, Mumbai to provide meals to the homeless and destitute.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Podar Charity Kitchen provided over 600 plates of wholesome meals each day to quarantined patients and frontline workers such as government officials, doctors, paramedics, etc. Overall, the kitchen provided almost 40,000 plates of food during the three-month lockdown (April 1 – June 30) in 2020.
“COVID-19 is a pandemic that illustrates how globally interconnected we all are – there is no longer such a thing as isolated issues and actions. The future generation needs to be able to understand this interrelatedness and navigate across boundaries to leverage their differences and collaborate globally. In the future, a hybrid model of education which encompasses both digital and in-person education will be important,” says Dr Podar.
Also read:Campus, News