Schools should Strive to Promote Inter-Community and Inter-Cultural Harmony and Bridge the Gap between the Present and Older Generation

Says, Dhriti Malhotra, Principal, Manav Rachna , with almost 3 decades of rich experience behind her, she has earlier held the reigns of Ryan International School, Vasant Kunj New Delhi and Scottish High International School, Gurugram as the Principal. 

Malhotra has initiated the Special Education Needs (SEN) Department in the schools that she has led. The Inclusive Education Programme aims to integrate students with learning disabilities in mainstream education and addressing their needs so as to bring out the best in them.

She has been felicitated with the ‘Progressive Principal of India for the year 2017’, ‘Vidyashree Award’, ‘Avantika Dr. Radhakrishna Samman’, ‘Best Educationist Award’, ‘The Best State Principal –Haryana Zone’, ‘Best Mentor’ award and many more. Under her leadership, MRIS-46 has been awarded accreditation by the US based Advanced Commission for five years based on theSchool’s exemplary performance in all areas.

She joined the Manav Rachna Group in June 2009 at MRIS-46 where she began her journey of turning the MRIS vision and mission into a reality. School has grown from strength of 125 children to almost 2800 children in a span of just 9 years. Dhriti Malhotra, Principal, Manav Rachna in an interaction with Ekta Srivastava, Education…

Please tell us something about MRIS. Its concept and uniqueness.

Manav Rachna International School, Sector-46, Gurugram (incepted in 2008), is run under the aegis of the renowned Manav Rachna Educational Institutions. It is a new-age, co-educational school in India. The school focuses on producing people of substance, dedication and values, and above all good human beings. MRIS offers education, right from the entry level Toddlers to the exit level- Higher Secondary and aims to provide quality education at all levels.

Unique features of the school:

  • Techno Skill Lab (Atal Tinkering lab)
  • Special Education Needs Dept.
  • International Primary Curriculum
  • Smart classrooms
  • Rich Resource centre
  • State of art Infrastructure
  • Professional development programme
  • Learning Centres approach in Pre-primary
  • Sports Academy will in-house Shooting Range

What are the new situations and corresponding problems Indian education societies face nowadays.

With the advent of technology, learning and accessibility come at the click of a button.  This easy access and availability has made parents more demanding. Schools, therefore, need to evolve and maintain a robust connect with parents and other stakeholders.

The second problem is resistance to change. In some instances, the traditional methods of learning are still the preferred choice among learners. The third challenge is the undue media hype.

Under new situations and challenges, what relationships should schools pay more attention to in the process of innovative development?

Schools should strive to promote inter-community and inter-cultural harmony and bridge the gap between the present and older generation. Every change should correspond to the acceptance of an idea, for this the stakeholders i.e. parents must trust the schools for bringing in any change deemed necessary to meet the 21st Century challenges.

Do you think India has adequate technology usage and adoption in the education sector? What more can be done in your opinion?

Indians have the fastest adoption rate of technology in the world. If you talk about urban education sector, yes, technology has been adopted in a big way. However, a lot still needs to be achieved in the rural sector. More and more private schools should come forward to work closely with the schools at the rural level to ensure that the benefits of technology percolate to the grassroots level. For instance, Manav Rachna Educational Institutions have adopted 27 government schools in Faridabad for improving their infrastructure and quality of education.

The transformation from classroom learning and tuition to non-traditional online learning aids is not easy. What challenges did you face?

E-learning allows students to progress based on their intellectual capacities and the levels of comprehension.  Fast learners could potentially navigate faster through the curriculum while others need to labour over the same. The challenge is not the journey that has been covered between the traditional-teaching to non-traditional learning. Digital boards, e-contents, ERPs etc. are just the changing face of the tools which are being used to impart education but at the end what matters is learning. Since all our teachers are tech-savvy, we as a school did not face any challenges.

What technology initiatives do you see gaining maximum ground for K-12 schools?

The digitalisation of the academic content, tools like flip class-rooms, smart-boards, research based learning, and experiential learning are a few initiatives which are gaining ground. Online study tools and learning programs are other excellent technology initiatives that will gain maximum ground in schools.

Do you think e-Learning can help in educational progress in a vast country like India?

With the number of internet users in India expected to reach 250 million, India’s potential as a market for e-learning is enormous. A large number of new users are accessing the internet for the first time from their smart phones, which is the ideal, personalized and commerce-enabled platform for e-learning adoption. E-learning brings unique advantages, the prominent one being the ability to provide personalized attention to all students. Technology and e-learning are now taking education away from the conventional mode to an app-based model. We have travelled far from where we started with the advent of education resource planning (ERP) software, performance management and tracking systems, homework and assignment tracking and grading systems, classroom based distance learning platforms and interactive learning based social online platforms. The increase in internet connectivity has been an important catalyst for the growth of e-Learning.

Places where teachers are not sufficient could benefit a lot by e-learning. India being a progressive country will undoubtedly see educational progress through e-learning.

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