‘Every child is unique and deserves special attention’https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/every-child-is-unique-and-deserves-special-attention/

‘Every child is unique and deserves special attention’

A schools’ initiative from The Indian express Quest Interview with Amita Khorana,Principal, Shishu Niketan Model Sr. Sec. School,Sector 22-D, Chandigarh

Can you tell us about the academic scenario in your school? What sets it apart from other schools?

We are one of the premier and oldest co-educational senior secondary schools,providing education in medical,non-medical and commerce streams in the City Beautiful since 1953.

From a humble beginning with only two students on its rolls,under the able guidance of its Founder Director,today Shishu Niketan has become a force to reckon with.

I am a product of DPS Mathura Road and Lady Shri Ram College in New Delhi. I have tried to enrich the general ambience of the school and be a source of motivation to my students and staff alike.

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Our education methodology is strictly based on CCE from Class I onwards. Academics has always been our forte.

Our students have created a niche for themselves by bagging top slots in the merit list of CBSE each year.

It is the blending of the traditional and modern in our system of imparting instructions that sets us apart. For us every child is unique and deserves special attention.

We provide opportunities in accordance with the needs and talent of each child,always moving with the aim of making the child confident,disciplined and responsible.

How do you feel about the rule that you cannot fail a student till Class VIII? Do you see this as a lowering of educational standard or as an important rule?

It is a good move because in the formative years a child needs encouragement and motivation rather than being labelled a ‘failure’. It does not lower education standards in any way,provided problems are faced and rectified in their initial stages.

We take remedial steps like extra classes in case of weak students and close interaction with parents in case of behavioural problems right from Class I-II onwards so that the problem does not get compounded by the time the student reaches Class VIII.

There is no room for any punishment for the child who is handled psychologically all along.

In fact,it is an important step if we plan to achieve 100 per cent literacy and compulsory education till 14 years of age.

What are your views regarding the RTE Act about providing 25 per cent reservation to students from lower rung of society? What measures has your school taken to achieve that?

It is a blessing for children of the lower rung of the society. A number of ills in society are a by-product of lower strata of our society simply because they are uneducated.

25 per cent reservation enables them to have an opportunity to break open from their narrow walls and merge with the rest. We have been adhering to this reservation for EWS category children. Besides,we also provide concession to fatherless children in the beginner’s class.

Is the current grading system better for students? Is putting the spotlight on toppers unwarranted and unnecessary? Or is it an important gesture?

Though in the beginning there seemed to be some resistance regarding the grading system,but with the passage of time realisation is dawning upon all regarding the efficacy of the system. Sure,it is a broader term now.

Students scoring 9.1 – 10 points fall in the same category and a child is judged not only on the basis of written examination. The grades take a much wider view of the child’s scholastic and extra-curricular activities. Grades,being a continuous assessment of a child’s personality,do away with any of the complexes a child may fall prey to.

On the other hand,putting spotlight on toppers is surely an important gesture. It is important for all to get recognised and appreciated for their hard work. Such a gesture definitely motivates a child to continue his good work.

Is an adequate teacher-pupil ratio maintained in your school? Do you ensure sufficient training is provided to the teachers?

Yes,we maintain teacher-pupil ratio as per CBSE norms. Teachers deal with students individually,giving personal attention to each student in their class. Our teachers are highly qualified, skilled and trained to teach respective grades. We regularly send our teachers to attend seminars and workshops to hone their skills and upgrade their knowledge. Also,teachers are sent for in-service training.

How much importance do you give to sports and other extra-curricular activities in the school?

Sports and extra-curricular activities are as important as curricular activities. No education is complete if it is limited to either academic or non-academic aspects alone. Participating in at least one sport is necessary for our children. So is the case with activities like yoga. Every year a number of our students represent the school at various national and international events. For extra-curricular activities,we have a number of clubs like literary,cookery,stationery,art and craft. Our environment club ‘Sanjeevni’ and health club are actively shouldering the responsibility of spreading awareness among the public. Our creative clubs like Dance and Music are again compulsory to be opted. Our inter-house competitions give appropriate exposure to students in public-speaking and dramatics,while NCC,NSS and Girl Scouts have been included as integral part of our school.

Our school has hosted many state and national sports event. We were the host and winners of the Inter-School Ball Badminton Championship by UT,Chandigarh in August this year. In October,we will host the CBSE Kho-Kho cluster (North Zone).

What are your views on value education? What is the importance of value education in today’s times?

Our uniqueness lies in our value-based education. We believe in producing students who are firmly grounded in cultural values. Respecting elders,sincerity,hardwork,truthfulness,cooperation form an integral part of our instructional system,which in turn keep alive the guru-shishya tradition.

In today’s world,where a child bears onslaughts of all sorts of information from the media and where parents have little time,we take upon ourselves the responsibility of teaching and making the child aware. We ensure our students acquire a decisive,disciplined,independent,yet useful view of the problems and situations.

What is your school’s vision for the next ten years?

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I visualize Shishu Niketan as one of the best schools that not only maintains its existing academic standards of excellence but also achieves many more milestones in every field. I see my children as healthier,happier and morally-sound individuals capable of doing away with the vices of our society. We would like to make them politically wise and socially vigilant citizens,who are good enough to shoulder the

responsibility of their nation.