Child is the Centre of Education
Dr. Pratap Naik, S.J.
Thomas Stephens Konknni Kendr
Alto Porvorim, Goa - 403 521
These days in Goa discussion is centred on medium of instruction and grants. Terms such as mother tongue, official language, regional language, vernacular language, etc are used without technical clarity. In the discussion the centre of the topic, namely, child is ignored and the focus is on secondary topics, like linguistic identity, culture, school timings. The entire education system exists for the sake of child. Hence textbook writing, curriculum, selection and training of teachers, evaluation system, school management and school environment should be focused on the all round development of the child. In our country there are enough organizations to protect and fight for the rights of various categories of people. But hardly any organization exists to protect the rights of children. In this context, parents have the right and duty to safeguard the interest and future of their children. Hence even if they are illiterate and incompetent their right to choose the medium of instruction cannot be and should not be ignored. Medium of instruction and government grants are two separate issues. Giving grants to schools depends on the policy and the financial availability of the respective governments.
In Goa those who are demanding grants to English medium schools should also think of the option to switch over from Konknni/ Marathi medium schools to English medium from the academic year 2011-2012, without government grants. All over India thousands of English medium schools are run without the government grants. Every year hundreds of new English medium schools are started all over India without government grants. In fact some of the best schools in India are managed without government grants. Let me illustrate my point with only two examples. Ryan International Group of Institutions (RIGI), Mumbai runs all over India 98 English medium schools. Mrs. Grace Pinto and Dr. Augustine Pinto a Konknni speaking couple from Mangalore Diocese are the founders and managing directors of these schools. Now they want to expand their schools and professional institutions to USA, Australia, Middle East, Singapore, Canada, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and South Africa. Mrs. Grace Pinto and her schools have been awarded several local, national and international awards and felicitations for the quality of education.
The RIGI believes that when education is force-fed, the student begins to dislike the process of learning, and dread examinations and homework. The conventional "teacher-to-student" or one-way method of teaching is giving way to active involvement of the students in the learning process through group workshops, where the teacher co-ordinates and facilitates the process. Quality education for every student is the aim and children are urged to limit dependence on private tuitions. Individual attention is provided to develop oral and written expression. Our effort is to encourage self-learning, while developing the mind, body and spirit.
In today's global village, students have to adapt to different cultures, understand foreign languages and etiquette in order to be effective citizens of the world. The RIGI provides multiple opportunities for students to learn foreign languages and cultures while retaining Indian values. RIGI constantly imbibes best practices from other internationally renowned schools both in India and abroad, and shares experiences with other educational institutions. An exchange programme involves both students and teachers at national and international levels. It is generally believed that schools have adopted a system of methodic torture. The RIGI Schools has worked systematically to remove this stigma from the educative process and make it more participative and enjoyable. Home assignments are not a carry-over of class work but oriented towards honing individual talents. These include reference books for reading, sports and physical development, general knowledge, civic responsibilities, talent cultivation etc.
RIGI offers value added National and International Quality Education. Its curriculum leads to nationally and internationally recognized qualifications. RIGI runs CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education), ICSE (Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations), SSC & HSC (Secondary and Higher School Certificate), IGCSE, A & O Level (Cambridge International Examinations). Recently, 11 of RIGI institutions have been awarded the "International Centre Status" by the Cambridge International Examinations, United Kingdom.
RIGI's commitment towards quality education is of prime importance. Education has undergone a tremendous change with the passage of time. A unidirectional teaching method is being increasingly substituted by a multidirectional group workshop method. Here the teacher becomes the group facilitator, nurturing students without the phobia of examinations and homework. At this juncture RIGI institutes use various teaching aids and teaching methods which enable understanding capability in concepts with relevant practicality/application. New strategies and ideas are frequently exchanged between teachers to improve the performance of the students and also plan for the current and future sessions. RIGI works in association with several institutions worldwide in focused areas such as teacher-exchange and development programmes. The use of technological tools in the delivery of the curriculum is stepping up as our defining strength.
Imparting education is not a mundane process that is restricted solely to the use of chalk and blackboard. At RIGI, teachers are not programmed to simply pass on knowledge and facts to the students. RIGI teachers teach them to logically think and reason, ask questions, discover, develop, encourage logical reasoning and independent problem solving skills in the students and foster a care and concern for fellow beings, execute every task entrusted to them with efficiency, responsibility and dedication.
To ensure sound teaching practices, selected candidates are professionally screened before recruitment. The basic 5 qualities that we seek and aim to develop in a teacher are: - 'Vision, Passion, Integrity, Connectivity and Intelligence'. In order to improve and increase the overall performance of the faculty we organize and participate in a variety of workshop, seminars, conference and team building exercises. These workshops play a vital role in upgrading the knowledge base and the latest trends in education.
Little Rock Indian School (LRIS) took its humble birth in 1982 in a small town of Brahmavar of Udupi district, Karnataka. LRIS came into existence due to the vision of Late Dr C.T. Abraham and his wife. An educationist himself he did not believe in replicating the traditional school. Dr C.T. Abraham visualized ‘a school with a difference', endowed with material and human resources, which would match up to the best in the country. As a result, the last twenty-nine years have witnessed the evolution of Little Rock into a school, truly unique and different. The spectacular growth of the School is also a clear testimony to God's boundless mercies and the abiding trust of our students and their parents. LRIS is built on 30 acre (1,21,200 sq. mts) of land. Education is imparted from LKG to XII standard of CBSE curriculum. LRIS follows the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) syllabus and uses English as the medium of instruction. The national language and regional languages are given due importance. The present strength of the school is 3075 students and 140 teachers. The teacher student ratio is 1:22. Some of the important facilities of LRIS are 3 libraries with sitting capacity of 500 seats and 55,670 books; 3 computer centres with 160 computers; 5 audio visual halls; an air conditioned seminar hall; 4 laboratories of an area 2500 sq. ft each; vast play grounds; a modern computer centre exclusively for teachers; a science park, 30 school buses; diesel generators as stand by to supply power.
The most remarkable feature of LRIS is that students form the focus of all its activities. The school environment is decidedly student-friendly and conducive to learning. The teacher-attitude towards students is one of trust, helpfulness and reasonable firmness. An environment of guided freedom and mutual trust encourages and motivates students to behave and perform better. LRIS is located in the calm and salubrious campus, an ideal location for an educational institution. With its excellent educational infrastructure, well-defined ethos, and innovative approach to school education, LIRIS has become the preferential option for parents who yearn for a meaningful and comprehensive education for their children. The name and fame of LIRIS, which now has spread far and wide, is a clear affirmation of its credentials as a pacesetter in the realm of school education.
LIRIS has excelled in academic performance all through its history, with an equally impressive record in co-curricular achievements. The School maintains a high standard of education, without adopting methods like excessive homework, dictation of notes, rote-memorization, extra tuition, punishment system etc. Little Rock has the rare distinction of achieving recognitions at the national, state and regional levels. LRIS is a self-financing School, with no grants from the State or Central Governments.
A school is only as good as its teachers. This is a simple truism, with a profound meaning. It states clearly that a school can improve only as much as its staff improves. Buildings and facilities alone will not make an effective school. Competent and committed teachers led by highly effective principals only can make schools effective. Schools should therefore set apart a few days every year for Faculty Development Programmes. Schools should devote time, money and resources to improve the teaching skills of their teachers and the leadership skills of their principals. If teachers and principals do not continue to improve their skills, schools will stagnate and cease to be effective. LRIS conducts regular in service programmes for its staff for greater efiiciency.
Do we have a single school in Goa with the vision, quality and facilities of RIGI or LIRIS? Goans are excellent talkers but poor performers. Goa lacks competent leadership in all spheres including standard of education imparted by RIGI and LIRIS.