Shubhra Varma – Vice Principal, Narayana e-Techno School, Mumbai
Ms. Shubhra Varma, an alumnus of Regional Institute of Education, Bhubaneshwar is a college topper and distinction holder during her graduation( B. A and B.Ed.). She is a Management post graduate specialised in Marketing from Clayton University, USA. Beginning in 1997, Ms. Varma has had diverse experience in the field of education, research and corporate world for over 21 years at Delhi and Mumbai. She was associated with famous educational institutes like Bluebells International, Podar International, Vibgyor Group, Narayana E-Techno School etc.
In this conversation, she spoke about the decision to reduction of the syllabus for this academic year. She said that studies have proven beyond doubt that every new generation is smarter and more intelligent than the previous one. We need to replace a few chapters with richer and more relevant content, not reduce it. She believes that this is an inadvertent act of the government and education ministry, in particular, to appease the stakeholders ( e.g., parents) as if education is nothing more than business.
She also spoke about the academic performance of students taking online classes. There has been a dramatic decline in academic learning and performance as well achievement of students during the lockdown. Students who got excellent grades in online exams, suddenly when called to the school for offline exams, show inferior performances. That proves that they may not have learned their textbooks, but they have learned how to use technology to their advantage, outsmart parents and teachers, and show good online results. But isn’t that a mockery of our current education system itself?
There are no real tools to genuinely assess a child’s learning, capabilities, skills etc.
She hopes that the New Education Policy addresses parents’ concerns about skill development and co-curricular activities in school life. Nevertheless, NEP is just a policy, not a directive. Though it aims to achieve a lot, we need to wait and watch how it unfolds for all of us. We don’t know what the future has in store for us all. So the simplest thing to do for now is to upgrade and upskill ourselves as educators and facilitators.
She said that let us be friends, philosophers, and guides for NexGen and teach them how to use technology constructively instead of wasting time and talent on inconsequential social media uploads and downloads. Let’s teach them how to be masters of technology instead of being a slave of technology.