Leadership Is One Of The Core Elements Of Holistic Education: Atul Temurnikar, Global Schools Foundation
In an exclusive chat with BW Education, Atul Temurnikar, Co-founder and Chairman, Global Schools Foundation (GSF), talks about the institution and more.
Tell us in detail about the association and launch on the GIIS – Shekhar Ravjiani School of Music?
Education is something which is always measured from the lens of how wide a child’s perspective can grow as a result. One of the key things that help in broadening this perspective is holistic education, which we have launched under the Nine Gems framework. This was created on the advice of one of our patrons - NR Narayana Murthy. Essentially, the Nine Gems framework looks at areas other than academics such a leadership, innovation & creativity, universal ethics & values etc. Under universal ethics and values, we have Mahatma Gandhi Center of Universal Values at each of our campuses where programs are designed to teach students about racial harmony, unity, diversity etc. We also have a skill development program, which is essentially the derivative of 21st-century skills, that are required to be developed for students in order to prepare them for the future. One of our major focus areas is also visual and performing arts which comprises Music, Dance and Drama. Example - We recently had Ustad Zakir Hussain visit our campus to interact with the students.
In order to take music learning a step further, we have joined hands with Shekhar Ravjiani to launch GIIS – Shekhar Ravjiani School of Music. This is a first of its kind collaboration between a global education institute and a renowned Indian musician. The focus is to further build competencies of students who are already being trained in various aspects of music or are really passionate about music.
We are observing that parents and students are open to looking at music as a career option. Although the number forms a small portion of the pie, it is gradually growing. We believe that we can create the best vertical for music under Shekhar’s mentorship and provide world-class music education to our students. The students who are passionate about music, have had some professional training since childhood and want to build their expertise further, will be shortlisted and personally mentored by Shekhar. He will be creating customized programs for each of the shortlisted students and training them via personalized mentoring session. The students don’t have to pay anything additional to be a part of this school, they need to just have a passion to take their music skills to the next level.
What are the key takeaways from the association with Shekhar Ravjiani?
Shekhar Ravjiani has been a frequent visitor to our campus as a part of our leadership lecture series and I found his passion to be very unique. He was really impressed by the sheer talent shown by our students in the field of music. For Shekhar, this was not about a commercial collaboration but about the legacy that he wants to leave behind. Hence, GIIS – Shekhar Ravjiani school of Music is a result of our collective vision towards providing holistic education and focusing on value-based learning beyond academics.
Shekhar has done three masterclasses for us in the past and essentially what he has done is, he has spoken with the music teachers and even students to understand the skill set and the focus areas. Basis this, Shekhar has shortlisted students and will give them personalized mentoring to hone their skills. The program is structured to suit the needs, availability and skill set of the students.
How has the institution been disrupted with COVID-19 and how is it dealing with the same?
The pandemic has not necessarily caused a disruption in our academic deliveries and outcomes. After the Japan Tsunami in 2011, we realized that education has to be delivered without boundaries where we need to use technology to be able to teach and learn from anywhere. So, we introduced our SMART Campus project and School of the Future project in 2015. We implemented this concept in 2018 in our schools in Singapore where all the classrooms were enabled to follow the concept of Blended Learning. When COVID was spreading in Asia and lockdown was imposed across countries, we were amongst the first to provide complete education continuity to our students in the safety of their homes. I feel that going forward Blended Learning will be the new offering where online and physical classrooms will run side by side. We are planning to use technology concepts of Blended Learning as a part of GIIS – Shekhar Ravjiani School of Music as well.
How important is holistic education in the present era?
Since the inception of Global Indian International School, our vision has been to provide holistic education to our students by adopting best industry frameworks and practices alongside technology. Like I mentioned, we have our signature 9 Gems™ educational framework which stresses the importance of providing a well-rounded education to students. This dynamic, holistic approach is interwoven throughout everything we do at GIIS.
To give you an example, during my conversation with the admission head at Stanford University, a key insight that came out was that ‘Leadership Quality’ is what defines the success of an individual. The core concept of leadership is the ability of an individual to not just be a people’s person but also be a problem solver. We feel leadership is one of the core elements of holistic education and we ensure that our students are given all the avenues that are required for them to be future leaders. To enhance leadership qualities, we even encourage our students to pursue unique career options such as Social Entrepreneurship and develop innovative ideas to solve social problems. Holistic education will definitely pick up as it is an important element to fulfill and sustain leadership qualities and skills for the future.
How the education is system is evolving in the current scenario and what do you think are the new trends that the education sector will foresee in the coming years?
I feel that, with the reach of technology, we are able to do things much faster and with the new innovations coming out every day, learning will become much more interactive. I feel that mobile is going to play a vital role and will become an integral part of education in 2-3 years. The advent of 5G will bring in a paradigm shift in education because what 5G will deliver to everyone is something that was previously only possible via broadband. Just to give you an example, a popular university in Singapore has completely taken one of its programs virtual and stopped their on-campus classes as this will allow them to enroll more students from across geographies. 5G is not just about scale but also a way to bring quality in delivering education.
In India also, the education sector will dramatically change and 5G will be one of the biggest disrupters by 2022. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic will bring about new changes in education in terms of products, smart learning, blended learning etc. I also feel that there should be something impactful for the rural areas. In fact, we would love to suggest to the Government a program under which they can provide 5G enabled mobile devices to all the school students as they will be able to tremendously learn through that. It is really important to have this paradigm shifts in rural areas since the opportunities are very limited.
What are your plans for the school in future? How will the school evolve?
We are very excited for the GIIS – Shekhar Ravjiani School of Music because it brings in the best ideas and will nurture talented students to become leaders of tomorrow. In our schools, we have students from over 70 nationalities and therefore the music school will not just be limited to Indian music but will provide global exposure in terms of music. Our idea is to help students learn so that they are able to excel and reach new heights.