Nagpur Today had a talk with Mrs. Sumathi Venugapalan, Principal, Centre Point School, Katool Road, about new systems in education, changing perceptions and the joy of teaching. Following are excerpts from the interaction:
Meghna: Has the RTE- mandated quota for underprivileged children been implemented in your school, and have there been adjustment problems thereafter?
Sumathi Venugopalan: We did try to implement it at CPS, Wardhaman Nagar. We went through the process of advertisement and there were people who applied. All those who applied, however, did not fit into the category. They had either applied at other places, or their age was inappropriate. Hence, none of them could be admitted. Moreover, we had already completed our admission process before the mandate came in. We will be trying again.
Meghna: Do you have any complaints about CBSE’s CCE (Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation) system?
Sumathi Venugopalan: It requires a lot of documentation, which is very extensive and requires many man hours. In the process, teachers are hard- pressed to find time to spend with the students. It would help if we could be given more time on it, or if it could be made less rigourous. But, any change calls for some settling time. We are going through that settling period at the moment. In the long run, I think it would really help.
Meghna: How important is it for a school teacher to think beyond academics when dealing with children on a daily basis?
Sumathi Venugopalan: It is very important. I see academics as a very small part of the entire process. What is the role of a teacher? It is to let the child grow. I think only passionate teachers should come into the profession and do their best to nurture that growth.
Meghna: Are passionate teachers coming into the profession?
Sumathi Venugopalan: There is a definite dearth of passionate teachers. He reasons could be many. The kind of life that people want these days is very different, and they feel that their growth is restricted in school teaching. But they don’t realise that the immediate happiness and personal satisfaction of having made a difference to a child comes to you faster when you deal with a school – going child. It takes many years to get that in a college. But, they prefer college teaching due to monetary reasons.
Meghna: Do you think that discipline among children has been reducing in recent years, and is it an issue?
Sumathi Venugopalan: It’s a part of the change that society and India is undergoing. When there is so much of change in so many things around you, why can’t we accept this change in children? The innocence and the good nature of children still exist- they are not bad. The problem lies in the fact that we make them liberal, we want them to do everything, but we are unable to explain to them their limits.
Our generation is the outdated one now. We still try to implement the systems that our teachers had on us. Change was not so fast at that time. There is change every day now. We need to understand that need and change our way of dealing with the children.
– Meghna Majumdar