A global environment demands the expansion of one’s boundaries to reach out and assimilate the best the world offers. Besides facilitating an exchange of ideas and information, it provides a window to a new culture and promotes International understanding and human bonding.
India forged stronger ties with Australia when principals from leading C.B.S.E schools were invited by the Australian High commission to participate in the first ever Principals’ exchange program to Australia. The contingent included eight academicians from schools across India, namely Ms. Jyoti Gupta from K.R Mangalam World School, Gk-II, Ms Suman Kumar of Blue Bells School, East of Kailash, Dr. D.R Saini from Delhi Public School, R.K Puram, Mr. D.M Sharma of G.D. Goenka, Ms. Suruchi Gandhi from Bal Bharti Dwarka , Mrs. Daniel from St. Paul’s School, Mrs Minoo Aggarwal from DAV Public School Chennai, and Mrs Farida Abraham from La Martiniere Girls College Lucknow.
It was an ebullient team of principals that arrived at Melbourne Airport on 8th June. Their introduction to Australia was initiated with the principals savoring the sights and sounds of Melbourne city. The visit which had professional development and familiarization with the Australian education system as its objective, commenced with sessions on Australian Education system, Leadership, International Exchange etc at the renowned Melbourne University.
Next on the itinerary was a visit to Gene Technology Center in Melbourne, a select entry school, which provides guidance and assistance to research scholars.
Visiting the Coburg High School, a technology-based school catering exclusively to Vocational education was an eye opener for the principals. Initiation into Vocational Education at the class 11 level was a concept that held immense appeal for them- It was strongly felt that such endeavors should be vigorously promoted in India.
The highlight of the trip was the familiarization with the Literacy and Numeracy tests-
conducted in classes III, V,VII and IX - at the Australian Center for Educational Research. The tests that are conducted in schools all over Australia have helped establish a uniform standard of evaluation in Australia.
Interacting with Principals from Australia and witnessing classroom-teaching sessions, while on the tour, greatly augmented and enriched the principal’s awareness of the Australian Education system. It was an invigorated and enlightened team of Principals that alighted at the Indira Gandhi International Airport; imbued with the Australian way of life and raring to go!
Concepts that could be implemented in India:
1. Establishment of Teacher Training institutes to facilitate the professional development of teachers.
2. Scholarships/incentives for teachers for in-service training.
3. Introduction of Vocational Education at the class XI level and providing an upward linkage at the College/University level. This initiative would go a long way in de-stressing students besides increasing the career options available to them.
4. Introduction of a uniform testing system at the National level like the Numeracy and Literacy tests.
5. Developing thinking skills, thereby discouraging rote learning.
6. Availability of government grants to all schools irrespective of their status.
7. Sponsorship of the education of Special children by the government.
It is fervently hoped that the H.R.D ministry, which has ushered in several path-breaking concepts in the recent times, would play an active role in initiating positive change.