Empowering our educators – The Ekya Way
Ekya Schools believes in enabling students to be learners, thinkers, doers, and change-makers. And this is done by empowering our educators to make this happen effectively. The Professional Development team at Ekya Schools is highly invested in making the process of learning equally enjoyable and current for the educators. So they, in turn, can give their best and make learning a highly involved and interesting process for the students.
As part of this continuous development process, our team was taken to Singapore to enable our educators to see, experience and understand international best practices across the globe. A tightly packed itinerary ensured that our team got to visit the best of institutions to learn about different facets of education, and gave them new perspectives to think about.
As part of our series on chronicling our learning and adopting best practices here are two stories on the Singapore visit.
Part 1 – How Singapore schools and universities are striving to develop a real-world connection for their students – by Ms. Shubhra Sinha, Head of School, Ekya School, Byrathi.
As we are all aware, ‘change is constant’ and as new technologies develop, the traditional industries are continuously being disrupted. There is a pressing need for education systems across the globe to ensure that our youngsters are not just critical thinkers but also creative and adaptable.
For years, Singapore’s stellar education system has always placed a high priority on academic excellence. In their attempt to ensure that their people remain the island’s greatest resource, there has been a special focus on skill-building in the recent past. It was inspiring to see how they have been making conscious efforts both at the school and university level to ensure that their students will be ready to take the helm of the country’s economy.
A common theme I observed across the schools and universities that we visited was how they all are building awareness about the real world and its issues. In their own ways, all schools and universities are encouraging students to think of different ways they can solve problems. Real-world issues, which could be social in nature or economic or around the environment or technology, et al. On one hand, the leadership at Tanglin Trust School, for example, shared how they work towards building a sense of community amongst the students and being socially responsible and motivating students to contribute to Singapore and the world through their community action programs.
On the other hand, Singapore Management University(SMU), through its SMU-X program is ensuring that students do regular internships not just in Singapore, but the world over so that they get exposure to the actual issues in the corporate world. Rather than focusing on case studies which have been a part of their curriculum for years; through the SMU-X courses, the students get to work on complex business challenges that corporates are facing in the current times. I strongly feel that this experiential learning pedagogy is a fantastic approach and will be hugely successful in preparing them for a future in innovation!
Another concept I found very interesting was brought up by Prof. Laksh Samvedham of NUS Residential College 4. His boarding set-up is known for how students apply systems thinking to solve social problems. It was interesting to see how students work across disciplinary boundaries and look for interconnectedness across subjects and come up with creative solutions to these contemporary issues in society. In the professor’s words, this ‘living-cum-learning environment’ gives the students a lot of opportunities to understand the real-word better and provides not just ‘high-challenge’ but also ‘high support’ to enable students’ holistic development.
In a nutshell, as Steve Revington has said, ‘Education has one main purpose- to prepare students for the real world. To do that we need to get ‘real’ in education.’ The Singapore education system is well on its way to providing a ‘real’ education to its students and will do well for both individual and national well-being.
In conclusion, we learned about many practices that we would like to incorporate into our work with students in Bangalore. We also realized that we are on the right track as we have been, in our own way, making sure that students’ are exposed to various real-world experiences and have the opportunity to participate meaningfully in professional settings through their work-experience program. We look forward to strengthening these aspects of our professional practice with the new insights and information we received through our interactions in Singapore.
Look out for the second part in this series shortly.