The teacher of Prince Charles, Shomie Das, who headed the physics department in Gordonstoun School in Scotland, is the brain behind the newly launched Oakridge International School in Greater Mohali.
The 76-year-old educationist, who taught the prince during his tenure at Gordonstoun in 1963, terms Charles as a “good student” and does not want to speak only about an “individual”.
On Friday, formally announcing the launch of the school, Das, a Dehradun-resident, constantly aims at ‘holistic’ development of a child.
“I want children to be enquirers who want to know more and more. These days children are not inquisitive because everything is available to them easily,” says Das, who has served as principal at Mayo College in Ajmer, headmaster at Lawrence School in Sanawar and also at Doon School in Dehradun.
“I have a long association of 14 years with this city as I was the headmaster at Lawrence School for that period and kept visiting the city. I have also made a house in Panchkula. Though the connection with the city is strong, I must say, in terms of education, it is not up to the mark,” says Das, chairman of Oakridge.
When asked whether sought-after schools such as Lawrence School or, for that matter, Doon had better teaching methodologies and infrastructure for the development of child, he is quick to reply, “Everything is in the name. These schools are not very up to date, but have been around for half a century,” feels the educationist who says that the curriculum of Oakridge has been designed to prepare children during their formative years to be curious, creative and communicative along with a knack for making choices.
Promoted by Hyderabad-based People Combine Initiatives Limited, Oakridge International has two schools in Hyderabad, one each in Bangalore and Vishakhapatnam, with the latest being in Mohali.
“The education system in our country is following the age-old pattern of preparing mediocre clerks for the British Raj, whereas in the rapidly changing times, India requires next generation of thinkers and leaders who can contribute to their community, country and the world,” says Das who cites an instance of how he learnt the table of 16 by heart.
“During our time 16 annas made a rupee. There were no calculators. Today, every person wants to use a calculator instead of learning tables. I will try to avoid such a modern approach and apply the old-school values to learning,” he says.