It was truly a ‘celebration at a time of adversity’ as a large gathering of educationists kept their spirits high despite the heavy downpour on Wednesday evening.
Taking in their stride severe traffic snarls and waterlogging, as many as 600 principals from across the city and NCR attended the 12th Annual Principals’ Meet organised by the Hindustan Times’ Partnerships for Action in Education (HT-PACE) at the Taj Palace Hotel in the Capital.
The theme of the evening, ‘Celebrating Adversity’, was well presented by the Orissa-based dance group, Prince. Their colourful and bold performances exemplified how one can fight and overcome the odds during any adversity.
The group, which is the winner of a number of awards such as India’s Got Talent and the CNN-IBN Indian of the Year, comprised youngsters in their teens and 20s, who came together to share their journey from unskilled workers to reality TV winners.
“Most of us are daily wage-earners. Had it not been for our dance group, we would never have been able to perform in Delhi,” said Sandip, one of the senior members of the team.
Addressing the meet, Sehgal said the group had travelled to the Capital overcoming a series of adversities. “The Bharat bandh on Monday had prevented them from boarding a train in Bhubaneswar. However, with a little help from Air India, we were able to arrange their travel to Delhi on time,” she said.
The team presented three dance acts, including a flag dance, which was a tribute to the nation. Rinni Khanna, media person and TV anchor who was the moderator for the evening, described the performance as “thoroughly moving.” It was followed by ‘Incredible Krishna’ and ‘Das Avatar’, a tribute to Krishna and the 10 avatars of Vishnu, respectively.
Dimple Mohindra, principal of Uttam School for Girls, Shastri Nagar, said: “Such events should be held more often as they provide a wonderful platform for principals to interact with each other on a wider level.”
Like every year, a lucky draw was another main attraction of the evening. This time the range of gifts, sponsored by Navneet Publications and Pidilite Industries, varied from a refrigerator to a washing machine and microwave ovens.
And the lucky winners were Vandana Arora, Principal of DAV, Mausam Vihar; Srija Lamba of Panchsheel Public School, Jhilmil Colony; Sneh Nangiyar, Principal of Holy Innocent School, Vikas Puri; Ram Krishan of SKV School, Kiran Vihar and Renu Bhatia, Principal of SKV, Mohan Garden.
The evening also witnessed some principals engaged in serious thoughts as they articulated their experiences and concerns about the implementation of the Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE).
Mohindra said: “Initially, we faced some opposition from parents over the new system. But they soon saw that the assignments given as part of the CCE actually made the kids enthusiastic about studies. This changed the parents' attitude towards the system.”
DR Saini, principal of DPS, RK Puram, said: “So far, we have had no negative feedback over the CCE from anyone. This leads us to believe that it is a step in the right direction.” However, Saini feels that the Class XII Board exams should be retained.
“How else are you going to evaluate a student for college admission?” he said.
Asked about the same, Rekha Sharma, principal of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, said, “Though the CBSE announced the system in the middle of the year, we were able to meet the challenge of implementing it successfully.”
However, some principals like Nita Arora, principal of Venkateshwara International School, Sec-18, Dwarka, had a different take. “We already had a system of internal evaluation before the CBSE introduced the new system. So implementing the new scheme didn’t really require us to make too many changes.”
The event also included presentations by NIIT and Pidilite. While Mirza Adil, manager-marketing, NIIT, showed how to bring the basic standards of IT learning to rural schools, Pidilite Industries, which conducts art and craft workshops in schools for both students and teachers, stressed that art and craft can be more than a hobby and play a vital role in everyone’s life. The event culminated in a sumptuous dinner that included a wide array of mouth-watering dishes and beverages.