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HindustanTimes Fri,31 Oct 2014

Motto of schools in east Delhi: it’s society before self

Paramita Ghosh, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 13, 2013
First Published: 17:07 IST(13/12/2013) | Last Updated: 17:48 IST(14/12/2013)

Two things stunt an educational institution even if it wants to go a long way. It cannot be short-sighted or have short legs, and Ahlcon International has understood this well.

The top school in east Delhi this year as well, Ashok Pandey, its principal, is not complacent about its sustained excellence for he knows it still has some way to go.

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“We are just a 11-year-old school. Five years ago we ranked 38th  in the overall survey of schools across Delhi. We have progressed every year, this is the middle of our career path but our vision about where we’ve to go is intact,” said Pandey.

The school indeed has done many things right. It won the National School Sanitation Award in 2012; it pitched in to clean a substantial part of Sanjay Lake, an important water body for east Delhi, and started a curriculum on the lines of the CBSE’s Continuous and Comprehensive Education (CCE) started in 2010, 11 years ago.

But what are the educational stresses in other schools? Other than the Top 3 (Ahlcon International, Salwan Public School, Ahlcon Public School), there has been a slight dip in standards in most of the rest.

Shaheed Rajpal DAV Public school, Dayanand Vihar, fourth last year, slips a rank though its other branch, DAV Sreshtha Vihar, has climbed upto fourth place; Somerville School, Mayur Vihar, has slid to eighth position from seventh and Ryan international, Mayur Vihar, is still at sixth place.

VIDEO: Ahlcon International Principal Ashok Pandey speaks



The beginning

Most pre-schools  these days opt for playful and activity-oriented methods. For example, ASN follows the Montessori method; Salwan Public School, Mayur Vihar, follows the Reggio Emilia technique of Italy, “as it is closer to Vedanta,” said its principal Kiran Mehta. How did the school decide on it? Reggio coordinator Rachna Chopra said they found the Reggio philosophy ideal for the overall development of a child.

“Reggio believes the truth is inherent in the child,” she said. “If we were taking a child to the zoo and s/he comes back and paints an elephant red, we don’t correct him or impose any colour on him, he is encouraged to discover it is black on his/her own. Through the process of trial and error, a child knows.”

The area most schools, however, exercise control over these days are its cyber classes and on-school vigilance through CCTV.

Some schools like ASN have CCTVs inside the classroom. Older students naturally protest this intrusion, while others play safe and suggest “it is good we don’t cross our limits.”    
 
Environment and social service programmes get a big push in east schools. 

“Values are not taught, they are caught,” said Mehta, the Salwan principal. Schools, she said, have stepped in to fill the gap between working parents and children to teach them the right values.

Students, too, seem accustomed to participating in a plethora of social welfare activities. Naina,  vice-headgirl, ASN, has for instance, started a registered NGO called Khwaish for underprivileged kids. Her goal is, in her words, “to fulfil their dreams. If a child wants to become an IAS officer, I guarantee s/he spends an entire day with an officer atleast.”

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