Dr Madhav Deo Saraswat, Principal, Scindia School

The Principal, Dr Saraswat is a postgraduate in English and Hindi and has a doctorate in Hindi. He started his teaching career in a college. Thereafter, he joined The Doon School and served there for sixteen years, with six years as a Housemaster. Like a true public school master, he garnered a host of experiences through engagement in a variety of activities ranging from academic, cultural, adventure, and sports to social service. He was also actively involved with Round Square and other community service related activities.

 

The end of the pandemic seems a long way. Unlike other sectors, the way forward for the education is unsure. In many cities, schools opened only to be shut again. Apart from just government regulations it is a nerve-wracking experience for parents concerned about their children’s safety both at school and at home. Parents have taught safe behaviors to their children since they were toddlers. Sending them away from home to a residential school always posed issues of separation and homesickness that parents were by and large able to deal with successfully. But sending them off to boarding school in the middle of a global pandemic that is another ball game.  However, these uncertain times of Covid-19 have resulted in one more significant advantage – boarding schools offer stability for pupils and parents alike. Here is a look at the major pros of boarding school, according to our academic advisors:

Post lockdown, as schools have thrown open their doors for students, the stakeholders have witnessed school’s precautions and protocols to ensure that their loved ones are safe. For example, in our school, every student must carry a COVID negative test report on arrival. They are then isolated for few days and the test is conducted again. Only those found negative can move into their allotted dormitories. All the luggage is thoroughly sanitized. Apart from this, monitoring personal cleanliness, ensuring intake of healthy diet, and monitoring the quality & hygiene of all food is top priority. The dormitories have been redesigned to maintain six feet distance between beds, and adequate number of soap dispensers have been installed across the entire campus. All washrooms and touch points such as desks, doorknobs, taps, floors, and switches are disinfected at least 3-5 times a day.

At residential schools, a bio-bubble can be created on campuses, restricting, filtering, and monitoring inflow of people and goods based on strict protocols; thereby reducing risk of contracting the virus substantially. In day schools, students and staff move in and out of campus every day and therefore have multiple touch points which increases the risk of exposure.

Most day schools have also put a stringent set of protocols. These can be implemented only in the school campus and not outside. Students and staff from diverse background come in and out of the school every day. In a day school It is impossible for the authorities to monitor what they do once they are outside the gate. This leaves a large chance of contracting the virus.

Boarding schools provide students with unique and high-quality education. In addition to a conventional education, students get a chance to develop skills that would usually not be offered in day schools like swimming, horse riding etc.  Boarding school students develop a strong feeling of community. Mealtimes allow socialization with friends. Dorm friends are available to talk, assist with conflict resolution and answer homework questions, among other things. Afternoon programing supports interests in sports, arts, music and awakens interests not available at home. Boarders tend to build strong connections to their roommates, their teachers, and a strong connection with the institution. This delightfully nurturing and supportive environment for young people is often the main reason parents choose this path for their children.

At a boarding school, children learn to take care of themselves from a really young age, which turns them into an independent individual for life. In a day school, children have a more sheltered upbringing since they know that they can rely on their parents for even the smallest of chores.

The main reason that makes boarding schools a better option than day schools is the fact that boarding schools naturally instill a sense of punctuality and discipline in the students. At a boarding school, children are made to follow and maintain a schedule according to which they wake up, study, eat, and sleep. There are rules both within the school and in the dormitories that each student has to follow diligently. It all comes together to groom them into more responsible and dependable individuals in the future.

The two main sources of social interaction, firstly, child’s immediate neighbourhood and secondly, the child’s school, both have been snatched away from their lives due to the pandemic. Children are not only missing classes but are also missing simple everyday interactions like that of walking to class together, eating lunch together, playing and creating together. All of this can be done in a boarding school.

It is an era of uncertainty, and all of us are recalibrating the way we lead our lives constantly. Like many things, education cannot be put on hold as it has a cascading effect. Given the dynamic situation, we need to do what is best for our wards. The future of mankind depends on our children and it is our responsibility to protect and empower them.

More About Dr Madhav Deo Saraswat

Dr Saraswat moved on from The Doon School and started two schools as the Founder Principal. The Sapkal Knowledge Hub, Nasik, subsequently promoted him to the post of CEO of their wider educational venture which included four colleges apart from the Orchid School. Dr Saraswat brought to The Scindia School, a rich experience of various aspects of educational management, an understanding of the spirit of a public school and an innate Indianness. As a Principal, his philosophy is to build a strong school community where the students, teachers, administration, parents and support staff all work together as a team. Dr Saraswat aims to create a healthy educational ecosystem whereby the faculty is able to unleash the creative potential of each student by making them feel safe, respected and valued.

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