International schools are becoming more and more popular in Mumbai and what makes them important in today’s scenario is the pursuit of global knowledge. The biggest strengths of international schools are the continuous exposure to the international teaching environs to develop a mind-set to adapt quickly to international developments and become globally prepared. However, in this unending quest, especially during the pandemic scenario when the whole nation was battling Covid-19 by being at home under lockdown, Nahar International School management ensured the education to continue unhindered by immediately adapting to online mode.
Admittance to Global Institutions Nahar International School (NIS) ensured that the expert educators and staff at international schools underwent real-time training for online teaching model in order to introduce innovative and unique online curricula and programs keeping in mind the pandemic situation. NIS efforts were met with stellar achievements with school’s IBDP batch of 2018-2020 scoring a 100% pass out, a rare achievement for schools in their first five years of IB assessments with an average grade of 5.40, against a world average of 4:98 for English HL students, 6.0 against 5.09 for Global Politics HL students, 6.0 against 4.25 for Biology SL students, and 5.14 against 4.76 for Mathematics HL students. NIS students’ performance ensured successful placement in world-renowned and prestigious institutions like the Kings College, London; University College London; University of Exeter, England; and The University of British Columbia, Canada, Virginia Tech, University of Massachusetts Amherstand, among others.
Mr. Sukhraj B Nahar, Founder and Managing Director of Nahar Group, established the school in 2014 to empower the new generation to shape them into Achievers of Tomorrow. NIS is affiliated to the Cambridge Board and follows the (CAIE) curriculum up to IGCSE level. The school also offers IBDP at the Grade 11 and 12, and A-Level from this year onwards. NIS is situated inside a sprawling 125-acre township ‘Nahar Amrit Shakti’ at Chandivali in Andheri East, he aimed at offering world-class education facilities to the children from the township and the neighbouring areas. Mr. Nahar is a strong believer in creation of NextGen manifesting the right principals, right values and ethics to pursue their ambition worldwide. His vision is simple right education is like a seed to develop a generation to carry right values and principles for a lifetime. Education at NIS reflects the belief that ‘Every Child Is A Star’, where aspirations are nurtured by enhancing skills through value-based versatile education.
The Group’s ideology for NIS has always been on the paradigm shift of ‘learning by doing’, however with the present pandemic scenario in a virtual environment, the schoolings at NIS School are currently being delivered interactively via a variety of online programmes, some of which are already a part of new and innovative approach to learning. “Each NIS student has a unique communication plan in place for family communities, staff and students,” adds Mr. Nahar. “Even in the virtual study environment each student is given ample attention to cater to their diverse learning needs,’’ says Ms. Manju Yagnik, Vice Chairperson, Nahar Group.
Parents have been provided with a clear understanding of expectations and direct lines of communication with teachers. Regular contact between students, teachers and classmates ensures high engagement and focus throughout the new style of school day. NIS is working towards making the online learning experience as engaging and enriching as possible with a rapid switch to online learning at the end of academic year 2019-2020. Online teaching classes are on with the teaching fraternity conducting continuous collaborative meetings online to ensure homogenous lesson planning on student-friendly e-learning platforms. NIS have identified new ways of engaging students, designing interesting online learning activities for the coming academic year Ms. Manju Yagnik adds, “ In the present scenario each student is given ample attention to cater to their diverse learning needs. The challenge is to provide the student a learning experience through various online platforms based on the project-based model of learning.’’
Dealing with the pandemic, the school has turned heads by curtailing the length of screen time for students. EYFS students will require a total of 1.5 hours a day, Primary students will need 3 hours, Middle School students will need 4 hours, and High school will need 6 hours of screen time. This will gradually be eased off once students begin to come to the school campus, twice a week. With the priority ensuring that students could finish out their academic year, teachers redesigned their syllabus for an online format and up-skilled themselves with regard to e-learning platforms, says Vandana Arora, Head of the School, Nahar International School.
She added that the educators conducted continuous collaborative meetings online to ensure homogenous lesson planning, and have identified new ways of engaging students, designing interesting online learning activities for the coming academic year. School Highlights (Normal School) NIS also boasts of German Waldner laboratories, an acoustically enhanced and performance-ready auditorium, and large turf-based sports ground. From offering global sports facilities like football and basketball coaching to horse riding, karate, archery and music and performing arts classes, NIS ensures the overall development of its students. Mapping the expectations of today’s educated and evolved parents and surpassing them on every parameter was the challenge because the goal was not to establish just another school. This not only meant diligence at every vital node and detailing at every step but also envisioning life a decade from today.
Flexible Teaching-Learning Methodologies
With a student-teacher ratio of 8:1, NIS underlines the importance of individual attention. Moreover, the teachers are encouraged to take the class out of its traditional four walls and use natural spaces, experiential areas, go on field trips, hence making learning more relatable. Subject teachers also collaborate across subjects and classes. Similarly, the school stresses on the use of audio-visual aids in the classroom to help children grasp complex concepts relatively easily— encouraging and training teachers to enmesh their instruction with digital education aids such as Google Classroom, Padlet and others; even for art, languages and other subjects. “The curriculum is carefully weaved such that it includes Life Skills, a pivotal requirement today to gear up for the eventualities of the future. Housing a career counsellor, who provides full-time support, and a regular university fair, where top universities’ representatives come down to extend support, it is no wonder that NIS can achieve a 100% success in its college acceptance rate.
NIS completely understands that collaboration is key to schools that teach international curriculums in India. “It is essential to connect and discuss solutions for similar concerns, to understand what model practices work for schools with similar demographics as ours, to create networks across schools that our students can benefit from in terms of gaining a wider scope of the conversation, interaction and competition, and also to utilise the networks for teacher training possibilities, such as mutual use of (available) space and (experienced) staff. NIS do this in various ways—by being part of school associations such as MISA and SAIBSA, by making smaller associations for conducting subject-related workshops, and by hosting and participating in competitions, conferences, events and workshops for such aspects of learning that require a wider cohort and audience such as sport, art, music, theatre, MUN, etc.
Collaboration is Key
As mentioned once before, NIS teach two international curriculums, the Cambridge programme across grades 1 to 10, and the IB curriculum, at the DP level. Therefore, NIS aims at collaborating at an international level to understand the policies and attitudes that support learning worldwide, and how they can be applied to one’s students and learning environment. Keeping in touch with educators worldwide over multiple platforms keeps teachers abreast of curriculum updates and assessment changes; it allows them to reach out to a wider community of educators for help. Collaboration across the world also provides meaning to an educator’s experience by making it larger than being a lonely individualistic process to one that has meaning and implications worldwide, and whose goals and objectives are hugely significant to the larger scheme of things.
Thanks to the school’s vision and commitment, the students have been able to script personal records by getting admitted into New York – Princeton MUN (2016-2017) and into various summer camps conducted by Brown University, University of South London and the Singapore Science Camp. Bagging several accolades and awards within a short span of time, Nahar International School is ferociously committed to the development of young minds into knowledgeable, confident, successful and responsible global citizens. Creating an environment that promotes creativity, curiosity and individual excellence through self-discovery and thereby excellence, NIS is staying true to its mission— ‘Knowledge. Growth. Action’.
“We can’t be in a continual race to make children master existing technology; there is no technological advancement that we can prepare them for because it is continually evolving. What is required is a balance. We must acknowledge that we are now in a highly automated world, where machines communicate, where much action and interaction take place online, where reality itself is in danger of being augmented. We must balance this with human skills of design, negotiation and leadership; abilities such as imagination, risk-taking, resilience, values such as collaboration, empathy and similar others that make us human. It is these very skills and abilities that we nurture at school that ensures our children can navigate the uncertainties of their futures. Knowing ‘how to’ is going to serve them more than knowing ‘what to’, since it makes them adaptable creatures, and, as Darwin says, ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change,” concludes Vandana Arora.