Max McKeown, an English writer, consultant, and researcher, once beautifully quoted, “Adaptability is about the powerful difference between adapting to cope and adapting to win.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, not many schools and educational institutions in India have ensured to master this art of adaptability. Standing tall amidst this crowd is Delhi Public School (DPS) Indirapuram, a premier school under the aegis of the Delhi Public School Society, which has adapted not just to cope but win over the drastic impact of COVID-19. Taken by surprise initially, DPS Indirapuram later soared ahead with success amidst the pandemic due to its two decades of legacy in the education industry, highly experienced faculty members, and a strong IT team that rendered seamless support.
“On hearing about the news of Janta curfew, we decided to go online as we could foresee it would not end very soon. From 27th March, five days after Janta curfew, we started online classes for the 10th and 12th. From 1st April, online classes from standard 3rd to 12th were on in a full-fledged manner,” shares Sangeeta Hajela, Principal, DPS Indirapuram. Post a short summer break in June 2020, students from classes Nursery to 2nd were resumed with online classes with a maximum strength of 20 per class. No wonder the school resonates with its tagline – “Soaring High… We reach for the sky!”
Currently, DPS Indirapuram has adopted a hybrid-model were both teachers and students are equally comfortable with the technology. To make its students stand out from the rest, DPS adheres to a specific benchmark, and an academic curriculum (affiliated to CBSE) focussed on enhancing their skillsets and knowledge. The school plans on allocating extra hours in the form of doubt sessions every Sunday for students to engage more proactively on the academic front. “We even conducted one-on-one Parent Teachers Meetings as it became the need of the hour. We have a total strength of 6400 students, and a team of teachers managed and conducted these sessions with parents for 20-22 days,” claims Sangeeta.
For the next session, the school has chalked-out PTMs that ought to be held alternatively online and offline across different time slots, lectures on Financial Management for students organized by willing parents who are Chartered Accountants, and motivational sessions for parents as well. This way, a combined effort is invested both from parents and teachers’ end to nurture students for a bright future.
Beyond Just Education!
DPS Indirapuram always focused beyond educational attainment for students! Even during the pandemic, the school assured to conduct co-curricular activities and physical education classes on Zoom successfully for its students to stay both mentally and physically active. Thanks to its ace team of 350 staff members who are well-trained for their roles in a larger aspect. The school also aims to overcome the challenge of fee collection from parents hoping that they would comprehend the struggles it was going through and the appropriate efforts taken by each staff member to overcome them. “With the gradual opening of school, we have also ensured COVID tests of our entire staff team at an interval of 10 days,” adds Sangeeta.
On the other side, for students aspiring to pursue engineering, medical or any other course from foreign universities, DPS Indirapuram has a dedicated system that includes a 100% acceptance rate of students into colleges. From class 9th, its team of counsellors helps students differentiate between multiple higher education courses and opt for the best one based on their skillsets and interest. Besides, an exceptional group of experts guides the students for overseas education, competitive exams, and other aspects.
Infusing Creative Instincts
A fleet of clubs such as Photography, Music, Art, Digital Media, Sports, IT, TedX, and others at DPS Indirapuram allow students to engage in various extracurricular activities apart from academics. Besides, walls painted with graffiti art by creative students, functions like debates, sports matches, concerts, and others handled by young and enthusiastic photographers, digital media team coordinating with photography club during events and posting them on school’s social media, and editorial team handling content production, portray the creative instincts of students at DPS. Sangeeta opines, “There are endless possibilities for students in our school. Our teachers are always present to monitor their work and give it a better shape.”
They say hard work always pays off! Many students from DPS Indirapuram are currently studying in reputed foreign universities such as CMU (USA), TUFTS (USA), MIT, and others with 100% scholarships. An All India Rank (204) Holder in IIT-JEE Advanced, All India 3rd Rank Holder in CBSE Class 10th and Class 12th Board Exams, National Level Gold Medallist in Badminton, International Winner in Swimming, and many more students have brought enormous fame to the school.
Not just its students, DPS Indirapuram has also grabbed various awards and accomplishments. Recently, the school was awarded as the Top CBSE School in India for Individual Attention by an esteemed institution – Education Today. Besides, the school was awarded the Top School & Pre-School in International, Boarding, CBSE, ICSE, State, Boys & Girls categories out of over 2375 Survey Forms received by the Education Today team. The participating schools have been categorized under 10 Parameters such as Academic Reputation, Individual Attention, Infrastructure Provision, Innovative Teaching, Safety & Hygiene, Sports Education, Value for Money, Holistic Development, Leadership Management Quality, and Co-curricular Activities.
The Overall Picture
DPS Indirapuram holds a class size of 40 students per class and a student-teacher ratio of 1:18. “Every department has specific categories of students wherein challengers, leaders and initiators are the major categories. A distinctive teacher focuses on these categories of students separately,” pinpoints Sangeeta. The school offers additional attention and doubt sessions for students who take time to grasp to achieve good grades. This way, every school activity occurs under a plan while diverse department coordinators strive to strategize the project based on students’ class performance and skillset.
Behind DPS Indirapuram’s success lies its adept and experienced teachers whose qualifications ought to adhere to the government proposed norms. They are hired based on a structured screening process which includes written tests, class demo, and interview with the management. “Only teachers with high calibre and potential to make a positive difference in the students’ learning are chosen. We give training workshops to our teachers in the summer break and also throughout the year, based on their subjects,” explains Sangeeta.
The road ahead will be a year of implementation and execution for DPS Indirapuram as 2020 plans were slowed down or put on hold due to remote learning. But in 2021, the school aims to work on Saturdays wherein every weekend will be doubt session and conduct interactions, workshops and training sessions for teachers and students. “We have divided the coming two years in 2-3 phases. Phase 1 for our students will focus on preparing them in such a manner on the academic front that there remains no need for additional tuitions or coaching classes. We are aggressively working on teacher’s training and development as well,” shares Sangeeta. With an annual calendar in place to streamline the entire process, DPS Indirapuram is also envisioning to implement an initiative for parents. The school will ask parents to meet the school’s counsellor and engage in interactions for their child’s holistic growth and development.
Sangeeta Hajela, Principal
Sangeeta Hajela, Principal DPS Indirapuram, is a dynamic academician with 34 years of experience as a senior English teacher, Headmistress, Vice Principal and Principal. After completing her BA (Honours) in English Literature from Lady Shri Ram College, New Delhi, she post-graduated in English from Delhi University. She obtained a Degree in Education from the Central Institute of Education, Delhi University. She has an ear for music and a penchant for composing poems on specific situations and people in Hindi and English. Sangeeta’s ability to connect with people of all age groups and her willingness to reach out with empathy to one and all indeed make her a leader with qualities of the head and heart. Practical, down-to-earth and solution-centric, she is an approachable friend and a guide to all. An empowered woman of substance, Sangeeta inspires the school’s 6400 students and around 300 teachers to reach new peaks of success.