Rohan Parikh, Managing Director, The Green Acres Academy – Schools by The Acres Foundation

Rohan Parikh has a BSc in Economics from Wharton Business School, an MBA from INSEAD, and a Master’s in Education from Johns Hopkins Univerity. Currently serving as the Director of the Apurva Natvar Parikh Group (ANPG) which has interests in Real Estate, Education & Hospitality. He has more than 18 years of experience in Real Estate in Mumbai and Sri Lanka, having developed Mumbai’s first major SRA development as well as residential complexes in Sri Lanka’s capital, Sri Lanka, as well developing The Fern Hotel and The Acres Club in Mumbai’s Chembur neighbourhood. Mr. Parikh chose to foray in education by founding The Acres Foundation, which is an educational group that brings together the finest educators to chart out new pathways in education.

 

Being a second home for every child, a school is where a student spends most of their waking hours. It’s the experience of a school that can leave an impressionable mark on a child’s overall growth and development. One of the key factors that puts a school at the centre of it all is its infrastructure.

From vast playgrounds, state-of-the-art laboratories, expansive libraries to well-equipped classrooms—it may not be possible for every school to possess the best infrastructure, but every school can certainly aim for it.

Here’s looking at some components that impact the development of students.

Poor infrastructure leads to stunted learning growth

Only when a child feels comfortable and conducive in an environment, can they fully open themselves up for newer possibilities and growth. In an ill-developed school facility, a student’s growth is undermined, as learning is bound to suffer. If a classroom is too noisy, it can have a negative impact on students’ education and development. An obsolete classroom that’s dark, cramped, crowded, or the heat can affect the physical wellbeing of the students, causing blurry vision, acute back pain, fatigue, etc. Any imbalance between the students’ academics and physical education can affect their early years.

Building blocks of effective learning

Parents look for an educational institution that not only offers quality education but also includes some of the best-in-class facilities. Students want to attend school regularly and study in an atmosphere that’s ideal to gain knowledge. Here are the factors that comprise a good school infrastructure.

Comfortable spaces for students

If we offer enough space for students to move freely, they naturally and skillfully thrive in such an environment. Hence, the school building needs to have the right temperature, lighting, ventilation, water, and other sanitation facilities.

Enough room for recreational activities

A wise man once said, “If we want our children to move mountains, we first have to let them get out of their chairs.” To kindle that enthusiasm in students and make them more active, schools need to have a clean and spacious playground, where children become livelier through sports and other activities.

Spaces where ideas and information thrive

Scientific literacy and books have always been a core part of education. Hence, a world-class laboratory with the best equipment is a must to learn through experiments. Similarly, a library housing a collection of books, articles, journals, etc. is a wonderful addition.

Facility to address immediate health needs

Children are at an age and stage wherein they learn the most valuable lessons by falling and rising. Getting hurt is normal but schools should be well-equipped to tend to the medical needs of the students. Having an infirmary that offers the right medical attention to a student’s needs can enhance their general health and wellness.

Adhering to safety and health protocols in a post-pandemic world

As countries prepare, cope, and plan for recovery against COVID-19, schools have remained closed to enforce social distancing amongst communities, especially children. But as online learning takes centre stage, for now, schools can take this opportunity to rethink their school infrastructure and strengthen it during this global health crisis. As schools are considered to not just provide learning but also social support and childcare, students need to feel safe whenever they return to school. Here are some safety precautions that can be followed:

  • Keeping designated entry and exit points for different student cohorts
  • Providing floor markings that direct foot traffic to maintain social distancing norms
  • Offering hand sanitisation sections at the school entrance and other common areas
  • Increasing desk spacing, maintaining at least 1 meter distance between desks
  • Shifting certain lessons outdoor or making the rooms more ventilated
  • Using marking, signs, tapes to maintain 1 meter distance in queues
  • Following an order, where each class enters or disperses in an orderly fashion once the class is over

Creating a positive school environment with the best-in-class infrastructure makes students look forward to coming to school every day. Upgrading the school facilities and making them more favourable and accessible to students can impact their learning tremendously. While it may incur some financial costs initially, the benefits of these investments exceed the initial costs—because when the school atmosphere encourages learning, learning is inevitable.

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