Changes in education are expected yearly because of its dynamic nature that is dependent on many components from upgrades in technology, mandates of the department of education, available resources, educators’ motivation, parental influence, and the students themselves. These changes can influence perspective towards the acquisition of knowledge, as well as learning outcomes. Having acquired the technical understanding and identified the availability of several online educational resources, it is almost certain that one can’t brush aside the benefits of online educational tools towards constructive learning.
With even the most remote village gaining access to an online classroom during the pandemic that replaced the physical presence of a teacher, technological advancement and internet usage have gained a phenomenal reach globally. On the other hand, none can deny the emotional support, motivation, and facilitation that the physical presence of a teacher can provide. “Even under normal circumstances, we were continuously focusing towards preparing our students to face the world ahead. With no exception to the current scenario, we will further continue to give our best to equip the students to face the challenges of tomorrow’s world,” says Anand Chinnasamy, Correspondent, Yuvabharathi Public School (YBPS).
As a preparatory step, the management at YBPS has already taken its initiative by showing its readiness in accommodating competency-based learning as a measure to ascertain student’s overall development. Cybersafety has been imparted during these days to promote cognition of the pros and cons of various platforms and ensure emotional safety. Student clubs across various disciplines (though essentially a feature already existing) would be enhanced to meet the market requirements. Skill-based activities integrated with academics would be another aspect of ensuring future readiness for every student.
Ranked No.1 in Coimbatore, YBPS has won awards for outstanding academic excellence, co-curricular activities, STEM education, and Happiness Quotient Index as well. The sprawling 11.236-acre school campus houses the state-of-the-art infrastructure – physical, administrative, and technological –that has augmented the performance of the school and the stakeholders in various dimensions. “We provide a platform to identify, nurture and showcase the talents and innate potential of students by actively participating in Model United Nations, Olympiads, Drama and communication skills exams,” adds Geetha Jayachandran, Principal, YBPS.
Value education percolates in the culture of YBPS. The school’s outreach activities involve the students in volunteering and inculcate empathy, kindness, charity, and social responsibility. The students are engaged in Shanti Ashram’s Poverty Solutions Programme, annual blood donation camps, active implementation of SEWA programme, supporting social causes like the Gaja cyclone relief fund by conducting a school fair, conduction of free medical camps, adopting of a nearby village settlement for spreading awareness. The students of the Interact club actively organize a Blood donation camp, joining hands with Ganga Hospitals, Coimbatore, on the occasion of Independence Day every year since 2014. Around 120 donors donate blood every year after being duly screened.
Environmental consciousness is one of the core values promoted by YBPS; Team Yuva leaves no stone unturned when it comes to the creation of awareness, promotion of environmental values, and conservation of biodiversity, water, energy, and other resources. The school campus is a plastic free-zone where students use metallic water bottles and utensils to shun the usage of plastics. The recycling unit, organic gardening & sales of products by students, Herbal Garden, Yuva’s Miya (the backyard forest following the Miyawaki technique), and cross country runs have proven this academic institution to be more than just textbook and classroom teaching.
Shaping Innovative Thinkers – Teachers at YBPS
Offering personalized instruction and individualized learning, the class size at YBPS is 25/30 students per section, and the student-teacher ratio is 18:1. The school caters to the Multiple Intelligences of the students. Students who are finding it difficult to master competencies are identified and are given additional support and guidance to perform better. Embracing inclusive learning, students having varying levels of intelligence are accommodated well within the same classroom. Lesson plans are tailored to meet the individual needs of the students, ensuring all types of learners are involved in the teaching-learning process.
The potential of the child is identified, and the mentors are assigned to guide the children. The tasks and activities are well analyzed and designed, which kindles the creativity of the child. If they are passive in school activities, they are advised to meet the school counsellor to identify what deters their performance, and then necessary actions are taken to help the child overcome hurdles.
Adhering to the norms of CBSE in recruiting qualified teachers who come on board, An undergraduate or postgraduate degree in the respective faculty with an undergraduate/postgraduate professional degree in education is mandatory. The school absorbs both experienced hands and promising freshers after rounds of interviews and demo classes. They are continuously exposed to the current trends in the field of pedagogy and their respective subjects through the Capacity Building Programmes, Prospective Resource Person training Programmes and refresher programme (experienced teachers and subject heads) conducted by the Centre of Excellence, CBSE, and Sahodaya Schools complex (cluster of neighbouring CBSE schools at regional level).
They also attend workshops and seminars conducted by institutes/agencies like the British Council, IIM (The Indian Institutes of Management), ICTRC (Institute of Counsellor Training Research and Consultancy), and other programmes based on mental health, positive psychology, digital literacy, child sex abuse, value education, and the pedagogical programmes conducted by our curriculum partners. “We expect at least 50 hours of professional development courses/modules/programmes to be completed by the teachers to meet the professional standards. On-site training by experts is also provided. Ongoing professional development is continuously ensured,” adds the Principal, Ms Geetha.
Achieving Greatness Everywhere!
Holding the spirit of inquiry in its curriculum transactions, Project-based learning is encouraged, and projects like Weeks of wonder, namely Ideation week, Literary week, Maths week, Visual and performing arts week are conducted to provide a platform to exhibit their talents of innovation and creativity and to hone their skills. Theme-based assemblies are assigned to all the classes where every student has to contribute based on their skill set. The children form a committee, chalk out their ideas, pool them together, and conduct activities for the school.
Winning the Best School Delegation Award at IIMUN’s Coimbatore Chapters in 2017 and 2018 and IIMUN Championship Conference held in Mumbai 2018, YBPS was one of the 257 schools that were selected by AIM (Atal Innovation Mission) from 13,000 schools in 2016 that applied for the establishment of Atal Tinkering Laboratory (ATL). “The student-friendly approach is directed towards enhancing their leadership, speech, and drama skills. We also stand as the first school in Coimbatore that undertakes the examination in Speech and Drama offered by the Trinity College, London,” points out Ms Geetha.
In the remarkable journey of MUN activities, it is to be highlighted that YBPS’s delegation won Regional Scholarship from YMUN XLV based on the past success records and merit. This award granted fee waivers and stipend to participate in Yale Model United Nations XLV, Yale’s campus in New Haven, Connecticut, USA, in January 2019. Smayan Santosh from our school received the Honourable Mention award at the same. Suraj Narayanan won the Honorable Mention award at the Harvard Model Congress Asia 2018 conducted by the University of Hong Kong in Hong Kong in January 2018. Delegates from YBPS have received a scholarship and attended Yale Model United Nations Korea in Seoul, S.Korea (November 2018), and YMUN Taiwan VI at Taipei, Taiwan.
Continuing the list of achievements, Ms Swasthika Anand, of Grade 11 from the school, participated as one of the three children who represented India at the Global Network of Religions for Children 5th Forum organized by Arigatou International in May 2017. Swasthika presented the resolutions and interacted with AlaaMurabit, UN High –Level Commissioner on Health, Employment, and Economic Growth. Saanvi of grade 2 successfully reached 15,000 ft in the Everest Region of Nepal in 2019. At just 7 years, she is the youngest climber to have completed the 10 day mountaineering programme in the Himalayas. Jash K. Kankaria and Neyati V. have carved a niche for themselves in Cricket at the State level and Golf respectively.
YBPS has also received International School Awards 2011-14 & 2015-18 conferred by the British Council, Nature Conservative Society’s Eco Award 2016-17, Greenest Campus Award 2017, Design for Change Awards 2014, 2016, and 2018 to name a few. “We have also been conferred the National School Excellence Award for outstanding commitment and exceptional efforts in promoting co-curricular education, Microsoft Create to Inspire Awards in 2015 and 2016, and Brainfeed’s School Excellence Award 2017-18, 2018-19, and 2019-20. We do our best in encouraging our students to pursue their interests and strive for success and these achievements are a testament for this,” according to Ms Geetha.
Making education more Impactful
The best predictor of student success is the extent to which families encourage learning at home and involve themselves in their child’s education. Making sure the parents are also a part of their child’s educational journey, Parent-Teacher meetings are conducted from time to time, and their suggestions are obtained to develop the system. Personalized feedback is being sent at regular intervals to the parents to make them a part of the entire process. They partner with the respective teachers in the remedial teaching-learning and differentiated programme. YBPS conducts orientation programme for the parents to guide students in various spheres like learning, behaviour modification, and emotional development.
The curriculum framework for the primary involves parents to significantly contribute towards the home fun activities, which are essentially activities post every lesson. They get involved in the school projects too. They add value to the programme as guests and speakers too. The School Management Committee and the Atal Advisory Committee have parent members on board who have their say in enhancing the functioning of the school by providing valuable inputs for decision making.
Sailing through the COVID Storm
Taking everyone by surprise, the COVID pandemic forced students and teachers to adapt to a new environment worldwide. Disrupting various activities of the institution, YBPS had to be shut down to ensure the safety of all children, leaving them apprehensive about the bleak future. The unprecedented closure of schools isolated the school from the soul of its students. The impact was so fierce the entire education system had to develop an alternate working model of the institution that indeed was the need of the hour. Despite the impact, the institution was able to see the bigger picture, leaving no stones unturned, taking every initiative possible to transform these setbacks into opportunities.
By demonstrating resourcefulness, through optimum utilization of technology and by maintaining open lines of communication through web platforms to establish the triple connection (student-parent-educator) intact, the school management conquered the initial struggles and expeditiously transcended the phase of disconnect towards firmly establishing a digital connection between the educators and the students. The school facilitated the study of augmented reality to qualified teachers to aid the teaching-learning process with innovation. The school follows hybrid pedagogy –synchronous & asynchronous approach regarding teaching-learning practice during this COVID Lockdown period.
Observing the paranoia among students that emerged as an unsolicited consequence of the pandemic, the emotional and psychological trauma of the students were addressed by the teachers/counsellors who were trained to handle the situation. Exclusive counselling sessions were organized from time to time to cater to the changing emotional and psychological needs of the students. “We gave our students digital literacy courses to ensure they are safe in the digital world and take up the new role as netizens,” adds Ms Geetha.
Looking and Planning for the Road Ahead!
With more than 90% of students of YBPS being accepted in both Indian and International Universities, the Career Guidance (CG) Cell at YBPS conducts guidance programme right from grade 9 to assess the aptitudes and identify the interests of every student. Psychometric assessments, multiple intelligence tests, career, and vocational-based tests are administered to understand the areas they bear fruit and the areas where they need to shoot up.
The CG cell organizes in-house exhaustive and comprehensive workshops/orientation sessions for the parents to introduce the whole new spectrum of emerging careers and the skills required for the same. The CG cell organizes in-house exhaustive and comprehensive workshops/orientation sessions for the parents as they play a critical role in the career choices of their children. The school systematically prepares the predicted scores and does deep research and analysis of the students’ portfolios for the recommendation letters it issues. If need be, the requisites are uploaded by the school on the university portal. All possible support from the school is extended in the process of application.
Currently, Artificial Intelligence is introduced at the secondary level to integrate the same with all the subjects. With vocational training and skill-based courses already being a part of the curricula, the institution is sure to proliferate the use of such skill-based training to create innovative entrepreneurs. Planning to organize its MUN to promote global awareness and leadership qualities among the students of the district, YBPS has won accolades for possessing Happiness Index, and the YBPS will always strive to be the haven for joyful learning and multifarious opportunities to discover one’s potential.
With a cross curricular objective, the school now plans to introduce more variety of subjects to choose from. The management has already finished the groundwork from the secondary level by reinforcement through Career and Guidance Cell. This way, YBPS blends inclusive education seamlessly in all spheres of learning. “We are continuously evolving to meet the standards of the changing paradigms of school education and bring out of its portals, competent and future-ready global citizens who can thrive, cultivate harmony, and spread happiness,”, concludes Correspondent, Mr Anand.
About Mr Anand Chinnasamy
A dynamic personality and an inconspicuous leader who makes his presence strongly felt in the innovations and achievements of Yuvabharathi Public School. With more than three decades of prolific experience in the arena of School Administration and Management, he serves as the Sire of five educational institutions under the aegis of Bharath Educational Society and sets the standards for our performance which others wish to emulate.
With a Bachelors and Diploma in Educational Institutional Management from The University of Manchester, U. K. and Outstanding Educationist Award, he stands for sustainable practices and modern ethos in the field of school education.
He envisioned Yuvabharathi Public School, one of the best CBSE schools in the district of Coimbatore. An ardent lover of sports, innovation, and progress are his benchmarks and he is the fountainhead of building South India’s largest Multi-Sport turf at Yuvabharathi Public School. A staunch believer of exponential excellence, he sets higher goals year after year for the progress of the institution.
About Mrs Geetha Jayachandran
Serving as the Principal of one of the best CBSE schools, she inspires the children to discover their inner potentials and aspire to make a difference when they leave the portals of Yuvabharathi. She has visited Finland to study the modern concepts of Education. She is the architect of the activities of Yuvabharathi that are unique and trendsetting.
She has been instrumental in winning many awards for the school and is a resource person for Capacity Building Training programmes of CBSE COE. Being the spring of motivation and enthusiasm of Team Yuva, she envisions a strain-free, stimulating environment for the holistic development of the children. Conferred with ‘Iconic Woman Achiever’s Award’ on International Women’s Day, her guidance has won the school International School Awards, Education world School Ranking – Coimbatore’s No.1 School, Future 50 School (National Level), Brainfeed Excellence Awards, NCS Eco Award, Greenest Campus Award, Microsoft Create to Inspire Awards, Design for Change Awards and such others.
She has been honoured for Thought Leadership in Co-curricular Education by the organisation, Scoolstars in 2018-19.