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'Gaining knowledge is more important than achieving high marks'

By Bri. Samapika,

Bri. Samapika, Principal, Amrita Vidyalayam, New Delhi, expresses her views on the need of prioritising knowledge over marks.

We motivate the children from the beginning to inculcating the habit of conserving nature and keeping the surroundings clean, says Bri. Samapika.

In the modern education ecosystem, students often prioritise on scoring high marks and keeping up with their peers instead of focussing on gaining optimum amount of knowledge. In today's world, competition in the field of academics has gone up to such an extent that students feel the pressure to do well in exams rather than learning things to emerge as a socially responsible, well-rounded human being. So, teachers need to help students towards the right direction by encouraging them to pick up life skills and a build a high emotional quotient. In this interview, Bri. Samapika, Principal, Amrita Vidyalayam, New Delhi talks about the need to guide students towards gaining knowledge rather than achieving high marks.

In these politically volatile times, should students be insulated from political upheavals? How do you inform or educate them about the changing scenario?

Politics is one such aspect from which one cannot remain completely aloof. Thus, I personally believe that it would be wrong to keep the youngsters insulated from all the happenings in the world of politics. Through case studies and informative activities like MUN, debates, group discussions, etc. we help the learners to remain updated. The habit of reading the newspaper daily has been inculcated in the students to keep them posted with all the changes and developments in politics.

How do you motivate children to be ‘Green Citizens’?

Our school always believes in conserving nature. We motivate the children from the beginning to inculcate the habit of keeping the surroundings clean and dirt free. Through initiatives like plantation drive, ECO Club, no plastic zone, etc. we have made the students incorporate the practice of avoiding anything that can result into the contamination of the environment. Availing the concept of ‘best out of waste’, our teachers have taken the initiative of enabling the young scholars learn the art of stitching.

Our PM Narendra Modi, in his annual Pariksha Pe Charcha speech, repeatedly motivates the students and exhorts them to not only strive for high marks. Do you say the same to your students?

Yes, I do emphasise on the fact that gaining knowledge is much more important than achieving marks. I believe that the purpose of imparting education is simply not filling in the bucket with the required amount of water, but to make the water useful for versatile purposes. In the same manner the real motive or objective of education should be to make the students future ready. Acquiring relevant skills, gaining pertinent knowledge for present and future use, honing the latent skills and possessing a character that is morally ahead of others, should be the goal of education. Through motivational talks, discussions during celebrations, etc. I urge the students to concentrate on the knowledge that they are gaining from what they are learning because that is more important than scoring marks from rote learning.

Pedagogy is changing by leaps and bounds every year. How do you keep pace with it?

To keep pace with the changing trend in the system of education and to keep the vital pedagogies at the tip of the fingers, teachers are given ample opportunity of participating in training programmes organised by reputed and established organisations. CBSE training programmes, Diksha portal and various other platforms that help the educators to enhance their knowledge and skills, are invited to conduct webinars and workshops. In addition to the aforementioned steps, teachers are encouraged to participate in group discussions, brain storming sessions, etc. to learn from each other. To remain updated with the changing patterns, peer learning is also promoted in our institution so that no one misses out on all the important updates.

How do you inspire/motivate students to take up sports as it is a vital part of school education these days?

With technology having a deep impact on the physical activities of the youngsters, today’s young generation prefers spending ample amount of time with gadgets and gizmos, neglecting physical exercise altogether. Thus, to make the students gain significant benefits from outdoor games we have mandatorily incorporated games period in the timetable.

Amid the health hazard posed by the pandemic, it is highly essential that the students learn the real value of getting involved in sports and games to boost their immunity. At frequent intervals, inter-school and intra-school tournaments are organised to lend students an opportunity to showcase their talent. Physical Education has been incorporated in the curriculum as an important discipline at the higher secondary level.

Where do you expect to see your students/school 10 years from now?

With the strategically planned curriculum and emphasis on skill based learning, I have strong faith that in 10 years our students would carve a niche for themselves, not only in their chosen fields but also in their personal life. They will be more compassionate, sincere, diligent and equipped with all the required skills to conquer the world with their unmatched talent. And our ever growing institution will surely be equipped with all the required elements that would enhance the teaching learning process by manifold.

Your profession has many challenges. What, in your opinion, is the toughest?

In my tenure of serving the institution as principal, I have come across many sturdy challenges that have given me the zeal and strong motive to work with utmost dedication, and come up with innovative ways and means to run the institution.

However, the toughest challenge among the others, that always crops up, is to make the entire team work in coordination.

Occasionally when important decisions are made regarding changes in the pattern of education and assessments, implementation of those stand as a colossal challenge. The real challenge is when it comes to make the entire setup accept that change and work accordingly.

Are you still in touch with your teachers?

Yes, I always maintain a cordial relation with my teachers. To remain connected with each other is the very basis of any relation, whether personal or professional. I stay connected with all my teachers as it ensures professional growth and builds a conduit of faith.

Three inspiring words for your students.

Humanity, patriotism and dauntlessness.