Blog By Mallika Kotian (Director Schools, Kohinoor Education Trust)

With the entire world trying to find creative solutions to issues, the traditional teaching learning process does not equip the child with this ability or the ability to think of practical solutions in an evolving society. While, the Global curricula focusses on ability to think independently and creatively with a focus on solutions. Let’s see how.

International Baccalaureate (IB) & International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) are the new buzzword in the education system today. The recent times have seen a shift in preferences towards global curricula. The responsibility of running a truly global school lies with the Head of School who can bring an international approach and pedagogy to the table thus benefiting the institution. We spoke to Mallika Kotian, Director Schools, Kohinoor Education Trust on this and more. Recently, under her leadership, the Kohinoor American School was awarded Best School in India & the Innovative Teaching award.

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TPS: How far do you think “Global schools” are relevant to the Indian education environment? What kind of special educational inputs do such schools provide in the Indian context?

Mallika: The world is changing at super sonic speed. Estimates say that the problems of tomorrow will be those that have never been seen or heard of in human history. In such a scenario, problem-solvers will be those who not only think out of the box but come up with indigenous solutions to counter the issues.

The Global curricula focusses on ability to think independently and creatively with a focus on solutions. With the entire world trying to find creative solutions to issues, the traditional teaching learning process does not equip the child with this ability or the ability to think of practical solutions in an evolving society. IB & IGCSE offer student centric education. They help students develop skills like critical thinking and research. It engages students with global issues and it helps students to develop international mindedness.

TPS: In most institutions offering global curricula, the teachers are largely from the native educational systems with their training inputs? What challenges do such schools face in dealing with different curricula and pedagogy?

Mallika: Most Global Curricula offers in-service training which schools can benefit from. It is essential that schools take advantage of this service. At Kohinoor American School, we follow the International Baccalaureate & it offers brilliant options to train the teachers. We believe that involving teachers from native educational system helps the institution and students to gain a global perspective and promote diversity and inter-cultural understanding. There are face-to-face and online workshops that teachers can be enrolled for to get acquainted with the curriculum. We also have workshops where our international faculty and Indian teachers are trained and brought up to speed with the latest techniques and syllabus essentials.

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TPS: Implementation of the global curricula in school systems is meaningful only when the number of learners in a classroom is limited? And hence, the teacher-pupil ratio has to be less. How does it impact the costing of education in the Indian environment?

Mallika: Profitability versus quality has been an age-old debate. The dynamics of International Baccalaureate have fuelled it further. However, when the school administration realises that profit-motive cannot be the sole reason for running a school, the equation changes. Schools are here to build the nation and global IB schools like ours are on a mission to provide global, responsible citizens to tomorrow’s world. When the vision is large, one then keeps profit motive on the back burner and takes the necessary moves to ensure vision accomplishment.

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Having said that, we are surely mindful of the increased costing with respect to trained human resources. Following the student-teacher ratio helps as it provides each child to grow and develop. A teacher can identify each child’s areas of strengths and weaknesses. It also gives scope for a child to develop holistically. Teachers have more time on hand to prepare for better lessons which in turn leads to effective classroom interaction.

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We know that as time progresses and batches are added, the profitability will improve.

TPS: There is a general feeling that global systems create a ‘classism’ among students and hence they are not able to cope with hard realities of life in a competitive environment in the Indian context? What is your view?

Mallika: Well, this view is completely opposite of the philosophy of a global curricula. The very essence of an IB curriculum is the overall development of a child where service/community activities have equal importance as academics. At our school for example, it forms one of the four pillars on which our pedagogy is based. From a very young age, children work with the community and thus learn empathy, adaptation and value of hard work.

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TPS: Having studied in a totally different pedagogical environment, how do you think the students from such schools cope with the prevalent higher education system in India where there is less freedom for free thinking and a greater focus on examinations with rote learning?

Mallika: IB education doesn’t operate in a silo. Infact it offers holistic education that ensures that students stay in sync with the environment. The distinct advantage of a global curriculum is the manner in which critical thinking & reasoning are sharpened. These students are assertive and inclusive leaders who exhibit high-level of confidence. According to me, an IB student will not only add value to the class but also ensure that peers are correctly influenced towards critical thinking.

Mallika Kotian is Director Schools at Kohinoor Education Trust. In her, Kohinoor American School has found an efficient school administrator whose illustrious career spans 17 years. She has been part of some of the best schools in the country and has played a key role in setting up new ventures. Strategic management coupled with a humane approach is her biggest skill. Her involvement in Early Childhood Education, Primary and Secondary Education has catalyzed the growth of the schools she has worked with. Her vision to see every employee & student excel in their personal and professional lives has made her create numerous success stories across the nation.