Believes, Raunak Jain, Managing Director, Tula’s International School. A versatile 2nd generation education entrepreneur, he has an in-depth insight on the functioning of the education industry. Following his father’s dream and passion, he took the responsibility on nurturing the educational setup of Tula’s Group – Tula’s Institute and Tula’s International School. He has developed a school which has potential to produce intellects, sportsmen, musicians and artists.
Raunak has been a proud recipient of Indira Gandhi Sadbhavna Award by the Government of India, making him an educational futurist to look out for. He received Master’s degree with a merit in International Management from Royal Holloway, University of London.
Raunak Jain, in an email interaction with Ekta Srivastava, Education Technology…
Please tell us something about Tula’s International School. Its concept and uniqueness
I have always been inclined towards the education sector. I was associated with the family-run Tula’s Institute that was started by my father. It is now being administered and managed by my sister. I often saw certain shortcomings in students who studied in the college. Also, as a student, I had my own ideas and vision of how school education should be. I wanted to implement a certain guru-shishya culture that was both modern, yet deeply rooted in tradition.
With the resources I had, I gave wings to my idea, and founded aco-educational CBSE institution that follows the Gurukul philosophy.
Tula’s International School is located at a scenic setting of Dehradun, wrapped in sheer tranquility, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. It is here that students transform into balanced, analytical people, ensuring an ambience where education is balanced and rewarding. Location plays a crucial role as being surrounding amidst nature, devoid of any out-worldly distractions, creates an environment which is most conducive to learning. It is a unique culture which inculcates practices such as learning through hearing, teaching by example, educating through practice, being in sync with nature and promoting simple living.
What are the new situations and corresponding problems Indian education societies face nowadays.
When I ideated my school I wanted it to be deeply integrated with technology and I even thought of high-end tools to implement the same. The problem for any education start up or any education sector as a whole is to find skilled human resources to support the use of this technology.
The other problem we face is our audience showing resistance to change. Even if we try to execute new age western module of teaching, parents and students tend to miss the usual rote learning concept. They do not whole heartedly accept new techniques very easily.
Under new situations and challenges, what relationships should schools pay more attention to in the process of innovative development?
Innovation in education entails identifying areas in our education system where we can do better and adopting new methods to achieve higher levels of achievement in these areas. It means not reinventing the wheel but partnering with the right people and institutions to accelerate the adoption of meaningful innovation. In this case, the relationships that schools should pay more attention to, are the leaders of innovative technologies in education in India so that the content is context-specific and other schools so that we can all learn from one-another and grow the education sector through collaborative rather than individual efforts.
Do you think India has adequate technology usage and adoption in the education sector? What more can be done in your opinion?
Technology usage and the availability of digital learning tools allow students to get a never-before individual learning experience that can adapt to the learning style of each individual. While it is heartening and encouraging to see technology usage improving the academic landscape in our country, we have a long way to go.
For one, there is no uniformity in availability of technology for students across different Boards, school-types and geographic regions in India. Collaboration among different education systems and stakeholders will also make the cost of this technology affordable for everyone. This is one crucial area to focus on.
There are several logistical issues too: there is limited access to computers and digital media in schools, there is not enough technical support and the school schedule or time table does not integrate the adequate use of technology for learning.
The first thing towards bringing about more technology usage in the education sector would be to modify the teacher training programs so that the new generation of teachers are able to integrate technology in the classroom.
The transformation from classroom learning and tuition to non-traditional online learning aids is not easy. What challenges did you face?
We faced several issues that continue to be a struggle even today. Bringing parents on board and encouraging teachers to look at technology as a central part of teaching rather than an extra-curricular tool has been one of the most important challenges. We are dealing with these on a regular basis and are observing a changing educational landscape.
The cost of the technology continues to be a challenge and we hope that as more schools adopt these innovative ideas, it will become more affordable.
What technology initiatives do you see gaining maximum ground for K-12 schools?
Just the availability of computers and internet is a huge boon for K-12 schools. Suddenly, the resources available for students and teachers are increased significantly. Students can choose from many different learning options available to them and this helps each student learn in the way that works best for them.
Online study tools and learning programs are other excellent technology initiatives that will gain maximum ground in schools.
Do you think eLearning can help in educational progress in a vast country like India?
I will use your question to answer you and say that it is only eLearning that can help in educational progress in a vast country like India. The traditional teaching techniques have, by far and large, failed to meet student requirements; especially in the modern landscape. The ideal student-teacher ratio is set as 1:30 for primary sections and 1:35 for upper primary sections. However, in India our student-teacher ratio is always at least double this.
With so many students, there is obviously a decrease in the teacher’s capability to focus individually on students. This reduces students’ chances of learning and growing to their maximum capacity.
In such a situation, eLearning is the only way to provide customised teaching that enables students to learn at the pace they are most comfortable in, and in the way they retain information best.