What’s next for affordable private schools in India?

What’s next for affordable private schools in India?

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Affordable private schools have been thriving on the path to making quality education accessible to all. The pandemic-induced school closures, however, have posed a significant threat to the education of 92 million children who attend such schools. It is estimated that by 2031, the number of children attending affordable private schools will reach 162 million. The National Independent School Alliance (NISA) estimates that there are over 400,000 private affordable schools serving students in India.

The pandemic has severely impacted affordable private schools (APSs), which are facing numerous challenges such as delayed fee payments, a shortage of qualified and skilled teachers, insufficient funds for infrastructure, and a lack of effective parent engagement. Despite these challenges, parents still prefer private schools for their quality education. School owners are keen to adopt new initiatives that set them apart from government or other private schools, such as offering classes in abacus, English, and coding.

A fresh approach and perspective have made education more interactive, hands-on, and focused on achieving learning outcomes. This is the ideal time for schools to prepare for future trends and challenges and to be equipped to thrive in an increasingly globalized world.

To ensure a sustainable future for affordable private schools, structural reforms are necessary in the areas mentioned below:

1. National Education Policy 

The National Education Policy (NEP) aims to modernize the country’s education system to meet the international standards of the 21st century. Talks are now centered on properly implementing the NEP to transform vision into action. 

While implementing NEP, schools should focus on creativity, innovation, and personality development instead of just high scores. Competency-based learning is needed for affordable private schools to assess learning outcomes and also learn about what skills a child should be able to demonstrate as part of their learning outcome.

The progress card should reflect the 360-degree assessment of students which will include self, peer, and teacher assessments. As per the NEP, schools are supposed to provide vocational courses and courses like coding, so school leaders must focus more on bringing such courses.

Read More: How can Affordable Private Schools overcome the financial burden imposed by covid?

2. Technology

Covid forced schools to switch to hybrid learning and a number of schools started utilizing technology for learning without being prepared. Two years in, school leaders should recognize and permanently move towards using technology in schools to raise responsible users of technology. The primary goal should be for school leaders to be able to focus on preparing the next generation of students to use, leverage, and be responsible users of technology.

Even a few years ago, students used to rely on teachers and textbooks to access the information they were learning. However, technologically savvy affordable private schools can now provide students with devices that allow them to access a much broader range of relevant information.

Going forward, classrooms will no longer be restricted to walls and textbooks. Students will have the opportunity to interact with experts from around the country and world through video calls and they will have access to various courses without regional barriers. Schools should focus on technology that benefits students and teachers, as well as develop the infrastructure required for such devices.

3. Teachers

Teachers are the foundation of schools, and qualified ones are crucial for the success of affordable private schools. However, in this tech-savvy world, an untrained teacher may be unable to capture the attention of the students. Teachers need to upgrade their skills to sustain themselves in the next affordable private schools. School leaders should offer courses on platforms like Coursera, udemy, and unacademy to help teachers improve their communication skills and build their professional learning communities. 

Communication skills and building PLC can help teachers to make the school grow. Teachers need to embrace new educational trends and mindsets which is necessary for schools to be future-ready.

4. School leaders

School leaders are responsible for creating an environment and implementing practices that are crucial for achieving future-ready outcomes. School leaders must adopt new perspectives on education and prepare themselves for the next generation of private schools. They need to focus on learning skills like leadership, finance management, and emotional intelligence.

School leaders should think about broadening the types of data they use for decision-making. Instead of just basic demographic information, including specific socioeconomic data can help principals measure their community’s ability to adapt to new technology. To ensure future growth, school leaders must learn to make data-driven decisions and become more tech savvy.

Affordable private schools are moving towards a new era and globalization of education. They need to prepare themselves to become future-ready and make students able to compete worldwide. School leaders, management, teachers, students, and also parents – everyone should put in the effort to upgrade themselves for the next phase of  affordable private schools.

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