Kasiga School: Truly 'A Home Away From Home'
In an interview with BW Education, chairman of Kasiga school, Mr Ramesh Batta talks about the challenges and difficulties in running a residential school.
Pedagogically, what have been the major challenges to run a residential school?
Kasiga, like every other international school houses faculty and students from diverse cultures and nationalities. This obviously means cultural and psychological differences between the different members. The challenge, therefore is to relate to and bring out the best out of each individual while trying to create a platform where all ideas are invited, deliberated upon, customized, standardized and shaped into something substantial. The other challenges that crop up subsequently are the factors of home sickness, providing a holistic education for all round development. It means looking into providing adequate facilities, a sustainable environment, and a fitting curriculum that can address the needs of the disparate student groups. While one needs to schedule in order to maximize the benefit to the children, one needs to create an inclusive community where the children grow up to appreciate the beauty inherent within their differences.
Do you have difficulties in getting right residential faculties for your school?
Getting trained and experienced faculty for a residential school is a real challenge. The requirements of this job are quite specific and specialized, we need our faculty to be well versed with curriculum delivery and also have the experience of dispensing pastoral care. Pastoral issues in a boarding school are related to physical, social, intellectual, emotional and spiritual development. Pastoral well being is essentail for academic excellence and requires emphasis.Hence finding a candidate who can do justice to both these responsibilities is not easy.
Discipline, safety and psychological balance are problems that every residential school grapples with. Your comments on that.
Discipline in an educational institution, needless to say, is a prerequisite to becoming an exemplar or a benchmark in setting high standards. The Kasiga management firmly believes in this. Being a purely residential school, the school authorities have always tried to strike a balance between imposing sanctions on the students for breach of accepted codes of conduct and providing controlled liberties to enable the children to make choices of their own and be responsible for them. Since safety has been at the top of our priority list, right from the stage of inception and physical design of the campus, it was kept in mind and assimilated organically in the infrastructural layout, and augmented with trained manpower and electronic support. As humans are a bundle of feelings, and as everyone is unique and carry their emotional baggage along with them, it is imperative that the psychological health of the school in general is of paramount importance. Apart from providing a trained Counsellor and a Special Educator, the complete gamut of faculty is dedicated to providing emotional, spiritual and intellectual support. The serene and picturesque surroundings of the Kasiga school help maintain a healthy balance between the mind and the body.
What are the effects of the new bills and policies on residential schools- regulation of fees, franchise, etc?
The finance ministry has clarified that all the services provided by the educational institutions, as a school (from pre-school to higher secondary school education), is fully exempted from GST.
However, higher educational centres, are required to pay it for certain services. This means, that transportation, catering, housekeeping, services relating to admission or conduct of examination to higher educational institutions will bear a GST levy. The “output” service of providing education will remain tax free.
“Annual subscription or fees charged as lodging or boarding charges by such educational institutions from its students for hostel accommodation shall not attract GST”.
How do you engage and increase confidence of parents who are stationed far away from their children?
The school believes in engaging with the parents continuously and building a partnership for the holistic development of our children. We justify our tagline, “a home away from home” by providing a conducive living atmosphere, wholesome food, pastoral care, individualized attention that provides a sense of security that one associates with home. We provide nourishing food with a menu created by expert chefs, have an in house food court with a state of the art kitchen and bakery serving the best of Indian and International cuisine. The quest for excellence has brought national recognition such as being ranked the Number 1 Co-educational Boarding School in Dehradun and Uttarakhand and amongst the top 10 Co-educational Boarding Schools across the country. Kasiga has the distinction of securing the second rank nationally for safety, hygiene and pastoral care and number 3 for infrastructure. We are amongst the top 10 for individual attention. It’s a place where not only the body or mind is trained but the soul is rejuvenated by the sylvan mountainous backdrop. The above achievements have helped us in gaining the confidence and trust of the parent community who feel a sense of security despite being away from their children.
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