The importance of academic excellence in the making of a highly successful first-generation business entrepreneur is perhaps best personified by Dr Niranjan Hiranandani. Over the years, he has set up the Hiranandani Foundation School, successfully run the academic institutions of the HSNC Board – it is only in the fitness of things that his wish to go further and become an educationist comes true as Provost of the newly set up HSNC University in Mumbai. On this Teachers’ Day, Higher Education Digest interacts with Dr Niranjan Hiranandani to know his thoughts on the changing role of teachers in our education system, the challenges teachers face during this pandemic, expected effects of NEP on teachers, and many more.
In this era of technology and online learning, what is the role of a teacher?
The role of a teacher has always been crucial to carve students path, and with technology coming into the picture, the teachers have to take extra care to hold up the concentration of students. The responsibility certainly ascends as the digital session reaches a wider scale and to apprehend the student’s attention towards the subject has to be noted. Besides, as and when the technological advancements take place, the teacher also has to scale up and perceive the knowledge that they serve.
What are the significant challenges teachers are facing during this pandemic?
In the beginning, as the pandemic hit, conducting activities via digital mode got accepted as the new normal. And to survive through the challenging times, even the teachers holding an old school perception adapted the technology to continue educating the students and proliferating the mass. It was a challenge for the teachers who faced dwindling network to communicate and bestow their knowledge onto the coming generation. Moreover, despite being available at all times for the family and at home, the coordination found disturbance to match up the timing required to commit towards teaching. But being a master to innovate in the times of need, every teacher finds their own different technique to beat the challenges.
Since there are numerous sources available to gain knowledge, how do we change policy to support more flexible time and place learning?
One way to support flexible time and place learning is to regulate the novel sources students resort to for studying and clearing doubts which suits them. Changing policies isn’t an overnight deal to make, especially for the Indian education system. Thus to endorse convenience in learning as well as teaching, Government of India can rightfully support EdTech and so can institutions by associating with them for a better reach and reliability that can be looked up to even for last-minute revisions during examinations.
What are the expected effects of NEP on teachers?
With NEP coming into force, the most expected effect on teachers is a scope of better career opportunity because the demand for quality education will keep booming and so will the need for an established teacher. It will majorly help the teachers to pursue their area of interest and spread it forward by being a certified expert and teach the same. This will be possible as the regard of unusual courses that were considered bizarre or eccentric will be readily chosen as a route to establish a career.
What are the essential practices of teachers in a system where students are learning outside of school?
A student learns outside of school to gain an added support of the taught lessons for better understanding and broader perspective. The practical knowledge that can be imparted beyond the classroom is an added factor for the teacher to leverage student’s performance in a 360-degree view. The experimentation allows the student to broaden their imagination and foster a vision to express that can be revolutionary. On an additional note, an ability of multidisciplinary supervision is nurtured by the teachers in means of examining the students grasping and tackling capacity.
Concerning the NEP, what is the required training for existing and forthcoming teachers?
With due regards to the new National Education Policy, proper training of teachers is a must, to have it applied and be beneficial for students. The required training for both existing and forthcoming teachers shall include the intense and profound knowledge of the concerned subject. Additionally, a thorough hands-on experience should also be provided so while explaining it to students, the teachers can use their implied theories which converted (or couldn’t be) into the expected outcome.
What is your advice to the teachers?
As having been a teacher myself, I would share a bit of suggestion from my own learnings that when you give your 100%, the student becomes assertive that I have learnt from a reliable source of knowledge. This will help upscale the student-teacher bond, and they will candidly without any hesitation clear all queries which will, as a matter of fact, be handy to raise self-confidence. To build trust in your students, as a teacher, you have to always stay updated and read to the fullest capacity to meet the requirements of the hour.
More About Dr Niranjan Hiranandani
Even as a top real estate developer of a global repute to being the true ‘Real Estate Moghul’ of Indian Real Estate industry, Dr Niranjan Hiranandani always had an affinity towards providing quality education to society at large. The journey towards becoming an educationist started right with setting up the Hiranandani Foundation International Schools and Hiranandani Institute of Learning in his mixed-use integrated townships. He has the privilege of being on the boards of multiple educational institutions then chaired the HSNC Board where he looked after 17 colleges and 8 schools. Adding a new feather in the cap as an educationist, he also runs vocational skill training centres and institutions for interdisciplinary learning.
His ‘dream objective’ to enable an academic curriculum which would shape the young minds and transform them into an Industry Ready Profile has crystallized in the form of the HSNC University, Maharashtra’s newly set up Cluster University. As Provost of HSNC University, the journey is just a beginning