Pathways to an international curriculum
Innovation using design technology available has become an important requirement for the marketplace of the fast evolving present and future. This innovation depends partially,on the application of creative minds but increasingly also on the familiarity these creative minds have with the technology available to them. Pathways World School,Gurgaon is acutely aware of this new challenge and has developed curricula and the format to enable its students from class 4 onwards to train themselves in this skill and competence area in unique and largely unprecedented ways.
Director, Pathways World School
Till date, Pathways World School, (located in the vicinity of the national capital) remains, the only school in India to introduce Design & Technology as a part of its academic curriculum. The purpose is to explore the creative mind of the students and liberate their design potential through innovative use of technology. The programme aims to impart training in the design and manufacture of quality product prototypes by developing the knowledge, skills and values of the students on a continuous basis.
This specialised curriculum has been developed for students from Class 4 to 12, which offers students opportunities to broaden their innovative base and as a result facilitate continuous progression in the area of Design & Technology. The Pathways World School's
Design & Technology Department has a state-of-the-art Design Studio/Workshop that is equal to and even surpasses many Design & Technology studios in the UK.
It was in this context that we at National Network
of Education decided have an informal chat with the Mr Prabhat Jain, Director of Pathways (which became functional in early 2003), who gave us a wealth of information about the prevalent education system in today's India, the prime objective behind the establishment of this seemingly unique institute and the vast potentials which it holds out for the future generation in India.Excerpts from the interview: How was the idea of this offbeat school conceived?
Well, the idea was conceived sometime in September 1999. You see I hail from a family of enterprisers. My family has long been involved with stone quarrying, mining, handicrafts etc, operating mainly in and around Rajasthan. However we thought of diversifying into the service sector. In this sector we identified education. We carried out a research and realized that immense importance of education for the Indians. An interesting fact has emerged as a result of an interesting survey that twenty years hence, Indians will rule the world, not India. This implied that India is progressing but not well enough. And the lack of a high quality education at the primary level was a major deterrent. This inspite of the fact that Indian education system has several positive points namely, the Gurukula system, respect and regard for the teachers; it is also an undeniable fact that biologically Indians have a good number of mental skills. Yet the progress is not optimum because our education system has not been reformed for many, many decades. Why Indians shine abroad is because they get the finishing touch from one or more prime institutions over there.What ails our education system?
Well you see, our school education system is heavily content based, focusing more on acquisition of knowledge, contrary to the present day requirement of proper practical application of this knowledge in real life and in one or more industry. If students simply mug up and pass the exams, they are bound to forget everything after sometime. It gets them nowhere. What could be the remedial measures?
Today there has to be a major paradigm shift as to how education happens in the classroom. From being teaching based, education needs to become learning based. For instance, we see hordes of people flourishing well in IT, a sphere that was non-existent until a few years ago. Similarly students in today's classrooms could excel in fields hitherto unknown. And how to do it? By becoming lifelong learners. Modern day students need to explore and research whatever they learn. Along with the contents the students need to learn the practical aspects. Today everything needs to be project based. Nowadays students need to think and think critically, which is vital for success in life. What kind of clientele are you targeting?
As you are aware, the bulk of the clientele will be upmarket. Nevertheless we also have adequate provisions (i.e. 100% free studentship) for meritorious but not so affluent students, so that they may not miss out on good quality education. The intake of students is spread all over India, besides a sizeable chunk of children whose parents are NRIs and expatriates.Student strength, timings, terms & conditions, rules and regulations, fees etc
The number of students currently enrolled at Pathways is approximately 200, which will be increased to about 550 eventually. The fees are three layered:
Classes I-VIII Rs: 12,000 to Rs 24,000
Classes IX -X: Rs 48,000 to Rs 3 lakhs
Classes XI-XII: Rs 2,30,000 to 3,50, 000
(These rates are inclusive of tuition fees, boarding and lodging)
it is mandatory for each individual student to participate in everything, from sports to co curricular activities, since we believe that education is much beyond academics. Eligibility criteria, admission procedure etc…
The normal procedure for admissions is to advertise in the major newspapers. Our admission philosophy runs thus: Every individual student is teachable. If a school picks up only bright students, it does not perform its functions. The basic purpose of any successful teaching methodology is to successfully communicate the curriculum and content to each student and in the process enhance the level of his/her mental ability. This can be done in a three-pronged way: by fostering harmony, cooperation and healthy interaction between the pupil, his/her parents and the teachers. Admission may be sought at all levels, i.e. from nursery to classXI. A written test is conducted to assess an individual's capabilities. What is the USP of an "International Baccalaureate School?"
What is the underlying idea of introducing the design &technology as a subject?
- Internationally recognized and accepted curriculum
- Flexible syllabi to cater to individual requirements
- Choice of more than 100 languages to pick and choose from
- A variety of options available in social sciences (history, geography)
- Three major areas of focus:
- Aims at making each pupil a critical thinker
- Every student and the teacher of his classroom should be able to relate the content of the classroom with the external world.
- The IB system offers the right direction in the curricula and also the vertical heights for specialisation
- There exists the six-subject hexagon: 2 languages, 1science, 1 humanities, 1maths, and 1 social science.
- Each subject is offered at the standard level and the higher level respectively. It is mandatory for each student to take subjects at each level.
Through Design& technology it is possible to pursue higher education in diverse and varied academic disciplines. These include architecture. Mechanical /electrical engineering, product design, aeronautical design, automobile design, graphic/interior design, computer programming among others.
The ability to recognize and solve problems of many types through the use of the design process is facilitated through the formal study of Design & technology at the school level. So that when a student commences higher education, he/she is already well equipped with the necessary frame of mind along with the relevant analytical skills. Which board is this school affiliated to? Its system of examination scheme, marks/ grading etc.
Pathways World School is affiliated to the International Baccalaureate Organisation and the University of Cambridge, which function in close collaboration and communication with each other. It recognizes and conducts both the examination schemes: - International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE conducted by Cambridge University) and the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma exam conducted by International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) with its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The examinations are conducted internationally and on the same dates, twice a year i.e. In May and November. In order to ensure impartial and fair marking, the answer sheets with only code numbers are checked by a panel of checkers residing in various parts of the globe. A system of awarding grades is adhered to.Other highlights of this school?
It would be interesting to note that there are only 13 schools in India which are accredited to the IB system .The latest to join this bandwagon is Pathways along with the Dhirubhai Amabani International school, Mumbai.
The other salient features include:
In what way does Pathways International plan to cater to the career needs of India's youth?
- Efforts to take the students away from textbooks
- Emphasis on projects and presentations
- Learning by rote discouraged.
- Each pupil is encouraged to prepare portfolios for individual subjects
- Students at senior secondary level are encouraged to write mini-theses in the respective subjects, which hones their critical and analytical skills
- Students indulge in questioning the basics of knowledge:
- What do I know
- How do I know
- Do I know?
- The focus is on CAS: -- Creativity (performing and visual arts)
Activity (sports /athletics), Service (social service etc.)
You might already be aware that IB is well-recognized name at the global level. It happens to be the most preferred school-leaving certificate among the student community. Most educational institutions of international standing give preference to IB at the time of student intake. In the Indian context too, an IB certificate provides convenient and easy accessibility to reputed educational organisations and establishments. How does Pathways International visualize its future e.g. a decade from now?
This school in particular will be flourishing well and there will be at least three more Pathways schools fully operational in India and abroad.