Launched in 2017, the Shri Ram Universal School, Palava celebrated its fifth Founder’s Day last August. Adaptability, collaboration, diversity and inclusion are among the few foundation pillars of the philosophy and through this half decade numerous instances put these to test. Be it envisioning the first ever Shri Ram Universal School in the city at a barren site in Palava, addressing a new challenge every day during the Pandemic, building trust among parents that this indeed was an offspring of The Shri Ram School in New Delhi, the team addressed them all with the head on their shoulders and faith in the heart. Read our tete-a-tete with Sheelam Seth, the CEO of Shri Educare Limited as he shared the memories made along the journey and the vision for the remaining decade.
Take us through the core philosophy of The Shri Ram Universal School, Palava
With a belief in the individuality and uniqueness of each child, the educational philosophy at The Shri Ram Universal School (TSUS) is emphatic about providing child-centric education, and keeping this in mind, the school offers learning that is both interactive and experiential. The teaching methodology is a diverse mix of the most recent innovations in education and is based on the latest findings in tutoring research. It is our goal that each child attains, to the fullest of his / her potential, the fundamental knowledge and skills that will allow the child to function effectively as a participating and contributing citizen in our society. The school’s activities and programme would be designed to help each child achieve his/her “Personal Best” and work towards “Bettering their Best”.
What are your most impactful learnings through the half decade spent in Palava?
There have been plenty of learnings but if I had to enlist 5 then the below would be my picks, albeit in no definite order.
The Importance of Adaptability: Over the course of the last 5 years and especially during Covid Times, the school has experienced changes in student demographics, teaching methods, technology, and other factors that impact the educational experience. One key learning is the importance of being able to quickly adapt in response to these changes. This involved embracing new technology, adjusting teaching methods to better suit student needs, and adopting new ideas and approaches practised globally.
The Power of Collaboration: Another key learning is the power of collaboration between teachers, staff, students, and parents. Working together towards a common goal has led to a more cohesive and supportive learning environment, as well as better learning outcomes among students.
The Value of Diverse Perspectives: A diverse student body can bring a range of perspectives and experiences to the classroom. Over the course of 5 years, the students of our have learnt the value of promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of the educational experience. This has helped our students develop a better understanding of different cultures and perspectives and has also led to a more inclusive and accepting learning environment.
The Need for Continuous Improvement: Continuously seeking improvement has helped in ensuring that the school remains relevant and responsive to the changing needs of students and the world around them, which also resonates with one of our Core value : Pursuit of Excellence, where we always work towards ‘Bettering our Best’
As a founding member, what are your early memories of your association with Palava
When I first met the team at Palava, there were a lot of burning questions in my mind, primarily focusing on how they would treat our brand differently from their own brand, The Lodha World Schools. Also, during initial visits, we were perplexed about the infra development as the city was still in the under construction mode. I distinctly remember one of my initial visits when we walked to the school site wearing safety gear to inspect the development and were very worried regarding the completion of the building with all safety measures in place before commencement of the academic year. While I did worry a lot, I must compliment the entire Palava team for their absolute dedication and commitment to timelines in bringing up a state of art infra with world class facilities. The infra itself was a novel experience for the parents who walked into the school campus for the very first time. This is what we call a ‘Like-minded partnership.’
What is your vision for the rest of the decade?
The times are changing and in addition to the new normal introduced by the pandemic, the times ahead are among the most exciting times for education in India. We, at The Shri Ram Universal School are consciously focusing on the below verticals:
Inclusivity and Diversity: An important aspect of our school’s vision is our commitment to inclusivity and diversity, creating a welcoming and respectful environment for all students, regardless of their background, ethnicity, religion, or abilities.
Community Involvement: We prioritise building strong relationships with families and the wider community. This includes opportunities for families to get involved in school, regular communication and feedback from the school to the community, and partnerships with local organisations to support student learning and development, which we term it as ‘Like-minded partnership.’
Three Ways Handshake 21st Century Skills: As the world continues to change and evolve, we intend to focus on preparing students for the future by developing key 21st-century skills such as critical thinking, creativity, communication, collaboration, and digital literacy.
Sustainability and Environmental Stewardship: With the pressing issues of climate change and environmental degradation, we are committed to sustainability and environmental stewardship. This involves incorporating environmental education into the curriculum, reducing the school's carbon footprint, and promoting environmentally responsible behaviours and practices among students, staff, and families.
And just before we sign off, tell us your 3 favourite milestones at The Shri Ram Universal School, Palava!
Oh this is a tough one but let me try as I have more than 3 for sure! (A hearty laugh)
And the final question, in this New Year what is the new initiative that one should look out for?
Oh I cannot reveal much but I can say it will excite all those who are creatively inclined. This year we are launching a Makers’ Studio, which will provide students with the opportunity to participate in hands-on, experiential learning that encourages creativity, innovation, design thinking and problem-solving skills. In addition to the educational outcomes, a Makers’ studio will also foster a sense of community within the school as it would provide a space for students to collaborate, share ideas, and support each other in their pursuits, which will be a progression to our Research and Referral Program.