Inspection Report by Dr Kirit and Meena Modi

Changing from traditional to modern

A report on the Brahmanand Vidya Mandir School in Chaparda by Dr. Kirit and Meena Modi.

Brahmanad Vidya Mandir is a remarkable school and everyone who has been involved in its development or has supported it can be proud of what has been achieved. It is now appropriate for the school to move to the next stage of its development. The excellent and ambitious vision of Pujya Muktanandji Bapu can now be attained if the school changes from its current traditional approach to a modern one. Making this change will take time and will require strong leadership. With the current commitment of staff and supporters alike this will no doubt be achieved sooner rather than later.

We went to Brahmanand Vidya Mandir School in August 2005. The aim of our visit was to observe the school and provide a comprehensive report of suggestions for improvement and ideas for the future. We were provided with all available information we had requested, prior to our visit, and were able to produce a detailed timetable for what we wanted to see and who we wanted to meet. With the help of the headmaster, Mr. Sharma, we were able to do the following:

  • Observe teaching in 21 classes.
  • Meet 13 teachers.
  • Meet Mr.Sharma and 9 senior teachers.
  • Meet nearly 100 students aged 12-17 years for an interactive exercise.
  • Meet 11 parents.
  • Provide training on the teaching of English to all teachers.
  • Meet Gijubhai Bharad, a prominent educationalist in Rajkot, who is also a trustee of BET.
  • Attend an evening prayer meeting with the whole school.
  • Meet Pujya Muktanandji for a lengthy discussion on the vision for the school.
  • Present our initial findings to a full staff meeting at the school.

We had two hectic and most enjoyable days at the school. We were very impressed by what we saw and heard during our visit. It is a fantastic achievement to have established an effective school in this rural area within four years. Our view is that the school provides a unique combination of traditional education in Gujarati alongside a strong cultural and disciplined ethos. Parents value the schools highly for these reasons. The leadership provided by Mr.Sharma and the senior staff is caring and effective in the Indian context. The overall quality of teaching is good within the structure of the school.

We were particularly impressed by the commitment of the teachers to the students, the eagerness and enthusiasm of the students, the excellent discipline, the impressive range of extra curricular activities and the openness of everyone we met to improve the education system.

Further to talking to approximately 100 students in various group discussions we found that students were very positive and informed us that they greatly enjoyed the natural and peaceful atmosphere of the school. They also seemed very enthusiastic about the extra facilities that had been put in place, such as music, karate, sports and a library. They were also very aware of the great care that was being taken by the staff in support of their education. Pupils were eager to learn of the differences in education between England and India and did stress their urgent need for good internet facilities as with this they would be able to improve standards and establish a link with the technological resources of the west.

We believe that there are a number of areas in which the school can improve and set out 17 suggestions in our report. The key suggestions out of those 17 are:

  • Establish an education advisory committee consisting of the headmaster, teachers, students and parents.
  • Develop an annual plan of improvement for each subject area.
  • Establish a system of performance management for all staff in the school
  • Transform the provision of English by appointing three specialist teachers, increase the teaching time of the subject, provide the training and purchase suitable resources.
  • Improve the computer facilities with internet and e-mail provision and technician support.
  • Develop links with a school in the UK to encourage students to raise their standards and improve their English.
  • Reduce class sizes.
  • Arrange primary classes for young children to be taught by one teacher in the main rather than separate subject teachers as is currently the case.
  • Develop a five year strategy for the school linked to a five year financial plan for improvements.

On a personal note we have supported BEHT for many years and will continue to do so. We will, of course, be delighted to provide our professional support in any way we can.

In mid 2005, Dr. Kirit and Meena Modi inspected the school in Chaparda. Dr. Kirit is the Assistant Director of Education in the Islington Borough of London and has been involved in Education for 30 years in the UK. He is responsible for a wide range of educational issues and works with 60 schools in Islington. Recently, he has been appointed by the Secretary of State for Education in the UK as a Council member of England’s General Teaching Council. Meena Modi is a Head teacher of an infant state school in Watford in the UK. She has been involved in Education for the past 26 years.

From the inspection report provided by Dr. Kirit and Meena Modi, BEHT with BET in India is addressing many of the issues raised. The aim of this report was to improve and raise the standard of Education.

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