Venkateswarulu, Owner, Achievers Active School in Telangana, knows the real power of education. He finished his bachelor's in technology after which he started his first school while also being a mathematics teacher. He currently owns three schools in the area.
As LEAD School continues to change the Indian education system, we sat down with Venkateswarulu for a tête-à-tête where he traces his journey as a school owner. Below are the excerpts…
What has been the biggest challenge for you as an educator?
There were a few. The first one was to make our school tech-enabled. Secondly, I wanted to revolutionise the way my students study. I wanted them to think and write independently and be concept-oriented. For that, we are trying to mould their thinking capabilities constructively. The final challenge is to deal with parents and manage them efficiently.
What keeps you going every day?
As cliché as it may sound, seeing my students succeed and living with the satisfaction that they are being given the best education at a low cost, makes me immensely happy! Besides, the faith parents have in our learning methods motivates us too.
Any student anecdote you would like to share?
Back in 2016, we had a student who had changed numerous schools before finally getting admission to ours. He showed a lack of interest in his curriculum. Seeing this, I asked him to come to my office every morning and before he used to leave for home, I checked his diary.
We stuck to this routine for the coming years and finally, in his 10th grade, he got an excellent score. Later he went on to secure the 5th position in his college, and today he is studying to be a doctor. He still expresses his gratitude over telephonic calls and inspires his siblings to study harder and better. This was made possible with the help of personal care, emotional bonding, and educating parents.
How has LEAD School helped in teachers’ growth and students’ performance in your school?
Since 2018, I have seen our students develop fluency in English because of ELGA. This helped us in amplifying the admission rate as close to 170 parents moved to our school. LEAD School’s result-oriented methodology and course planning are excellent. The parents are happy too owing to the low fee structure and outstanding technology. Their response has been phenomenal which has helped our school gained tremendous publicity.
Teachers, with a year’s experience in the LEAD curriculum, can teach anywhere, without any degree certificate. Some of them got appointed to top schools with a handsome salary. They get certificates from LEAD School which increases their value in the job market.
If not an educationist, what else would you be?
I think it was meant to be. In my college days, I used to teach my classmates. My professors used to ask me to explain things to my peers. Post-B.tech, most people I knew went on to become managers in big companies churning high salaries. But I wasn’t simply interested. I was passionate about teaching and I started this journey with 26 students in Karimnagar town. Today we have 1800+students. My wife was a teacher in Hyderabad and Warangal. She is a great story narrator and has taught pre-primary students. She is great at teaching phonics. She has been awarded by the Telangana Government for her teaching skills. Not just that, my daughter is in the final year and my son is pursuing his Ph.D. So, as you can see, my family has a bent towards the education sector. It runs in the family.
Where do you see this sector in the next decade?
I have attended 10 webinars on the New Education Policy. Earlier where education was about rote learning, now deals with teaching a child thoroughly and not just about getting over a lesson. Lesson teaching will exist but the focus will now be on the child. In the next 10 years, schools that will deploy the latest technology in their day-to-day functioning will be the best kind of institutes and since LEAD School complies with the NEP, it will flourish.
I also attended a webinar that mentioned the relevance of extracurricular, co-curricular, and academics which reside at heart at the LEAD School. Coding remains an essential part of their syllabus and because of these reasons, I can easily envisage LEAD School thriving.
What are some of the innovative things that you have done during this lockdown period to engage students?
In March, we informed parents that to ensure continuous learning we will be shifting classes online. We had a TRSMA meeting and I am a member. They told us the technical aspects of recording classes, etc. But I started with LEAD School’s online classes. I encouraged other schools to join the bandwagon and they started in June. But since we started in March, academically and technologically, we remain way ahead of many.
Looking at the result, I suggested LEAD School to other educational institutes in the surrounding such as Godavarikhani. Being a part of the LEAD fraternity, we get to do activities including SLC (Student-Led Conference), weekly demo day, and other interesting and engaging activities on Saturday. This also includes giving prizes to students and printed certificates. Teachers now call parents every alternate day to keep the latter updated on their ward’s performance.
Students also get to present their learning through experiments, models, etc. They have to explain the activity they have learnt during the week and we choose a winner. This keeps pushing parents to take interest in their child’s learning.
During, the last 2 months, parents have to submit workbooks/notebooks once every 2 weeks to get their work corrected. Children also feel encouraged when their teacher writes something about their work in their notebook/workbooks for correction. Slowly the submission numbers are increasing. Certificates have been a boost for attendance and completing quizzes. From November onwards, we will have groups of 5 children each who can come to school with their parents to clarify their doubts from a mentor teacher. This is before the mid of year assessments so parents are also happy and relieved. We will follow the COVID protocol to manage this. For pre-primary, we will give assessments and will post scores online.
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