About

This is the blog site of Mark Parkinson – educator, learner, blogger, parent, thinker, reflector, challenger, reformer, child advocate, thrill-seeker, writer, communicator, sports lover, passionate about music, futurist, trainer, coach, leader, visionary, polymath, environmentalist, go-giver, values-centred human.

Update – May 2016

For the last three years I lived in the United Arab Emirates, involved in setting up a new school in Sharjah. Over the last 11 years or so I’ve loved being involved with setting up new schools, turning around a school that had lost its way or taking a group of schools with a great reputation and raising the bar to a whole new level. These different roles drew on different parts of me, challenged me and called me to question many of the things that I might have taken for granted about education.

I’m now excited to be moving on to new projects, challenges and opportunities. I’ve moved to Malaysia where I’ve taken up the very exciting role of CEO for Tenby Schools. This is a group of 5 schools (to be six from September 2016, with further future expansion plans in the pipeline). All the schools offer International primary Programme, IGCSE and A levels and some offer the Malaysian national curriculum through private school.

All the schools operate in beautiful, purpose-built campuses, with highly competent and skilled leadership teams and educators. With well over 4,000 students, their parents and guardians and 500+ teachers, plus administrators  I’m really excited to be embarking on this new journey, wonderful new learning opportunities and a whole lot of new people to get to know.

And, of course,  a whole new audience for this blog. Already, the readership is spread throughout the world. Obviously, the biggest groups are parents and staff from past schools I’ve been involved with. Even though I have a new role and new children, parents and staff to whom I’m answerable, all those who’ve been a part of my development and learning as an educator in the past are no less welcome – ESPECIALLY those willing and happy to join in with the debates and discussions related to the issues raised.

From 2007 to 2012 I was Director of The Shri Ram Schools (TSRS), Delhi and Gurgaon, India. In that time we were able to increase the number of students for whom we provided education by more than 50%, whilst being ranked number 1 Day School in the country in 2008, 2009 and 2011 by Education World magazine. The schools were also consistently ranked the best in Delhi and Gurgaon in surveys conducted by Hindustan Times newspaper.

After leaving TSRS I also had the opportunity to support the team bringing a very new kind of school to India; Kunskappskolan, Gurgaon opened in April 2013 as a collaboration with Sweden’s biggest education company. Their emphasis is strongly on developing independent learners and providing a personalised learning experience for every student.

In around six and a half years the blog has received well over 90,000 visits. I started it with the intention of communicating with a very narrowly defined group of people. However, over time I came to realise that it actually offered me the opportunity to do something that has been fundamental for educators over hundreds (maybe thousands) of years – namely, to share knowledge and information with others (but with the powerful multiplying effect of the internet).

These days, whilst a proportion of regular readers are people who know me ‘in the real world’, it’s very satisfying that i get to share material related to 21st Century education, children, parenting, leadership and anything else that really interests me with a far broader group of people who share those interests.

Mark Parkinson
markp.india@gmail.com

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157 Responses

  1. Our heartiest congratulations to you on your new mission..!! We wish you all the best and thank you for being such a vital part of TSRS!!

    With our best wishes,
    Kunal and Deepika Mehta

  2. Sir,
    I simply wanted to share my thoughts with the school on the School fee hike and was looking for a suitable email id to address it to when I stumbled upon the link to your blog on the school website. I trust this is a proper forum for the same. If not, I request your indulgence.

    This has reference to the school’s circular Aravali/1/2009 dated 12.03.09 on the hike in the school fees. I thank the Chairperson and the Director for taking the time and effort to address the genuine concerns of the parents.

    Rumour has it that Shri Ram School teachers are one of the under-paid lots of the profession and I am hopeful that this has been set right to a certain degree by the pay-hike. As a parent of a Shri Ram student, the competence and experience of teachers are of paramount importance to me. As Maslow’s hierarchy postulates, basic needs are to be taken care of for an individual to move to higher levels of aspirations. The teachers already enjoy social recognition by virtue of teaching at a reputed and much sought-after school in Gurgaon. I firmly believe it is teachers who” ignite the young minds”, to quote our beloved ex-President, and for them to be able to do so, they need to feel valued, respected, appreciated but most of all compensated adequately. It takes highly self-actualized and motivated persons to become teachers in the truest sense- to teach, educate, mould and ignite the young minds. The fruits of their labour are not immediate and shall be borne only in the distant future when some of the children they teach make a mark in society for which they can take the credit. Until then it is self-actualization that keeps the teacher going. I hope and wish the resultant higher salary for the teachers drawn from higher school fees shall go in retaining the competent while attracting the best in the profession.

    Often, I am told that I am supportive of the fee hike because I have only one child. Yes, it was a conscious decision on our part to have only one child as we wanted to give the best possible to one, rather than divide the best available amongst more than one. Unless mistaken, we are talking about a little more than Rs.1000 p.m. for each child. I acknowledge that there will be parents whose personal circumstances are more challenging than most and whose concerns the school has assured shall be met with, with sensitivity and discretion. But for the majority of us the amount is less than a weekly outing at the mall with the family; or less than the cost of clothes from a top brand that we like to dress our children in; or just a miniscule percentage of our summer vacation travel cost. While we don’t grudge ourselves those, why do we grudge the teachers a few more rupees in their pockets? A happy and motivated teacher transforms our child into a happy, competent and well-adjusted human-being. For, most of the wakeful hours our child spends with teachers and friends, not with parents.

    I write this only to share my personal views and opinion on this matter.

    Looking forward to a better school and education for my child,

    Yours sincerely,
    RK Geetha
    m/o Alejandro Boada,
    IV-D, The Shri ram School, Aravali.

  3. Thank you for those words. I would just say that, in my opinion prior to 6th Pay Commission it was all teachers who were underpaid for the work they do and the importance of their role in society.

    When it comes to ‘rumours’ about how TSRS teachers are paid compared with those in other schools our evidence is that was exactly that …. rumours, with little basis in fact. The pay commissions and government pay scales are the MINIMUM that a school is supposed to remunerate an educator. TSRS teachers were always remunerated above those rates.

    We are very keen and hopeful that, across the profession, these new pay scales will ensure retention of the most talented teachers, attraction of high calibre new talent in to the profession (for the right reasons) and high levels of accountability for quality and standards. Our children deserve those things.

    We are continually aware that as an employer, compared with many Indian schools we ask a lot of our teachers, especially in terms of the responsibilities beyond ‘delivering lessons in the classroom’. In those circumstances they must be properly rewarded. It is also vital that we provide them with the holistic development opportunities to enable them to grow in their roles, to reflect and become the best they can be individually and collectively. This is a big commitment for us in 2009-10.

  4. A lot of people seem to have already discovered this forum. Now that I have too, Congratulations! Sir, for this rather thoughtful gesture…as at the end of the day we live in a society. In order to to live in harmony we need consensus and dialogue and what better forum than a blog and straight from the Director’s heart. This is why we feel proud to be a Shri Ram parent.

    Coming to the issue of the fee hike, I was a little uncomfortable in the beginning but your circular put me at ease. It was not the calculation or the explanations, it was the thought. Thank you once more.

    With very best wishes for a great term ahead.

    Neeta Pradhan Das

  5. I do enjoy reading your Blog. Number of times it gives me some insight into a parenting problem. At other times it points to some interesting article about education. BTW I am happy to be part of the TSRS community.

    Keep blogging. All the best.

  6. Hi,
    I have been diligently following your blog ever since my daughter joined The Shri Ram School, Aravalli this year in class IV. Honestly speaking, to begin with it was because I was looking for comfort and reiteration about the decision to move my daughter from Shikshantar – another very beautiful school.
    Secondly, I take active interest in education – being a part time teacher myself .(http://garimadhamija.blogspot.com/)
    I completely agreed with your latest post about bullying Have found your thoughts to be of great value in questioning many deep set perspectives. That itself brings about change,even if at an individual level.
    To go back to my original purpose of following your blog, I think I am beginning to find some amount of comfort. looking forward to questioning many more set ideas….
    Garima
    M/O Niharika – Class IV B

  7. Welcome aboard. The motivation that caused you to be checking in on the blog was exactly the kind of reason i felt it was so important to start it in the first place.

    As educators we know how vitally important is the relationship between parents and school, individually and collectively. Fortunately, new technology offers us new ways to open more lines of communication.

    I am glad you have taken the chance to dive in and comment – hope you will continue to do so. The more this becomes a dialogue between parents, school and students the greater the value.

    • Dear Mr. Parkinson,

      Its been more than an year since I first posted a reply on your blog. Needless to say, I have been ardently following it leading to interesting insights, moot topics and might I say, expansion of my thought process about education.

      I had first written an year ago when my daughter Niharika had just joined the Shri Ram School (Aravali) – a bit apprehensively and a bit timidly. From struggling to find friends in the first few days to day when she came and excitedly said “I am a part of the Student Council – I am the Himgiri house captain” , I must say it has been an interesting and involving journey. She was inspired last year with the junior student council elections and thereafter aspired continually.

      I am in part writing to acknowledge the role of her class teacher Sonia Pudota in gently holding her hand initially and then prodding her at appropriate times — to my mind, the true function of a teacher .Kudos to her and all the team who are doing this so well.

      Look forward to a great term
      Regards
      Garima (M/O Niharika , Class 5D)

      PS : On my part, I continue to volunteer at the school when required and this year have become a part of the PSA.

      • Garima, great to hear from you again. Wow!! So pleased to hear and quickly and effectively Niharika has settled in and made her mark. To go from ‘new girl on the block’ to a House Captain in a single year tells a great deal about her flexibility, adaptability and EQ.
        I’ll see her for the investiture and hope she has a really great year (For understandable reasons, even with my son being in Himgiri I would never dream of wishing success to her house – have to support all four equally!)
        Thanks for the feedback on Sonia – the Shri Educators are undoubtedly the school’s biggest strength. We place a lot of importance on creation of the climate and evnvironment within which they can grow, learn and be their best.

  8. Sir,
    School shall be re-opening shortly after the summer holidays and most of the kids would have returned from foreign visits. Is the school planning on a protocol for the identification of possible carriers and the prevention of the spread of Swine Flu amongst the school children? I am sure you would agree that the risk of prevalence and dispersal of the virus shall be high among recently-returned, say, after the 20th of June, kids. A questionnaire may be given out on the first day for the parents to fill up and submit. Or it could be a circular stressing upon the imperative need for voluntary screening by parents and kids who may have just returned from abroad. Towards this end, the school may tie up with a trusted local medical institution for the screening purpose. I understand that in Madras, some schools have done a similar exercise after school reopened earlier this month.
    Thanking you for your time and attention.
    RK Geetha
    m/o Alejandro Boada
    V B

  9. An afterthought… the risk of the virus surviving this brutal heat is infinitesimal…nevertheless, better to be cautious than sorry. 🙂

  10. I’m so glad you have asked about that. There will be communication to all the parents on the first day back in school, but here’s what i can tell you so far;

    a) The school’s 4 nurses are actually undergoing 9 hours of special training with Artemis Hospital this week, specifically related to H1N1.
    b) Doctors from the hospital will be in school on 1st July to conduct a workshop for all the teachers.
    c) Communication mechanisms with parents, especially related to higher risk children (and staff) who have travelled overseas are being planned,
    d) There will be a zero tolerance on sick children being sent to school,
    e) Middle school children who are unwell will not be permitted in school to take the weekly tests – instead alternative test dates will be offered for those children.
    f) Workshops and training sessions for support staff, catering staff etc. around personal hygiene issues are always important, but we are giving them added impetus at this time,
    g) lesson plans are being worked on for the children of different ages to understand about the disease, the personal measures they should be taking and things like what a pandemic is. With older children there is a lot of learning opportunity – to understand how a pandemic spreads (maths, sociology, geography etc.)
    h) We are looking at the working modalities with Artemis in Gurgaon and Sitaram Bhartia in Delhi to ensure that our medical responses are as good as we can make them, not just in respect of this issue,
    i) Further measures are being looked at, especially with the inputs and assistance from some of the wonderful, helpful parent-doctors within our community.

    In short, as I hope you would expect from TSRS we are not complacent, but are working thoroughly to seek to do all we need to.

  11. Thanks for your prompt and reassuring reply detailing the anticipatory measures being taken by the school to tackle the issue.

  12. I have a question !! Is our school going to open on the 2nd
    or not?

  13. Hello Ehsaas,

    There is another page on the blog which has the answer to your question – just use the link below;

    https://markparkinson.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/start-of-term/

  14. Every morning when I walk back after dropping my son off at school from Hamilton Court I sometimes hear the prayer song over the school public address system. I am not a native speaker of Hindi and I may be mistaken, but what I gather is the prayer is always related to Hinduism. Doesn’t the school have prayers drawn from other religions also? Being convent school-educated I know “Our Father..” by heart but had never heard it being recited in the morning prayers. Or something from the Koran..the Torah..Granth Sahib etc. Hearing something new might spark an interest , a discussion among the students and enable them understand and appreciate diversity.

    What triggered this post is a comment that my son made the other day- He stated, “Muslims are bad”. Bemused, I asked him why does he say that. “Pakistanis are Muslims, Geetha”!

    I never realized I had a bigot in the making.

    • Hello, interesting question.

      I think the first thing i would want to say is that our children are highly ‘plastic’. As a result, we shouldn’t be too surprised that they sometimes become the victims of narrow minded or blinkered perceptions fed through media, friends and the generally misinformed. The truth is that they don’t have to ‘stay that way’ and can easily be found expressing very different viewpoints within a very short span of time.

      It does, though, act as a reminder of the continual vigilance we need to have and the energy that we have to be continually putting in to convey the right, positive, healthy messages and values to our children. That we ‘can’t win them all’ is no reason to slacken off.

      As for the morning prayers, this has been the topic of a discussion in recent weeks amongst the Principals. Whilst multi-faith prayers are frequently included in form mornings/ evenings and special assemblies they are looking at increasing the diversity for morning prayers. So, if you listen carefully you may get to hear some other things during your morning walk.

  15. I am a doctor who is working in UK. My children who are in class 8 and 9 visit me during their holidays. Would it be possible to get their holidays and exams calender well in advance so that travel arrangements can be made.

    I am very keen to know when will they have their final exams this year, before or after the christmas break.

    Help with this will be much appreciated.
    With kind regards

    • Hello, my apologies for the delay in getting back to you on this point, but i wanted to be clear with my facts and things have been pretty hectic during the first week of the new term.

      The calendar for the year is available on the website for your child’s campus, under the ‘Happenings’ heading. You will need to log in. All parents should have login passwords. if, for any reason you don’t you can write to obtain one from webmaster@tsrs.org , give them the roll numbers of your children and they will help you to log in.

      If you have any further problem clarifying the dates, please let me know.

      • Thankyou for your reply. I have looked at the calender and know the dates of the exams now.

        The calender does not give the dates of the winter break. It would be helpful to know that for travel purposes.

        Regards
        Sunita Dhir

  16. Mr Parkinson,

    Hello , my name is Sonali Pota and I am an ex parent of Tsrs Aravalli. We shifted to Chennai a few months ago. Over the last six months I have made a few observations about my daughter’s (who is now in class 1) progress. While the english, maths , hindi and such are fine, its the general inqusitiveness and awareness about things like dinosaurs, space, animals, solar system etc is what i wish she had more of. My son (now in class 5 ) at her age was excited about everything from volcanoes to vultures and from dinosaurs to dalmatians. This made me wonder as to why this difference. One of the reasons is perhaps that I spent far more time reading with my son about these things than I did with my daughter (which by the way I am making up now) when she was younger, but the other equally important reason I feel is that my son was in Shri Ram , in those wonderful years from around Upvan to Class 3. The show and tells, the book week, the science week, the clay class, yoga (both of which my daughter misses badly) and all the other things which the school did kept him interested in the world around him.
    I think the primary curriculum followed by the Shri Ram School is exceptional and how I wish my daughter too could enjoy those years at Tsrs. But with that not being the case , I felt like wishing the Tsrs family all the very best and thanking, once again, all the teachers and the staff who made my children’s stay at the school so enjoyable.

    Regards

    Sonali

  17. Thank you so much for those positive sentiments – which have been passed on the Principal and Vice Principal of Junior School.

    The school is incredibly fortunate that during its life it has been able to accumulate such a strong, talented and dedicated bunch of educators committed to do their best for children every day.

    My hope is that your daughter will find the personal interests that light the spark of interest for her.

  18. Sir,
    First of all I would like to convey my thanks to the teachers of both primary and middle school who have helped to ease the transition of my children who joined the school this session.
    I read your reply on the H1N1 preparedness in school . In addition to the efforts being made by the school I have a few suggestions in this regard as the spread has become quite rapid.
    1 assemblies and other group gatherings should be avoided as they are places for easy transmission of infection.
    2 sanatising gels to be placed in all rooms where different groups have activities and children should sanatise their hands after touching keyboards etc
    3 lunch room gathering can be avoided by serving foil packed lunches in the class rooms
    4 also a staggered dispersal time will help prevent crowding in foyer
    Minimising contact between groups should make it easier to identify and quarantine children
    I hope you will find the suggestions useful
    Regards,
    DBaksi

    • Hello,

      First of all very pleased to hear that your children have settled so well in to school.

      As regards your proposals I am thankful to you, and will certainly feed these in to the meetings and processes as we are continually reappraising our responses to this challenge to ensure that we calibrate our actions effectively. Regarding the lunch, it was looked at, but could not really prove viable for close to 3,600 children across all campuses – especially with the possibility that this scenario could be with us for many months yet.

      Staggered dispersals have been looked in to in the past, especially keeping in mind the congestion issues and car numbers. However, such a high proportion of children are siblings that it actually had the effect of keeping cars and people around for longer. One child would be collected and then the parent would wait with them until the second child was free to go.

      By and large we have found parents are not choosing to use face masks as a precaution for their children. I believe the few who have experimented with them found that both they and their children found them most uncomfortable within a very short time. This can only be made worse by the current humid conditions. That said, you might want to consider asking your children to put masks on just for the dispersal time from the classroom until they leave the campus if you are concerned about the time passing through the foyer.

      As if all this is not enough, we will soon be in to the critical danger time for malaria and dengue. I hope very much that the focus on swine flu will not cause people to neglect all the usual precautions against these highly deadly risks.

      I am sure between us we will continue to explore many possibilities to respond to this challenge.

  19. I am compelled to write after watching the heart-wrenching scenes on tv about the Delhi school stampede this morning. I personally pick up my son from school everyday and see the unrulyness in the stairwells, in the lobby and outside Hamilton Court gate at dispersal hour. Grownups, no matter whether educated parents or maids/drivers jostle for passage on both sides instead of sticking to the left and moving in an orderly fashion. Adding to this anxious throng are children who learn from who else, but their parents, teachers and peers.

    How can we expect our children to behave impeccably when we ourselves fall short of even the minimum standards of community living and conduct? This is a the scene on normal days. What shall happen when something like what happened in the Delhi school today occurs at Shri Ram? I shudder to even imagine…

    Please Sir, hold a special class, send circulars, or even have a mock drill but do prepare the children to behave responsibly in the event of such an emergency.

    Geetha

  20. Dear Mark

    I stumbled on your blog while surfing through websites of various schools including Shri Ram School – Aravali during my quest for a nursery admission. I have been reading your blog for quite some time now and with each post I read, I am actually drawn to your blog more and more often. I myself am a blogger but primarily an amateur one and am not as frequent on posting as you are. I particularly like your posts because you always have some words of wisdom on parenting. And who better to trust than someone who has 3,500 kids of all ages in front of his eyes all the time.

    I am a mother myself. I have a three year old daughter who is as active, naughty and demanding as any kid can be. (Actually I am looking for admission in Nursery for her this year only – the reason why I visited the school website.) At the same time, I am a Chartered Accountant and a professional working in a very reputed Management Consultancy and Accounting firm in Gurgaon. I often feel the pressure of balancing both facets of my life. I do find some refreshing articles putting light on child psychology on your blog which has helped me in dealing with my child’s growing up days even better.

    I particularly liked and connected to your recent post on ‘Tough Love’. I was actually impressed by the message tree concept and feel such trees and graffiti boards should be used more often to act as wake-up alarms for parents who don’t have time to stop by and smell the flowers. I have been trying to balance my professional demands with my responsibilities as a parent and would like to share some of my experiences with my little one in support of your viewpoints.

    I have always believed in ‘Tough Love’ and have tried to maintain some discipline at home. But sometime back, due to sudden personal tragedy at home we were forced to send my daughter to a day care for a few hours after playschool. Although this was just a temporary arrangement for two-and-a-half months, it made me realise what a tremendous difference it made to my daughter. She is by nature a very outgoing, friendly and an extrovert child and is usually very talkative. In fact, it is usually difficult for me to match her energy levels and I at times end my day overwhelmed by this. But, her stint in the day care made her change. Although she did talk fondly of her friends in the day care, she started becoming introvert and quieter than before. She also became very obedient and would agree to everything I say as long as it keeps me smiling and I kept hugging and kissing her during the time we spent together at the day-end. She would also become scared of small things and would start crying on trivial matters. Everyday she would ask me whether I’ll come and pick her up at the day care. (My best guess is she felt I was disserting her.) I became very scared. I discussed the problem with her teacher at playschool and together we started to work on it. The teacher was extra nice and caring to my daughter in school while I took care to do an early shift in office and come back by 3.00 to 4.00 pm to pick her up at the day care and spend extra time with her. Then as soon as the family problems were sorted out, we took her out of the day care.

    With more love, hugs and kisses, she has become normal again but now I am facing some difficulty in resorting back to my ‘Tough Love’ style of parenting. She is more resistant to discipline calls now. I have adopted the policy not to give in to her demands most of the times and she is settling down slowly. But, as you said, she has her own ways of demanding my attention. Whenever, we go to a movie together, she has a knack of asking me to take her to the washroom. In fact, on our last outing to the cinema hall, I visited the washroom at least 15-20 times with her. This really amuses me. And, when you mentioned that kids expect their parents to say “NO” to their unreasonable demands, I smiled at myself and thought that I wouldn’t say “NO” to these requests anyway because she gets more of my attention once we step outside the hall and walk to the washroom together.

    So much for my stories. On an ending note, I would say that I really like your blog and visit it very frequently. In fact, your blog gives me a peek into your viewpoint and your idea of responsible schooling and I deeply wish my daughter gets selected for the Shri Ram School – Aravali complex. By God’s grace, if this happens, she’ll be fortunate to actually enjoy the pleasure of wonderful schooling at the same time developing a wonderful personality. Amen.

    Cordially
    Nishtha Khurana

  21. I have infact found a very nice book which i feel all parents should go throu titled “How to bring up a child” by Vijay published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram Publications

  22. Dear Mr Mark,
    Hi,
    I have recently started reading your blog and am very impressed. I had heard a lot about Shriram schools from my friends and colleagues but never got to know anything negative about it. Fortunately my son could get admission in class III this year. He is little shy and introvert, i was quite anxious and worried for the change regarding new place and environment but after knowing you and meeting the clss teacher,, is has really calmed down my anxiety levels. I am a doctor by profession and mother of two(one younger two yr old daughter). I am happy and excited to be a part of tsrs family and I am sure my son is going to have a wonderful time ahead.

    Thanks and regards,
    Amrita

  23. I have 3 children that I am interested in sending to your school. We currently are in the US and are moving to Delhi in August. Could somebody please contact me? I have sent to the Gurgaon school but havent heard back yet.
    Much appreciated!
    Nisha.

    • I understand the academic secretary, Nithya Kalyani has already responded to your enquiry/ application received yesterday morning.

      She and the othe campus secretaries will take you through the process, but i will caution wait lists are long and seats are filled ‘as tight as a drum’.

  24. I have been trying to contact you since long but as such there has been no response.
    My cute little wonder Shreeya is at every point having something or the other for her Shri Ram uncle. Though she has joined nursery in DPS still she is waiting for Shri Ram uncle. On the very first day when she refused to go DPS we had to say her that her shri ram uncle will be happy and take her if she smiles and goes without crying and beleive me it has not been a single day that she has cried but yes she has a question everyday Ma are you telling my Uncle shri ram. Yesterday she got stars in her notebook for excelllent work which she initially used to say ma these are for you but now the same are for her SHri Ram uncle .
    The way this little mind is working and thinking for Shri Ram really scares me because certainly its not a toy or anything to which i have a hold and i can get her .All that i can do is Sir really beg of you for my child to please help out because though i try too hard but seeing my little one in this state really worries me a lot.
    Mita

  25. Hi,
    I recently shifted to Gurgaon and was very happy to get my son’s admission in class III at Shriram, Aravali. On the other side, I was worried for my 2 yrs old daughter for her admission in the playschool. One day I came to know about Shriram early years at Sohna Road , very close to my residence and truly speaking I thanked God for listening to my prayers. Now It is so disheartening and strange to know that there is no transport facility for the small kids and no surity even in the future. Me and my husband we both are doctors and can’t think of any option. Can anyone explain why no transport for such a prestigious school???????

    Amrita

  26. Hello Mr Parkinson,
    I have a query;
    How much should I (as a parent) be involved in the day to day “studying” of my 12 year old son?
    My own childhood experience says that children should to be responsible for their marks; I am their to solve his specific problems or guide him how to go about studying but sitting down with him everyday and going through his physics, chemistry, biology seems more of spoon feeding than anything else.
    Its as if I want him to do well rather than he himself wanting that.
    I was very comfortable with my belief till last year. My son Ishaan (was with tsrs aravali till class 4) was doing well in tests till class 5.
    Now he is with a school called Sishya in Chennai, he is in class 6th, they now have term exams instead of tests. While he is still managing to be in the same range as he was in his earlier classes , I see a distinct fall.
    Should I let him fall and in the process (hopefully) learn? or should the fear in me, that he will lower the bar rather than raise the effort , take over and study with him?
    Regards
    Sonali

    • Dear Sonali

      Without knowing Ishaan, your relationship with him, or the school, I wouldn’t want to propose anything absolutely.

      However, a few general thoughts. When mothers see their sons heading in to the Middle School years the gulf of understanding can open up like a chasm, especially when they start remembering their own school years. It’s not just a generation thing, but a gender thing too – they’re just wired differently.

      Of course, it can be pretty disconcerting when your 11 year old announces that as he’s going to be a rock guitarist he really doesn’t have to worry too much about “school stuff”. The important thing in such circumstances is to calibrate the response (and of course to avoid the temptation, as massive as it might be) to ridicule this idea.

      Two points on the positive side;
      a) Relevance is one of the biggest issues for children of this age when looking at their studies. If your child is struggling to see the relevance it can help to talk it through to help them find the relevance. If you can’t find the relevance either, try enlisting the teacher’s help. If the teacher also can’t tell you the relevance more than (it’s in the syllabus), you might need to think about backing your son’s view.
      b) Link to a bigger purpose – if the child can see a link between something they’re doing and something they have as a goal in life, then getting the motivation can be that much easier.

      I would recommend as well worth a read, for you and Ishaan, Sean Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens”
      (Incidentally, we’re trying to fix dates for Sean to come to Delhi within the next 6 months of so, but that’s a secret!!)

    • Hi Sonali,
      I wanted to share my thoughts on your above query. My kid is 11+ and I am going through the same conundrum. Till grade 4 home-tutoring was only on need basis except for Hindi in which he is being tutored regularly by a teacher as he is from a non-hindi speaking home.Then, last year and a half I was caught up in difficult personal circumstances and had to leave all in the hands of the outside teacher but now I am streamlining his routine so that except for Hindi and perhaps Maths he has none to rely on but himself, his subject teachers and his mum, when needed.

      Going back to my childhood, my mum stopped tutoring me completely, I mean completely, once I reached grade 5. Consequently from there on, I fell repeatedly ie. failed in class tests in Maths quite regularly and not so regularly in subjects like Science and Geography(!!!) but I always managed to get up on my feet again and again, and sailed through the finals. True test of my independent mettle came out when I studied for my Grade 12 boards from the confines of the hospital room where my mum was admitted for cancer treatment. I did manage a decent Ist class score to pursue my passion in English major and subsequent admission into one of the country’s reputed, I tier business schools.

      When I have doubts creeping in I take comfort in my own experience and narrate my story to my child to inspire and goad him into responsible academic behaviour. Not that my child is making things easier for me but then, sweet is the victory that is earned through sweat, isn’t it? 🙂

      Shisya, I have heard from another erstwhile Shri parent is no Shri Ram school. She too was very disappointed with the school despite it being the most coveted school in Chennai. The kid had tests almost everyday and homework to boot. Corporal punishment was not unrare though I understand it was mild in nature. Anyway,to an elementary school kid it is not the severity of the beating that pains but just the very act of public humiliation. The parents were much relieved when their short sojourn in the southern city came to an end earlier than expected.

      Let go…he may fall, but he also shall learn to get up and walk away with the accolades. Only, make sure that you extend your helping hands when he falls and, to let him hold your hands in his, when he walks tall.
      Geetha

  27. I am passing on your query to Shri Educare Limited so that they can respond. However, it is important that I stress that the Early Years Centre, Sohna Road is not a part of The Shri Ram School.

  28. Sir
    I could see your answers to all questions .Sir please answer to my little Shreeya ….

    Regards
    Mita

  29. Thank you so much for your response and how I wish I was in Delhi!

    Sonali

  30. How has the IB program been going? I’m interested in knowing how many students take their diplomas to other countries for college.

    • The school’s IB programme is now 5 years old and well established. The vast majority of the students choosing the programme choose to go overseas for their further studies, with the majority going to UK and USA.

  31. I have a query. I live in Nepal and I know that there many parents who will start looking for schools for their children in March/April 2011. Why? Because there seems to be no system of education here and therefore no quality. Every year scores of parents send their children to India to study and the kids ages vary from 8 years to 18.
    Is there any way TSRS can make itself known to Nepali parents seeking admissions for their children? The best time would be Feb/March 2011.
    Another question, what sort of living arrangements do you make for your overseas students? Do you have hostels?

    • Regrettably, our school receives about 10 times as many applications as we have seats available, just from our local community.

      As a result, we don’t promote or market the school (inside or outside our catchment area). Nor do we run a hostel. Instead, we put all our focus on providing the best possible education we can as a day school. All the non-Indian students we have live in Delhi or Gurgaon with their own families.

      I’ve never visited Nepal, but I’m aware that the education system has suffered from neglect in the past. However, I had heard that a number of schools were offering Cambridge International Examination syllabi and getting some support from them with teacher development, training etc. I acknowledge, though, that these things take time.

  32. Dear Mr. Parkinson,

    I am a Non Resident Indian, planning to shift back to New Delhi over the next few months. Having gone through your BLOG, and also the web site of TSRS, It seems a dream that there is a school in New Delhi, that is in perfect sync with my wife and my thoughts on how we would like our son Yash to be brought up (He is presently attending KG, in The American International School, Dhaka). My wife and I are of the strong belief that a child’s education should primarily help in imbibing a clear understanding of correct morals and ethics, and help build self confidence. With these three tools, any child is bound to surpass his or her potential. I feel this is what TSRS strives to achieve.

    Although I am not sure if Yash would be fortunate enough to be accepted by TSRS, I have signed up to get regular feeds from your BLOG, which i find most informative. I sincerely hope that the exchange of information on your BLOG is not only for Parents affiliated with TSRS.

    Yours Sincerely
    Abhijit Bagchi

    • Hello Mr Bagchi, Regarding your specific query on admissions, I’m mailing you separately.

      As far as I’m concerned on the great WWW everything is available to whoever finds some use in it. So, you’re welcome here – particularly if you have your own thoughts and observations you’d like to share on anything written here. Regards

  33. Dear Mr Parkinson,

    Had the opportunity to view your session ‘Education to change the world’ on TED. Must tell you that i found your thoughts to be profound & hugely relevant. Clearly we are living in a vastly different world from what existed two decades or so ago. I recently had an opportunity to interact with a number of students at IIM (L) who were interested in Summer Training project in the organisation I work with. I was deeply concerned to see that some of brightest brains in the country were so ‘Patterned and hard wired’ in their orientation towards subject of life. I screened some 100 + profiles and each one appeared no different in content from the next and when i met some of them the experience was nearly the same.

    I feel that our education system needs to open up opportunities for children not to focus on becoming money minting machines after some 21 years of cramming but to enable children dream, create and deliver their own vision of success. For that , amongst the other things you mentioned in the seminar, i believe we need to develop real teachers, mentors and coaches. Just a question at this point – How much time, resources and efforts are spent by schools on their teachers? More importantly how much of the same is spent on recruiting teachers?

    • Hi Rakesh,

      Thanks for the feedback. As regards teachers and their training you’ve touched on an interesting point. I’ve talked in a number of articles on this blog in different contexts about the lack of leadership and management training for those who ’emerge’ from classrooms in to Vice Principal and ultimately Principal positions. So, there’s the first big problem there, both in terms of the lack of professional development at the top in schools impacting upon the way schools are run, but also setting the trend as regards teachers.

      Ironically, in principle, things are ‘in place’ for the government schools. Most states run DIETS as centres for ongoing, in-service training for teachers. However, regrettably, in practice, most of these are full of apathetic, demotivated employees who don’t deliver training of a very good standard. The process is treated more as ‘going through the motions’.

      Turning to the private sector, most schools are still ‘stand alone’ and operate in ways that are often quite mistrustful of other local schools – fears of headhunting better teachers, competition for admissions etc.

      Sadly, in vast numbers of schools there is little or no professional development going on. I’ve frequently heard sentiments suggesting that there’s not much point because if you train them, they just leave for more money offered by a new school coming up in the area. Also, the old paradigm that saw teacher as ‘deliverer’ of knowledge didn’t place very high importance on professional development anyway – provided the teacher knows the syllabus material – that’s OK !!

      We are seeing ‘corporate’ entry in to education. Whilst many may worry about some ‘negative’ aspects of this development, I believe it should usher in a more professional approach to professional development of personnel. These organisations will be able to leverage their multiple schools to access high quality trainers. However, in my experience there will still be hurdles – “what do i need to attend this for? I’ve been teaching for 12 years!” type perceptions will take some time to work through the system!

  34. Dear Sir,
    The education system in India is such that a child is just used to cramming there is no wide development as such and there are just few schools like Shri Ram which has a perfect education system but seats are so limited in Shri Ram that its more than a year now and i have been looking forward to get my little one admitted in your school .
    She had been to US this time during her common wealth holidays there she joined some child activity sessions and to my surprize she has learnt a few things which perhaps a child could not learn so easily and what i could make out is that she has a vision which needs a proper education which could widen her imaginations and creations .
    Sir please consider her case .

  35. Sounds as ironical as paradoxical. Schools don’t invest in teachers for the fear of losing them. Teachers are expected to mould the students in the new age without having requisite skills to even relate to the challenges involved. Is it really the issue of school’s inhibitions or lack of ‘Orientation’ or lack of ‘Vision’. Best organisations in the world invest significantly higher amounts that their peers in their employees’ development and that has a big role to play in what these organisations have achieved. That should apply to schools as well.

    You spoke of change required in the education system earlier. This will require revolutionary focus and commitment to change at highest levels. What according to you then Mr Parkinson makes for a superior school given the context of overall system they all operate in? In other words how can schools differentiate themselves and how do parents who are serious about providing holistic education to their child decide on which school is best suited to prepare him/her in most meaningful way for life.

    These days you have the ‘Corporate Schools’, ‘Chain of schools’ and you have ‘ 4-5 star schools’ offering more glamour on their brochures than content / intent. We also see some aggressive marketing strategies schools are adopting to promote their ‘brand’ and attract enrollments from unsuspecting parents. There is very little real information available other than academic results experience or word of mouth to make such a critical decision.

  36. Dear Mr. Parkinson,

    Congratulations on the success of the SEN Department and EIS offered by The Shri Ram School. The excellent work done by the educators is highly appreciated. There are very few schools who are sensitive to these needs and who make a conscious effort to fill this void in our education system. I have a query, there are children that need the assistance of Special Educators while pursuing their regular education, be it in the form of speech and language therapy or occupational therapy. These children need to manage regular school along with therapy and therefore are unable to attend programs like those offered by the EIS. My question is: how does the school work to help fulfill the requirements of these children. Are there educators who can help guide parents facing this dilemma. I am very keen to receive guidance in this regard. Hope you will oblige.

    Warm Regards,
    Jasmeet Sahai

  37. Hi Mark

    First of all congratulations for maintaining a blog which can connect you and your school with people in a quick and transparent manner ! I am a blogger myself albeit on a different topic ( http://anuraggupta.blogspot.com )

    We have applied this year for our twins’ admissions to the Shri Ram school and were very disappointed by the criteria the school has decided for the admissions. Effectively if a child does not have alumni parents or does not have a sibling already studying at your school, she can at best get 45 max points since 55 are given for the above 2 critetria.

    This will ensure that people like us have no chance in getting through and also denies an opportunity to your school for getting a diverse set of children.

    I hope you will look into this personally. I will like to hear your thoughts on this.

    Thanks

    Anurag Gupta

    • Thanks for the appreciation for the blog.

      As regards the admissions criteria, what’s the old adage – “You can’t please all the people all the time.” As child sensitive caring educators we believe it has a very negative effect on the quality of family life if children are separated over different schools – different commutes, continual comparisons and competitiveness etc.

      Especially with the challenges of commuting in Delhi and NCR these days, separate commutes, different school timings etc. can be really stressful for parents – and what’s stressful for parents is bad for the quality of family life!

      In addition, we believe that successful education relies on a ‘three way handshake’ between the child, the school and the family. With siblings we can build on an existing, known parent relationship.

      As I said, there’s no system that’s going to please everyone and many reasons for the current scenario in education in India to displease many – but those are the confines we work in.

      • Hi Mark

        Thanks for the prompt response and I fully understand the constraints and confines mentioned by you. I also appreciate the point of view very well elucidated by you.

        Whilst I am in total agreement over accommodating siblings, for the reasons well pointed out by you & giving alumni their due, a couple of schools have done this very well by having different buckets for admission and different number of seats for each of these buckets.

        For eg. EWS – 25% allocation, Rest 75%. Out of this 75% – x% can be given to Alumni & Siblings, y% for management & staff whilst other general bucket can be given 75% minus x% minus y%. Even if this meant 5-10-20 seats for the non alumni non sibling there would have been at least some hope for parents like us.

        I am sure enough wisdom has gone into deciding the break-up of seats etc by the school, but just that this method does not make it very inclusive 🙂 hope you understand our point of view.

        Honestly before these guidelines came in, with our background (Mother – a leading interior designer, Father an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad and living within 10 KMs of the school), we actually thought we have a very good chance of getting through.

        With the amazing work done by the Shri Ram school and your mission, vision & values, it was a school that was on top of our list, but alas some things don’t seem to be 🙂 and we have no choice but to accept certain things as they are..

        It is great to be in touch with you and be able to get a window into your views & thoughts. I will keep visiting your blog.

  38. Hi Mark ,

    Firstly I would like to appreciate you personally for being a person of non-Indian origin who is helping India to shape it future by help it children .I went through your blog and found it quite interesting about the way you have maintained the spirit of communication between the teacher ,parents & student . I am aspiring parent ,who wants his daughter to get admitted into Shri Ram Gurgaon .I just want to understand what hold Shri Ram gurgaon to hold nursery admission ,when all other school of Gurgaon are done with admissions along with Delhi Shri ram itself .In one of your post you have written that Gurgaon Shri ram is waiting for Haryana government directive ,so I just want to understand what directives were followed by other Gurgaon schools .I thought that RTE guideline were applicable universally to entire NCR .
    None the less are there any timeline for Gurgaon Shri Ram for nursery admission .Also any clue about the the admission procedure like random draw or point based system etc .

    -regards
    Apurva

  39. Hi Mark ,

    Firstly I would like to appreciate you personally for being a person although of non-Indian origin yet helping India to shape it future by help it children .I went through your blog and found it quite interesting about the way you have maintained the spirit of communication between the teacher ,parents & student . I am aspiring parent ,who wants his daughter to get admitted into Shri Ram Gurgaon .I just want to understand what hold Shri Ram Gurgaon to hold nursery admission ,when all other school of Gurgaon are done with admissions along with Delhi Shri ram itself .In one of your post you have written that Gurgaon Shri ram is waiting for Haryana government directive ,so I just want to understand what directives were followed by other Gurgaon schools .I thought that RTE guideline were applicable universally to entire NCR .Are there any timeline for Gurgaon Shri Ram for nursery admission .Also any clue about the the admission procedure like random draw or point based system etc .

    -regards
    Apurva

  40. Hi Mark ,

    I would like to appreciate you personally for being a person although of non-Indian origin yet helping India to shape it future by help it children .I went through your blog and found it quite interesting about the way you have maintained the spirit of communication between the teacher ,parents & student . I am aspiring parent ,who wants his daughter to get admitted into Shri Ram Gurgaon .I just want to understand what hold Shri Ram Gurgaon to hold nursery admission ,when all other school of Gurgaon are done with admissions along with Delhi Shri ram itself .In one of your post you have written that Gurgaon Shri ram is waiting for Haryana government directive ,so I just want to understand what directives were followed by other Gurgaon schools .I thought that RTE guideline were applicable universally to entire NCR .Are there any timeline for Gurgaon Shri Ram for nursery admission .Also any clue about the the admission procedure like random draw or point based system etc .Any tentative date ?

    -regards
    Apurva

  41. Dear Mark,

    This is a soon ‘to be’ Shri Ram parent.Our daughter Taarini Mullick has been blessed by being on the Pravesh Vatika admission list.
    I have been a regular visitor to your blog for the past 4 months and am looking forward to being an involved parent with TSRS VV campus(to being with :))

    Best Regards,
    Priyanandini Mullick

  42. I am the tall man at yesterday’s CR meeting.
    An NGO I am allied to is severely critical of the RTE, so I look forward to following your advocacy in this area.
    BTW, there is a typo in the 2nd para of the introduction, ‘About’ – it reads child-cewntric.

    • Thanks for spotting that – have corrected.

      Oh, and thanks for being one of the rare ‘active men’ on the PSA. As I wrote for a PSA magazine article a couple of years ago – ‘Dads Matter Too’.

  43. I won’t make a habit of blog-stalking you, but just noted that your blog has a link to my article, “All Piglets are equal”. So you already know where I stand on this issue.

    Mohit

    • As was mentioned at the meeting, there’s a Forum being created for concerned parents (across Unaided Private Schools) to collectively voice their issues and ensure that their voice gets heard in the debate.

      There will be a meeting at Vasant Vihar campus on Friday 25th February at 3.00pm.

      • Have a meeting scheduled for 25th. If I can shift it, will be at VV at 3.

  44. Dear Sir,

    I went through ‘The Shriram Millennium School’s site (http://www.theshrirammillenniumschool.org/Schools/TSMS/Updates.aspx). It refers that it belongs to Shriram Schools group. But on Sriram School’s site (http://www.theshrirammillenniumschool.org/Schools/TSMS/Updates.aspx) or your blog, I don’t see any reference to Noida school. I’m very impressed with the value system of Shriram School and personally believe in same. So I’m considering Noida school for my 6 yr old. It would be great if you could share some info. regarding it.

    Appreciate your response.

    Thanks
    Neelima.

    • Apology for typo for Shriram school’s site. Site that I wanted to mentioned is http://www.tsrs.org/portal/Default.aspx).

      thanks
      Neelima

    • The Shri Ram Millenium School, Noida has been set up under a company called Shri Educare Ltd. Whilst this has the same promoters (the Bharat Ram family), adopts the same philosophy and pedagogical approach to education there is no more direct connection between The Shri Ram Schools and TSMS Noida than that.

      • Dear Sir,
        This is in reference to your above response. Just wanted to know that when you say that “there is no more direct connection between The Shri Ram Schools and TSMS Noida than that.” ,does it mean that the teachers,their training,the curriculum etc will not be under the supervision of The Shri Ram School authorities?

        Thanks and regards,

        Nikita..

      • What i essentially meant was that they are parts of separate legal entities. So, for example, there are no automatic rights of transfer for children between the schools, they set their own fee schedules etc. Their Managing Committee is quite separate.

        Nothing in TSMS is under “the supervision” of TSRS. That said, I did stress that the aim is very much that the schools follow the same philosophy and pedagogical approaches. That can only really be achieved effectively and properly when the bulk of the training and professional input comes from TSRS. In order to reinforce that a handful of TSRS teachers moved there (mainly because their homes were closer to Noida) and joined TSMS.

        I hope that clarifies.

  45. Hi Mark ,

    Thankx for list for successful candidate for PV-Aravali .Will there be second list ? .Also it will be to publish the list of unsuccessful candidates along with the points secured .

    thankx
    Apurva

  46. Dear Mark,
    Does TSRS have any quota for the foreigners/citizens of other country living in NCR

    • No. We see no justification for such an arrangement. I sincerely hope we will never reach the day when private unaided schools are forced to operate according to any kinds of quotas. The day that happens will be the day private school education becomes a pawn in vote-bank politics.

  47. Hi Mark,
    I am new to the forum, however, after having gone through the admission process this year, don’t you feel your previous comments are somewhat dichotomous to the existing policy undertaken for Siblings, Management, Staff & Underprivileged (All of these have a quota totaling to almost 75% of the seats).
    Unfortunately for us, we could not secure a seat for our daughter this year, despite of her outstanding record at her primary school and despite of our genuine efforts; however my sister could secure a seat for her son under a management quota despite lower scores and attributed to not so genuine method.
    Don’t you feel, that despite your best vision & efforts, there are genuine instances of favourism, that could still mar the efficacy of the system?
    Thanks & Regards,
    Prayag Bhatia
    +91 9711005505

    • I feel a little saddened, to be honest, that an Institute of the calibre and reputation of The Shri Ram School is being made to justify its admission policies. Where the law says that 25% of seats must be reserved for EWS that is a government policy mandate and outside the school’s control (though is the subject of a case currently being heard in the Supreme Court).

      As far as the issue of siblings and staff children – no quotas as such, but compassion in school’s policies. I talked this morning with a father of two children in our school. After the first joined, the second could not be accommodated for 3 months. He talked of the challenges their family had with different timings, travel routes, security etc. It put great strain on their whole family.

      Management quota is the token permission given to the promoters who invest Crores of their own money in to creating schools, to give seats to those they wish to select.

      We know we can’t please all, but I assure you we still sleep at night.

      • Hi Mark,

        Thank you for your prompt response.

        By no means, I intend to “question” the process as I am a great admirer of the School and fully trust the management’s judgement. Further, it is my greatest belief that every child is special and reservations are created to do justice to various groups – Parents, Staff, Management, Underpriviledged all alike.

        However, what has sincerely saddened me that a non-deserving / non-management candidate is able to secure seat under a management quota as an act of favour! I certainly do not intend to question the system / policy with respect to the Management especially as it is due to there efforts that the foundations of such an institute are laid.

        However, wouldnt you agree that the same should “ideally” be limited to the management and there direct dependants / relations, rather than to any other distant contacts. I would certainly like to understand your perspective on this.

        Cheers!
        Prayag

  48. Hi Mark,

    Futher to add to my previous comment, please note, that nothing will change my overall opinion about the School and despite of all the minor hurdlesl I shall continue to strive towards my goal of trying my level best to have my child, a part of this remarkable institution, whose value systems I admire having closely seen through some of your pupil.

    Cheers!
    Prayag

  49. I am writing with a complaint and to lodge an objection. I think it is highly inappropriate for TSRS to televise the India-Pakistan match on its premises. It should not be the task of the school to add to the amount of jingoistic nationalism that we already have in this country. As it is, our children imbibe a variety of prejudices and a school, of all institutions, should not be the place to encourage it. I am extremely disappointed with the school management.

    Sanjay Srivastava

    • Dear Sanjay
      I’m happy to respond to your comment on this in open forum. When the students first approached on this last Friday I must be honest and say my first inclination was to decline the request.

      Apart from anything else, I had fears that matched yours expressed here. I have lived and worked in India long enough to know that a cricket match between India and Pakistan can so often be about far more than cricket.

      However, within the school community we believe it’s important to listen to the students – to hear them out. So, I did. They could tell you – I grilled them, with plenty of skepticism. Ultimately, they were ready to agree to whatever conditions we felt appropriate to keep the matter within reasonable bounds;
      a) It was restricted to Classes X, XI and XII,
      b) No students who have passed out already (they have nothing to lose, plain and simple!),
      c) All students were to understand that if they watched the game in school ‘pride in one’s heritage/ nation must be just that and not spill over in to any negativity or bad feeling towards ‘the other’ country. We expect that our students balance their loyalty to their own country with a broader understanding that they are also citizens of the world,
      d) The student council gave their own word that they would take responsibility for the event.

      I was away for a few days. Since getting back I’ve received a full report confirming that all went well and the screening was enjoyed in a healthy spirit by those who attended. I’ve also heard that many thousands of youngsters watched the game in malls where neither they or their peers held them to higher personal standards of decency and good behaviour. sadly, I’ve also heard there were parties with drink arranged in bars by school-going students (not of TSRS to my knowledge).

      So, in the circumstances I believe what we did was reasoned and balanced. Ultimately, our students reminded us that if we want trust we must give trust. I am proud that, as a community, we were able to do this in an appropriate way and that they did themselves proud.

  50. Dear Mark Parkinson,

    I am relocating from Bangalore to Gurgaon and have heard nothing but the highest about Shri Ram school. I personally visited the school several times, only to find it is a fortress for outsiders. I wanted to explain my circumstances for relocation and our desire to get our son admission in nursery in Shri Ram, but I’ve been told to apply and wait for a callback from the school. I am sure this is a good sign for you as a school director, but as a parent I feel disappointed that my decision to relocate has begun to affect him. I thought his diversity being a north indian from south india would help his case. I was very proud of what I had achieved so far – I speak at international conferences, I am one of the prime contributors to an operating system called Linux (very few people in India have done it), I’ve built next generation systems and software that companies like google and others use world wide. My inability to find an opening for my son at your school humbles me.

    I’ve filled out the admission form in the hope that someone will see it and we will get a callback 🙂

  51. Dear Mr Parkinson – I wanted to draw your attention to this article from the New York Times (28th April 2011):
    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/18/a-better-way-to-teach-math/
    and the link it recommends:
    http://www.jumpmath.org/publications.htm
    Fortunately, my son (Cl IV Vasant Vihar) is very keen on Math, and has had an extraordinary set of teachers, but I loved the way the article talks about ‘breaking down’ the problem.
    Anamika

    • Firstly, my apologies for the delay in approving your note and responding. I’ve been traveling a lot.

      Thanks for drawing my attention to this really interesting article which i hadn’t seen. I also wasn’t familiar with the Jump programme. However, I would suggest that at least some of the benefits that are highlighted in that programme are also amongst those that we’re seeing after adopting the Mindspark programme a year ago at Aravali.

      I’m pleased to say we’re in the final stages of bringing the programme to Vasant Vihar and Phase III campuses as well. The fact that the questions adapt to the child’s current level and then slowly stretch them from that point makes it very motivational. At Aravali it has pretty much eliminated the need for remedial Maths classes in the Junior School. Even after just a few months we saw a big step up in performance of the children in the Asset Maths test.

  52. Dear Mark,

    I saw the WSJ article on the RTE and the difficulties of integrating EWS kids into school. One of the issues seems to be the English language.

    I would like to volunteer help in teaching VV kids English as a Second language. (I don’t have a huge amount of experience in teaching, but I have trained in the area, as part of the process of setting up the Delhi NCR operations of inlingua, now Delhi’s leading English teaching operation.)

    I think I could volunteer upto 3 hours a week, and promise to make up with enthusiasm and a love for children that which I lack by way of qualifications and experience.

    Mohit

  53. Mr Parkinson,

    A video from TED (must watch for any educator)

    John Hunter – World Peace in aboard game (world peace and 4th graders)

    regards
    Garima
    (m/o Niharika, class 6A)

  54. Dear Mr Parkinson,
    Thanks for your workshop programme conducted for us at The sanskar Valley, Bhopal today. It was a great experience for all of us to be part of your shared experiences for education development and new trends effecting 21st century.
    With best wishes…
    Rajiv Kohli
    rajivkohli100@gmail.com
    08889810564

    • Dear Rajiv

      My pleasure. I had a great time visiting the school. There’s clearly a great spirit for growth and being the very best the school can be. In such circumstances it’s always a lot of fun to get the chance to interact and share ideas.

      Please keep in touch (and I hope, enjoy the blog) and share your thoughts on any of the articles or pieces I share here.

  55. Dear Mr. Parkinson,

    I attended Sean Covey’s workshop organized by the school some time back and I found the workshop interesting and insightful. Since then I can see the school making an effort to imbibe the 7 habits and find it wonderful that the children are being exposed to these practices.

    I was wondering if these behaviors are in any way being brought into the classrooms at the elementary level through activities or other practices. Also, it would be great if you could share your thoughts on what can be done to help younger children inculcate these habits at home.

    With regards
    Sonia

    • Whilst a number of teachers have started to embed their learnings in the classroom, we do believe we can go much further than this. We are looking at how we can formulate our plans to move on. I can’t be 100% sure, but would like to think that would include some workshops to share the details of what we do with parents, so that the learning can be reinforced at home.

      There’s no doubt that if the child receives similar messages at home and in school this plays a powerful role in shaping their character and helping them to have a strong, congruent self-image and identity.

      • Thanks for the quick response.

        It would be great to see the school take the basic principles of the Seven Habits a few steps further. I definitely look forward to being a part of any workshops that may be organized.

        Hope to hear about it soon!

        With regards
        Sonia

      • Hi

        Being a parent of a 12 yr old, I am constantly looking at ways to motivate my daughter. And Stephen R Covey’s “Leader in me” inspires us to initiate the 7 Habbits in our children…A must read for educators….Dont know how much it would help, but I have a poster for each of the 7 habits put up on my daughter’s cupboard, as a project we did few summers ago.

        Warm regards
        Shalini Jindal

  56. Sir,
    I am a die hard keen fan ,admirer and much more of your school for past 2 years. For the school i know like me there must be thousands of parents mailing you for the childs admission. In the past 2 years i could certainly not make out what the school is exactly looking for because as far as parents education is concerned myself mother is a Chartered Accountant and childs father is a Software engg . We live in close proximity near the school. Our child is a US citizen .My child is excellent rather outstanding in everything .She is having her own vision and i feel like she needs a brush to paint her kind of world. She has been performing extraordinarily brilliant ever since she was born and is a blessing to us by God. But still i am waiting in queue hoping that the tight drum of the school will accomodate my dear little Shreeya . Hope someday will come for my little one too….
    waiting
    Mita

  57. Hello sir,

    Firstly I would like to congratulate you for TSRS being recognized as the top most day school of India.
    I am a resident of Ghaziabad and would like my daughter to be admitted to your school on Noida Expressway (Shri Ram Millennium).

    It would be very kind of you to guide me over –

    Whether TSMS (Noida) is being managed by Shriram or Millennium. As I have noticed in the case of DPS – there are many schools but only the few core schools stand apart from the rest franchise schools. So my confusion/ doubts are whether this school TSMS will be at par with other TSRS schools.

    Sir we request you to kindly resolve our query with regard to TSMS.

    Thanks,
    Nitin Agarwal

    • Hello, firstly my apologies for the delay in ‘approving’ your post here and responding.

      I would like to share my own personal view that franchising is not an effective model for creating effective schools, though acknowledge that others are entitled to their views. I just personally don’t think it creates compatible objectives with the best time horizons for institution building.

      The TSMS, Noida is run very much as a partnership between Educomp (Millenium) and Shri Educare Limited (SEL). I have explained in response to an earlier query that SEL is a company promoted by the same family as are responsible for The Shri Ram Schools. TSMS has an executive committee with representatives from both organisations.

      Mrs Manju Bharat Ram and all the people involved in The Shri Ram Schools, past and present, over the last 23 years have worked extremely hard to build them to where they are now. TSMS represents the family’s desire and commitment to bring such an education to more children outside the original catchment area.

    • Hi Nitin,
      How is school now. Are u satisfy with school ? means TSMS noida

  58. Dear Sir,

    It is with immense pleasure to write to you especially after reading about your school in “The Times of India” that Sri Ram School is one of the best schools in the country. Congratulations to you & to your staff for this big achievement. I am sure there is a lot of commitment and hard work involved behind this success.
    Sir, I am very keen to know about the admission procedures in your school as I am migrating from Canada to India in a few months. I will be visiting India in December 2011 for a month. I am anxious to know about the process. My children are 6 and 3. We live in Toronto since 2005 and now permanently moving to India due to personal reasons. It would be much appreciated if you could assist me in the admission process.
    Hoping to have a positive reply from you.
    Thanks & regards,

    Sincerely,
    Sonia Butalia

    • Hello, my apologies for the delay in spotting your comment that was awaiting ‘approval’ and response.

      The admissions processes are best explained through direct approach to the individual campuses. Your 3 year old might well be too young for admission in 2012-13 academic year, so you would need to check that with the academic secretary. Depending on whether you’re going to be located in Delhi or Gurgaon you might decide to approach the Junior School at Vasant Vihar, or Aravali or Bhondsi. Details are on the school website: http://www.tsrs.org/

      I suggest you can arrange to visit the campus during your December visit.

  59. Dear Mr. Parkinson,

    I pick up the pen again (its like an annual ritual) , had written earlier when my daughter joined in class 4 about the tremendous hand holding and nurturing she got from her class teacher Ms. Sonia Pudota, then in class 5 when she could become the house captain for Himgiri house – I remember you praising her emotional strength on this blog and personally to her. Her class teachers in grade 5 and 6 have been some of the best teachers I have come across (Ms. Anjali and Ms. Maya Nadkarni) – hardly a coincidence, I would like to think. All in all, an eventful, learning and satisfying journey for her.

    I write today just to bring to your notice that the children who transition from class 5 to 6 have a lot to handle. Whilst I give them the struggle of transitioning from junior to school to senior school, the deluge of activities (better more than less!) etc. , I think the shortening of the academic year does exert a pressure on the best of them. The expectations from the children do rise, however they do need some tools or some more empowerment to handle the inundation of academic and extra activities.

    On my part, as a parent, I am supporting Niharika by helping her make weekly calendars, set her priorities, manage her own expectations from herself to do well in everything etc.However, in case the change of school year can not be relooked at, it might be useful for the children (of grade 6) to have some workshops etc time to time about calendar setting, time management at their level, or any similar skills which would help them tide over this confidently and smoothly.

    Thank you
    regards
    Garima (m/o Niharika)

    • So nice to see you back on the blog, after all these months.

      You have raised a very interesting point. When we changed the academic year we wanted to do it for the whole school. Unfortunately, whilst the Haryana authorities were supportive of the innovation, Delhi were not. Logistically, it would have been impossible for us to run our two Junior Schools with different calendars.

      So, we ideated a lot and came up with the current system. The major reasons were;

      a) Children don’t always take Class IX and XI very seriously, treating these as the ‘take a rest’ years in between the board exam years. This way, children get a longer X and XII for focus on their board studies,
      b) Across the school, starting the new academic year in April children have just got in to gear and got going when the summer holidays arrive. In July it’s like they have to start all over again. For the Senior School, starting in January gives much more effective, usable periods for study over the year as a whole,
      c) We needed a transition between the different academic years of Junior and Senior and concluded the early March start served the purpose.

      Children have always felt a ‘shift’ when moving from class V to VI. When we moved to this arrangement and since a lot of care has gone in to balancing the syllabus across the years. Also, in the last year we’ve worked to minimise the number of special activities for class V in January and February, so that their time is well spent before they make the transition.

      The bigger change for children in Class VI is weekly tests, in fact testing in a meaningful way. It does require the students to exercise self-discipline, to be organised and consistent in their effort and work. We are far happier with this consistent effort than the ‘feast and famine’ approach that half yearly exams used to bring. Also, particularly in the first cycle we’re using those tests in a more formative way.

      There is no doubt that the ICSE is a ‘big syllabus’ that requires a lot of ground to be covered in the middle school years in order to get the children to where they need to be by Class IX and X. You’re right that effective time management skills then become imperative and it’s right that we all help them to get priorities clear and to get those skills in place. We do work with students on effective study techniques, note taking, mind mapping etc.

      If you feel that there are some specific areas where you would like the school to help, please talk about those directly with Niharika’s Class Teacher, Sudha Maam or Harish Sir.

      • Thank you Mr. Parkinson. The fact that you take time to respond and so astutely strengthens our faith in the school each time. What you say seems logical. And now that you mention it I do realise that tests are a large part of the transition. And I do agree with the habits tests inculcate. Having said that, personally the marks in the tests don’t mean much as long as the child remains curious and challenged. Again I became aware of the larger chunk of syllabus in the middle years through your response, so it does set some perspective for me.

        I did discuss this with Niharika’s class teacher (Ms. Maya Nadkarni) and like always I am sure of her action on any suggestion that I have brought up constructively.

        Once again, thank you for responding in detail and with alacrity.
        regards
        Garima

      • Dear Mr. Parkinson.,

        Its always a pleasure to post on your blog – gives another connection with the school and the fact that I can write openly and receive response from you in the same spirit adds to the feeling.

        I have been writing time and again from when my daughter joined in class 4 to when she became the Himgiri house captain n class 5. Also, have had a great experience with the class teachers whose contribution to Niharika’s opening up, imbibing confidence and striving for that one extra mile; has been commendable.

        Last session, Her class teacher Maya gave herself unsparingly to the class and expected enough from children (including Niharika) for them to be able to start a class newsletter which was widely appreciated.

        Other than displaying team work and leadership skills, I think in the past 3 years Niharika has honed her writing skills tremendously. If you have the time , please go through http://blossomingauthor.blogspot.com/ , where I have preserved some of her writings. The writers workshop in the junior school is absolutely a delight .(With one of her classmates Niharika is now writing Harry Potter 8 :)…says a lot both about confidence and writing per se)

        I write this time with all the above feedback and a request for a meeting because Niharika would soon be leaving the school to join a boarding school.

        It would be wonderful to meet you (even if briefly) and share with you our experience with The Shri Ram School. Please let me know if this would be possible.

        Looking forward to hearing from you.
        regards
        Garima
        m/o Niharika Class 7B

  60. Hi,
    I am a prospective parent and really want to know if there is any way to take a school tour. I know its one of the most sought after school of India, but i am sure you can understand parent’s anxieties.
    Please reply soon.
    Anu

    • Unfortunately, we have found that the numbers of people wanting tours are just too many. We feel it is important to let our children and teachers get on without distractions.

      Also, it can make our security logistics during the school day more complex.

      Generally, we find that those who are selecting our school are doing so on the basis of their awareness of our teaching methodologies, through the evidence when they interact with Shri Ram children (their overall holistic development) and the experience of other parents, rather than the infrastructure.

  61. Dear Sir,

    Just want to let you know that we visited TSRS, Aravalli yesterday for our childrens’ admissions, who are moving to Gurgaon from the Sanskaar Valley School, Bhopal. Have fulfilled the reqd formalities.

    We know that u recieve ‘n’ number of mails and messages for admissions, but would just like to let you know that we will patiently wait for our turn to come. Thanks…

    After seeing words of praises pouring in for the school and the management, i am dumbfounded and have gone blank, not knowing what to write. Hence, just a SALUTE to “U”.

  62. Dear Sir,

    I am planning to join my daughter in The sriram police public school. Sir, my queries are, Will the standard of the school be similar to the other Sriram school branches n safety of my child as it is far away from the main city? We have been applying in Aravalli campus for the last two years .Felt very happy when we got a letter to apply at TSPPS. Please guide us regarding this new school.

    • We are committed to ensure that the ethos and approach towards education will be the same at TSPPS as in the existing TSRS campuses. I can refer you to this earlier posting that I put on this blog at the time when we inaugurated the campus:

      https://markparkinson.wordpress.com/2011/07/10/the-shri-ram-police-public-school/

      In fact, since I wrote that things have become more positive, as the police are possibly going to be able to transfer a further 10 acres of space to us, giving the campus a total of 19 acres. This is far more than any of our other campuses can enjoy and will provide a great environment for the school

  63. Hello Mark,

    I am amazed to read your blog’s quite informative for responsible parents, Also, facilitate a direct channel with Director of India’s best School.

    Actually, we are moving permanently to Gurgoan by March, 2012, We are looking for the best school in the Gurgoan for our only kid, it seems there is no competitor for The Sri Ram Public School. I have seen few You Tube movies about school & impressed.

    Is the online admission for Nursery class has begun? I just found one link for Vatika School, which is for last year. http://www.tsrs.org/portal/School_vv/Vatika_Registration.aspx

    Please guide me how I can send application or apply online for nursery class.

    I has also sent a request for information at junior.aravali@tsrs.org

    Regards,
    Pushpinder S.
    Verizon Wireless

  64. Dear Sir,

    Thank you so much for the prompt response.
    I trust The Sri Ram School group totally and first of all I would like to congartulate Sri Ram School group for being awarded as one of the best school in the country.I have seen the article in “Times of India”. I can imagine how much of hard work and commitment should be behind the sucess of the school.
    As an anxious parent of a girl child I wanted to check the security of my daughter in the new campus i.e TSPPS. We are very happy and looking forward to be part of your school in coming academic year.

    • That a parent should want to be very sure about security is absolutely natural. With the combination of police personnel and private security guards we believe the campus is going to be very safe and secure.

      In all of our campuses our administration team regularly conduct safety audits and look for ways that we can make the places safer. For example, across all campuses we have a programme to instal toughened glass and/ or film covered glass particularly on internal windows, such as the glass in doors so that injuries caused by collisions can be minimalised.

      over the last couple of years we have paid a lot of attention to the way in which we balance the freedom of children to have time to interact with each other naturally and the way we supervise spaces to ensure that children’s behaviour stays within acceptable and safe bounds.

      On any specific matters parents are always welcome to discuss their concerns with the class teacher or the Principal.

  65. Seeking your guidance on Pravesh Vatika admission for my Kid, in any of the 3 TSR schools, we can settle down in the neighborhood of any of the school. We are looking a permanent school from nursery to class XII. Please help.

    • I can’t really give you any direct advice in this matter. With Pravesh vatika admission points systems including an important element for proximity of residence to the campus you will need to apply to the campus closest to where you choose to live.

      Information on the admission criteria will be published quite soon on the school website.

  66. I had applied for my son this year but with no luck. I was a transfer case from Bangalore to Gurgaon. What is the best way to get admission without being unfair to other people who apply? Does the school consider points for relocation? The response I got from the admission co-ordinator for lack of admission was that it took her daughter two years to get in, hence I should not expect anything lesser.

  67. Dear Mr Parkinson,

    It is my pleasure to write on you blog. We share the same passion of writing blog and create some impact on Society, leveraging the wide reach of WWW (my blog http://www.lifeheed.com). But it is your passion towards education that prompted me to write on this forum. It is not an easy decision to quit the private banking job and follow the passion, that too far away from your homeland. In this endeavor, you have touched many lives and produced great talents in India.

    I have read your blogs on SEN and wanted to share something which is not very easy to share on a public forum in a country like India. My kid too is lagging behind his peer group and has some special needs to move ahead – academically, socially and intellectually. It is an uphill task for us as parents to cope with the situation and bail out of this situation. Numerous therapies and ABA have some impacts on his growth. He has been a very agile guy till one and a half year, suddenly his growth does not seem to be catching up the pace. Your blog posts have been really motivating and paves way to hundreds of parents like me.

    Keep blogging more and create awareness in the society to help children with special needs. Society can impact as much as parents and educators can do!

  68. Dear Mark,
    I have been trying to meet you with regard to admission of my daughter in Upvaan. I have been trying to meet the concerned in the Aravali school for the last one year or so.
    Is it possible to pl guide me & help me out.

    ….take this opportunity to also wish you Merry Xmas

    I am available at 9871495965 & manoj.gurnani@nsn.com

    • Demand for seats in Aravali is massively outstripping demand. I’m afraid this makes it impossible to meet all who wish to get seats simply to tell you the same as my staff will have already been telling you. Our turnover is well below 2% per annum. I’m sure you would understand that with so few children leaving our scope to accommodate new admissions is very small, especially as first priority, in our opinion, should always be to the wards of staff and siblings.

      I’m sure that our academic secretary will have informed you about The Shri Ram Police Public School that opened in July 2011. There are vacancies at that campus for both 2011-12 and 2012-13.

  69. Dear Mark,
    I have been trying to meet you with regard to admission of my daughter in Upvaan. I have been trying to meet the concerned in the Aravali school for the last one year or so.
    Is it possible to pl guide me & help me out.
    ….take this opportunity to also wish you Merry Xmas
    I am available at 9871495965 & manoj.gurnani@nsn.com

  70. Dear Sir,

    Wishing you a very Happy and prosperous new year 2012.
    Sir, I recently visited the TSPPS campus. My only worry is regarding the electric pole and wires in the play ground. Isn’t it dangerous to the kids? Hope it can be removed or suggest the school does not use that particular area as it may be quite dangerous for the kids.

    • Ever since we took up the campus both we and the police have been very mindful of this one (admittedly not insignificant) shortcoming in the campus. Initially, there was a plan explored to move it across so that it had less impact on the site, though this wasn’t ideal. Then, we were pleased that there was a significant ruling that in all cases where such lines exist over a school campus they are to be moved underground.

      This has given both TSRS and the DG extra ability to push for this matter to be addressed. In the meantime, there isn’t perceived to be any risk, to my knowledge, from passing under such lines. The risk comes from spending time in the vicinity. Therefore, we have been assuming the worst in the zoning planning of the campus for the longer term, so that the area immediately under the line would be left as landscaped natural areas, for a certain distance either side, with all activity in other areas.

      Our concern over this is also mirrored in concerns that we have repeatedly raised about telecommunication aerials/ towers in close proximity to school campuses. There are such towers that have been placed too close for our comfort to both our phase III and Aravali campuses. We have raised the concerns and sought to have them removed, at least to a safe distance.

  71. Dear Mr. Parkinson,

    I have two children in the Junior School at TSRS Aravali. I came across an interesting article in the Washington Post. It would be great if you could take some time to read it and share your perspective.

    “Schools’ about-face on self-esteem”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education

    Look forward to hearing your thoughts.

    With regards
    Sonia

    • Thanks so much for sharing this article, particularly as I had missed it. I share the views expressed very strongly. I even get quite disturbed when hearing any educators referring to a bright or not so bright child, with all the implications of intelligence as being innate that this implies (worse, something each person just has to live with). This goes against all the new evidence from neuroscientific exploration enabled through new technology in the last few years.

      I first read Alfie Kohn around 7 years ago and found that what he said made a great deal of sense and accorded with what I had observed first hand, both as an educator and a parent. Incidentally, he’s also very interesting to read on the subject of homework (will keep that for another blog post). I’ve also been reading about Carol Dweck’s work over the last couple of years.

      Within school we are currently re-evaluating the annual awards that are presented to students in middle and senior school at the Founders Day functions. Currently, most of those awards are for academic achievement on absolute basis – above 80%, above 90% etc. There are awards given for effort, progress and lateral thinking, but my own investigations with students revealed that these are seen as a ‘booby prize’ for those incapable of achieving a REAL prize, so as to stop them getting demotivated. We want that effort and progress are the most important things, that from wherever a student is starting, they are moving forward. These things are not easy as they involve challenging norms that people have accepted without question.

      I get concerned when I see children whose self-identity has become wound up in being told how clever they are, how intelligent and how easily they excel in all things academic. When they come up against anything that does challenge them or they find difficult they have no tools to deal with it. Most often their natural reaction is to reject, to claim the teacher is bad or find some other way to get the needed protection for their misguided ego.

      I am all in favour of teaching children overtly about how their minds work and also about how study and learning techniques can be shaped to fit with the mind’s working. Too often we see students blindly perpetuating time worn methods that were used when i was in school (and that don’t work well for many people). To take the fancy term – metacognition – thinking about my thinking is one of the most valuable skills for the advanced development of the mind.

      I believe these issues lie at the very heart of what we do as educators and the professional skills we apply to enable learning. I’m reminded of the Hippocratic Oath applicable to the medical profession – “Do no harm”. maybe as educators and parents we need something similar. our interventions and influences in the lives of our children should be positive ones and we must strive as a minimum to ensure they do no harm and don’t leave the child worse off.

  72. Hi Mark,
    Good to know we have a common banking exposure. Having been a Corporate Trainer for most part of my career & coming from a pedigree of teaching family, I am able to relate to your conviction and commitment to surfacing & confronting faulty/limiting beleifs and replacing them with positive healthy and enriching beliefs about their abilities would help realize full potential. I echo your thoughts as this is borne out in Benjamin Singer’s Scholarly book – “Future Focussed Role Image” which was reasearch based proves that “IQ & Family Background are not the key ingredients of success. As per the research Low performing students had no sense of their future and their focus was purely sort term. They believed their ability to share their future was in the hands of fate. They were personally powerless. Whereas high performing students had more sense of control over theri future. They thought in time horizons of 5 to 10 yeras out. Then he goes on to establish that the key differntiator was a profound & positive vision of the future.”
    I wish to suggest that if you can lay your hands on the video “Power of Vision” which in distributed by M/s Multi Media HRD Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai (MMHRD). It remains as the most powerful video I have seen out of nearly 100 odd Corporate Training Videos and I am sure it wouldresonate with you.
    I am a parent seeking admission for my daughter Meera Zeta Selvadoray and in the process was exploring the Shri Ram Website and stumbled upon your blog. Immaterial of my daughter’s admission I would be delighted to “make a difference” to our future – Children & Teachers who shape the students and if you wish I could come over an run a workshop for your teachers/ senior students using this video.
    Wishing you the very best in shaping young minds to think about, dream about and ultimately envision their futures and in the process realize true potential and achieve excellence.
    Cheers,
    Ruben

  73. Dear Mr. Parkinson,

    This is with reference to the recent circular regarding the introduction of air-conditioned buses to transport our wards to and fro. Unfortunately, for some inexplicable reason, the survey conducted around 7 months ago may have missed our attention. Whilst school transport is extremely necessary for us as parents without a second option at our disposal, it does present a significant increase in transportation cost with a larger percentage increase of almost 70% over the present charges on parents of wards travelling shorter distances, bringing me to another point where wards travelling shorter distances within 0-9 km range in Gurgaon may not be able to derive a significant benefit from this facility.

    I would like to request you and senior management of The Shri Ram School to relook at the charges with the objective of mitigating the cost to the extent possible as per the distance travelled.

    Sincerely,

    Faiz Uddin

    • The rates and likely charges for the A/C buses quoted in the letter were those arrived at by our administration team after considerable negotiation.

      It was because of the rate of increase in charges that a parental survey is being carried out. If by your phrase ‘mitigating the cost’ you mean somehow subsidizing the bus fees out of school fees and revenues then we would have to think very carefully about the implications in terms of what expenditures might have to be cut.

  74. Hello Mr. Parkinson

    We live in Noida and my 4 years old son is selected to be admitted in TSRS Millennium Noida. I think the fees is at very high side but again I think the child needs his best education/values at very beginning. My son is very shy. I hope he nurtured well at TSRS and become a confident person in life. can you please share your inputs?

    • The Shri Ram Millenium School, Noida (and Faridabad) are promoted by the same family as TSRS, but are not otherwise part of our group or under my Directorship.

      However, my team and i have provided considerable support in the setting up of these schools to ensure that they share similar values and ethos.

      If you have any questions about the school or how your child will settle there I would advise you to discuss your concerns directly with the Principal or Vice Principal. If you contact them, I’m sure they will be glad to assist you.

  75. Hi Mark,

    I enjoyed reading your response to the article ‘Schools’ about-face on self-esteem’. I absolutely agree with you on rewarding children for making progress and not on marks alone.

    In continuation to that line of thought, I am sharing another insightful article on one teacher’s method of encouraging children and the results it has brought in her classroom.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/13/test-scores-can-improve-w_n_1343020.html?ref=mostpopular

    Hope you find this interesting.

    With regards
    Sonia

  76. Hi Mr.Parkinson,
    I have just relocated from Mumbai and have taken admission for my son in Upavan in TSPPS for the upcoming academic year 2012-13. I recently visited the school and was very impressed with vast amount of space in the campus, especially since I come from Mumbai, where very few schools have even basic playgrounds due to lack of space in the city. I also had a productive meeting with the principal who was kind enough to take time out and answer all our queries as I am very anxious for the smooth transition of my son (new city, new school, new friends etc).
    Could you please give us an idea about by when would the students be able to move into the proposed new facility? I am sure that the quality of education that my son will receive will be un-matched but I would also want him to enjoy the international standard infrastructure at the earliest.
    Regards,
    Rashmi

    • It’s a little early yet to set exact timelines on this, as so many aspects are not directly in our hands. I don’t need to tell you that here in India construction projects are challenging. Nevertheless, I can tell you that the planning is going well.

      This is about planning a campus for the next 30-40 years, so we are not taking knee-jerk decisions. The planning process is looking at the best in school infrastructure elsewhere, the school’s vision for education at TSPPS etc. before extrapolating thew kind of construction required to support all those objectives.

      • Hi mark, I have heard that the aravali school is under construction adding facilities, can you please tell what is being added, is a swimming pool also in pipeline? What is the timeline of this expansion?
        Anita

      • Hello,
        my apologies for delay in responding. I can confirm that addition of new facilities at TSRS Aravali is ongoing. Already, a further floor was added to the main building to provide a suite of top class science labs. Then, one new building, Shri Aks was constructed, providing two floors of dining halls and kitchens and 2 floors of activity rooms, labs etc. for the Junior School. Now, the Multi Purpose Hall is nearing completion – likely to come in to use around December 2012.

        One later part of the project includes the addition of a 5 floor Learning Resource Centre. However, i can confirm that the plans do not include a swimming pool. The water challenges of Gurgaon make that a very difficult decision!

      • Could u also update on construction status of the aravali campus. Does it also have its own swimming pool now?

  77. Dear Mr. Parkinson:

    I just discovered your blog, and I wish I had done so earlier. It is very informative, and I am reading with great interest the wealth of information that is contained there.

    First of all, my wife and I would like to thank you and the faculty/administration at The Shri Ram School at Aravalli for the profoundly positive effect that going to TSRS has had on our daughter. She has just finished Class 1, and we are delighted at how much our daughter has grown in the approximately two years she has been there. Just one example: the other day we were discussing what happened to the dinosaurs, and my daughter started discussing the “loss of habitat.” At 6 years of age, that’s pretty impressive and far more than I knew at that age!

    Second, we are deeply appreciative of the teachers at TSRS. My daughter could not stop talking about Geetanjali Ma’am and Priya Ma’am last year and Sheetal Ma’am this year. That is a real testament to the bonds that the teachers share with the students. Please extend our deepest thanks to each of our daughter’s teachers, named and unnamed, who were/are great role models.

    We really only have glowing things to say about TSRS, and most of those comments are repeated above. So there is no need to say anything but “well done” and that we are genuinely appreciative.

    The only criticism (and it is a very small one) that I have of TSRS-Aravalli is the physical approach into the campus from the main road. On Friday, when I was going to the parent-teacher meeting, I noticed that the driveway into the campus is relatively narrow given the bus traffic. Is there any way to provide a raised sidewalk, a subway from the street under the driveway reaching the TSRS main gates, or a “foot overbridge” to make pedestrian traffic a bit safer during school drop-off and pick-up times? It may not be possible, but I wanted to see.

    In any event, we cannot emphasize more how happy we are with The Shri Ram School. Thank you and all the teachers and staff for a first-rate organization.

    Very best regards,
    Paku Khan

  78. Greetings to you! It was very interesting to see the parents interaction with the Mr Markparkinson….Sir well I don’t know you..but I have heard a great deal of your performance and school changes that has come in….This is one of the great achievement , for the society on the whole who are the benefits. My best wishes to you for such strong commitments,quality, transparency with the teachers as well as the staff.Keep it up.

  79. A friend of mine sent me this link which I thought I shall share with you and the readers here.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jessicahagy/2012/06/26/20-ways-to-find-your-calling/

  80. Nice. Thanks for sharing the link.

  81. Dear Mark Parkinson,
    The International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) is coordinated by the Indian Maritime Foundation (IMF) located in Pune, on behalf of Ocean Conservancy, Washington.
    Ocean Conservancy, Washington (OC) has been at the forefront of protection of our oceans. To quote from their website http://www.oceanconservancy.org
    “We continue our legacy of nearly 40 years today as we translate threats into sound, practical policies that protect our ocean and improve our lives. We recognize that real leadership means real cooperation — between governments, businesses, scientists, policymakers, conservation organizations, and citizen advocates. With your help, we’ll continue to create concrete solutions that lead to lasting change — so we can all experience the ocean for generations to come.”
    Needless to say the cleaning up beaches applies equally to lakes, streams, and rivers, whose waters eventually reach the ocean.

    For the past 11 years the Indian Maritime Foundation (IMF) of which I am a Council Member, has been conducting cleanups (called “International Coastal Cleanup”) all over India, from Andaman Ils to Junagad. Last year we had 26,038 volunteers at 125 sites/locations, collecting 170 tons of debris, and covering 5,900 Km.

    As the all-India Coordinator, more than increasing the number of volunteers, it is my endeavor to have the cleanup done at more sites, because in doing so we spread greater awareness among the public, of the imperative need to keep our water bodies free of pollution. School and college students form the bulk of the volunteers, and we also have NGOs , Rotary Clubs, and Corporates participating. I am attaching an excel file to give you an idea of the participants last year. I am also attaching some information from OC, including their ICC2011 report.
    To give you an idea of how simple the whole process is, we had a 2nd Year engineering student in BITS Goa, (with no previous idea about it) volunteer to organize a cleanup on Majorda beach. He did it successfully and had 96 faculty and staff participating. Similarly, a 11th Standard student in Udaipur organised the cleanup at two sites with 77 volunteers.

    Till date, we have unfortunately not been able to reach out to schools and colleges in the North, because to do so we need a person who would be willing to spread the word and put us in touch with Principals of schools and colleges, NGOs and other environment-conscious organizations.
    I learnt from a friend that The Sri Ram Group of schools are very environment conscious, and that under your guidance the schools in the Group have a keen interest in protecting our environment.
    I am writing to ask if you could support us by asking volunteers from among the students to participate in a cleanup of any water body close to the schools.
    I look forward to your positive feedback.
    Warm regards,
    Mukund

    Cdr. Mukund Lele(Retd)
    International Coastal Cleanup Coordinator
    & Council Member, Indian Maritime Foundation
    http://www.indianmaritimefoundation.org
    Pune
    Cell 9767029752
    Home Office 020-2566 6505

    IMPORTANT: please mark a Cc: of your response to

    • Dear Commander Lele

      I found your message very thought provoking. Thank you so much for making contact. I have passed on all the details to the Principals and Environment Coordinators of the various Shri Ram School campuses to see how best they might carry the idea forward. If they need to, they will be in direct contact with you.

      Thanks again

      Mark Parkinson

  82. Dear Mark,
    Many thanks for your response. I look forward to hearing from your Heads of schools. It would be wonderful to have the Sri Ram Group on board.
    Regards,
    Mukund

  83. Is it true that you are leaving the post of director at the shri ram schools…..where will you be joining after this….can you please continue with your blog site…..I love it and havent seen any such informative/educative website ever…..! Being a UWCSEA mom before this….I was really impressed with your blog and hence decided to put my daughter here at moulsari!

    • So sorry, Shalini. I’ve just realised I missed replying to your message. Yes, it was indeed true that I was moving on from TSRS – all explanation is up above on this page.

      And, yes, the blog has become such a way of life for me now and i will continue to write as long as people read and benefit.

  84. Dear Mr. Parkinson,

    My older son is about to turn three, and we are looking at various schools in Delhi where he could apply. I have been keenly following your blog, and am very impressed with the education philosophy that you (and others) have put to work at Shri ram. I had some specific questions, that I was hoping you could provide some perspective on:

    (1) I notice that you are now working towards a school that will follow the CBSE curriculum. In your view, what are the strengths and weaknesses of CBSE compared to ICSE?

    (2) Shri ram school is one of the few schools that prefers children to be 3.5 before they join at the entry level class. Given that many countries in the world delay formal schooling till even later, do you think 3+ is too young to send children to school. And if a child is January or February born, they will be 10-11 months younger than their classmates. What effect can this have on confidence etc., as there is bound to be some disparity in fine motor skills etc.

    (3) How do parents find out information about schools. It is such an important decision, and yet, there is such little information accessible on each of the schools, and how they differ from each other. For example, Vasant Valley, Shri ram and Sanskriti are regarded as some of the best schools in Delhi – but I am sure there are major differences in educative technique etc. How do parents find out about things like this. I notice that Shri ram has an elected student council which is very different from a nominated set of student leaders. This is normally something that happens in college, and I am sure its introduction at the school level must engender a sense of responsibility. Why does Shri ram prefer this system?

    Look forward to your views.

    Aman

    • Your comment raises such important questions that i hope you don’t mind that I’ve written it up as a full post on the main section of the blog. Buried here at the end of a long list of comments on ‘About’, very few people would see it.

      Mark

      • Many thanks for your very helpful response. Sometimes, I am tempted to think that I am over-thinking things, and parenting should be natural. I doubt parents of the earlier generation spent so much time thinking about these decisions, in the way I see many parents do now. A part of me believes that time and affection is what a parent must give a child, and the rest somehow magically follows without much conscious effort. But then, there are clearly moments when I am confused about how I should deal with my son – when I want to induce certain behaviour (or usually, induce him to give up certain behaviour). Should he be scolded, should he be reasoned with, should he be ignored, etc.? They are very different parental responses, and it is difficult to believe that the choice between those very different responses is somewhat inconsequential. I have just started reading Alfie Kohn’s Unconditional Parenting, which is an interesting perspective.

        Ideally, as a parent, one wants a school that has a certain philosophy or approach on these matters – and that has at least given this some thought. I will certainly look up the website you suggested for parental perspectives.

        Many thanks again for your views, particularly on the age issue – very helpful for us to hear that as we go about making these big decisions. All the best with your new project.

        Aman

  85. Sir i am a regular follower of your blog and a follower of yours. Would like to certainly meet you some day please give me an appointment .

  86. Congratulations on your appointment as Executive Director and Head of School for Kunskapsskolan Eduventures,
    Wish you good luck.
    Regards,
    Cdr. Lele

  87. Really impressed with ur thought process Mr Parkinson

  88. Hello there, You’ve done an excellent job. I will definitely digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I am sure they will be benefited from this web site.

  89. Thanks for sharing your blog, I would request formation on how to discipline a 2 and 1/2 year old and letting them know what is right from wrong.

  90. In the world we are today children are exposed to so many sources of information both positive and negative and with the right guidance we can shape their future to be the best and independent reproductive peopl

  91. In the world we are today children are exposed to so many sources of information both positive and negative and with the right guidance we can shape their future to be the best and independent reproductive people

  92. Hello,

    My name is Nancy and I run the content department here at PhDinspecialEducation.com. My team has just published a really useful resource titled: 101 Noteworthy Sites on Asperger’s and the Autism Spectrum. To view our article follow the link provided: http://phdinspecialeducation.com/autism-aspergers/

    Our mission at PhDinspecialEducation.com is to help educate people on the needs of children and adults enrolled in special needs education classes. We want to share our resource with you because your readers may benefit from it, and we believe it would make great content for your site.

    Feel free to share the list with your readers. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks and have a wonderful day.

    Regards,

    Nancy Klein
    Content Editor
    PhDinspecialEducation.com
    nancy@phdinspecialeducation.com

    • Sir, Thank you for making available this link. It shall be very useful and relevant to a close friend whose child is autistic and who also runs an educational centre for autistic and other differently abled children in Delhi. Ms. Nancy Klein, thank you for your wonderful work and wish you the very best.

      Geetha

  93. Hello Mark,

    I have been sending my daughter to school for almost 2.5 yrs now. She first started school when she was 2.5. At that age all I wanted from a school was a safe, caring and hygienic environment. What I found was that though the environment was safe and very hygienic, the caring part was missing. Then we moved to US and I sent my daughter to The Goddard School. Again I found the same thing. Strange, it was US, people were supposed to be more caring but then I moved her to a preschool run by a church. The effect on my daughter was magical. Though the premises were not so swanky there was ample care and love around. I realized later that the difference was that since the fee was not that high, there was high parent involvement. In case a asst. teacher was out sick, a parent would be called in to help. Parents drove and chaperoned children to school trips. Mothers took turns sending snacks for kids each day and would be a mystery reader in class each day. Parents knew each other and all the children in the class. It became an extended family. The class teacher told me that because my daughter could read, all parents worked with their children because they knew it could be done at that age and this was one of the classes in which most children could read. Similar examples in other fields. But this was a preschool, I wonder if this model can be replicated as kids grow.

    Moving back to India I visited almost all schools in Gurgaon and chose to send my daughter to kunskapsskolan. I completely agree with their approach towards education. The only thing I am concerned about is whether their educators, who have themselves grown learned in traditional ways to teaching, be able to cope with this shift in approach. Would they be able to hand over the control to the children. Even as grown people I see that its difficult for bosses to pass on control to subordinates, how would this work between teachers and kids of grade 1/2?

    Thanks,
    Gitanjali

    • Dear Gitanjali

      My apologies for the delay in responding to your message. Somehow, I missed it when you originally posted.

      Firstly, i think you’re absolutely right to highlight the value and benefit that comes when parents are allowed/ encouraged to be active participants in the life of the school.

      In my view, that shouldn’t be linked to the fee level of the school. It has often saddened me when i saw schools that treated parents as an inconvenience and a hindrance. I’m all for high quality parent involvement and a climate within which parents get to know each other. As the children grow up parents can achieve so much together with setting expectations for children and ensuring the right balance of freedom to grow and a ‘safety net’ around them.

      Child-centricity or ‘caring’ are sometimes issues of individual educators/ teachers, but more often down to school culture and leadership. People shouldn’t mistake ‘caring’ for being soft on children’s accountability or focus on learning. A highly empathic school culture encourages a sense of caring and community, collaboration and cooperation throughout the school. Not only do teachers treat children well, but children treat each other better too.

      Incidentally, i’m working on some material for this blog on the important topic of empathy.

      Turning to the indian scenario and Kunskaps, I’m sure you’ll understand if I prefer not to make direct comment on any particular school, especially considering my past association. That said, you are right to a degree that where we seek to reform and do innovative things in Indian education we are asking teachers to be change makers in a system of which they are products (and frequently quite succesful products when it comes to paper qualifications). In such scenarios the recruitment methods become important, as do the clarity of vision of leadership. Ultimately, a traditional dogmatic teacher with no wish to change should know that he/ she would be uncomfortable and would not fit in with that particular school. Then, the school works to coach and support teachers in their professional development to make the changes they want.

      For any of us, changing habits isn’t easy. We have to be sensitive and that includes accepting that we may stumble occasionally on the way. However, if the desire for change is strong enough, the support consistent and the environment conducive, then i believe the changes can happen.

      Good luck

      Mark

  94. I guess I wanted to read about Education in the current scenario and stumbled upon your blog.I am very well acquainted with the state of affairs in Delhi and Gurgaon,having lived there for quite a while but the vision as seen by a Educationist highlights some wisdom for Parents today who are in dearth of time.

  95. Hi Mark
    I am a parent to a 3.5 years old kid. Looking for Nursery admissions in Gurgaon. With an open mind and looking for innovative teaching methods i have shortlisted 3 schools for which there are different timelines and procedures. Whilst there are schools which have established reputations while some have unique concepts. An advise on what and how to choose would be greatly appreciated.
    1. Kunskappskolan – I like the concept. Relatively new school.
    2. Shikshantar – More than a decade old. Has proven teaching methodology.
    3. Sri ram, Aravali – Reviews always rate it as numero uno.

    Thanks
    Ashish
    9910635067

  96. As a parent in Mumbai, I’ve been a long-time (but irregular) reader of your blog, and I always find something new and thought-provoking here about teaching kids and bringing them up, or just working in organisations. It’s inspiring to see you periodically moving on to new projects and endeavours. All the best and do keep sharing your thoughts and experiences!

    • Thank you so much for your kind and generous comments. Regular or irregular, all readers are very welcome 🙂

      When I started this blog I really didn’t have any idea where it was going to go. It’s heartening every day to find there are loyal and regular readers all over the world who look for ways to bring our children up and prepare them for an ever more rapidly changing world.

      As for moving on to new projects, I can safely say that my current role here in Malaysia is both the most challenging and the most exciting of my entire career. The potential for change and impact is immense and the potential for combining the best of local approaches and values with the latest education research provides daily stimulation.

      We all know the saying. I feel like I live it every day – “many miles to go before I sleep!”

  97. Heartiest congratulations to you on your new project!
    I happen to meet you twice and I can say that I am glad that Idid…. My ward goes to shri ram school, now in grade 3…the school is prospering, thanks to you for playing such an important role in its growth .. But now we are moving down to South.. Bangalore is the place….. And it’s so confusing to decide on a school when you are new to a place…. Reviews on internet are of no much help.. Here again I would like to seek your help… As an educator you can really guide me well…. You have worked with shri ram school hence you know where as a parent i stand and ur guidance will be of tremendous help
    Regards
    Ishya

    • Thanks for your feedback. Especially as I’ve now been out of the Indian school scenario for over 3 1/2 years I wouldn’t like to try to offer specific recommendations on Bangalore schools. However, I do have a couple of thoughts. Firstly, I think some online forums where parents exchange ideas can be a useful starting point to make your short list of 5 – 6 schools you want to look at in more detail.

      Next, i would suggest you try to talk to parents in the organisation you’re transferring to, especially where you feel you have shared views on what’s important/ what matters in education. I believe that the leadership team of a school is a vital part of what makes the school culture. Therefore, make sure that you get some chance to interact with at least one or two members of the leadership team. This gives you the chance to understand what’s important to them – their ideological approaches to education and also their congruence with the espoused vision and mission. It’s also useful to look for clues as to how happy the leadership team are (and therefore how stable for the future!)

      I would strongly suggest that, if the school permits, you visit on a school day so that you see the school in full operational mode. (I know this was something that we didn’t permit at TSRS – on which I had mixed feelings) Whilst walking around the campus, trust your instincts. Does it feel like a happy, warm place where empathy is emphasised. Is there evidence that the school is careful about teacher selections and pays serious attention to the ongoing professional development of faculty.

      I know the search for the right school for your child can be daunting. However, Bangalore, like Gurgaon, has seen a lot of competition in recent years. This is likely to have raised standards and made schools very sensitive to the needs of parents and children. Competition does breed inproved standards. I wish you every success.

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