School Leaders Summit 2012

Event Date: 
Wednesday, 5 December, 2012
Event Venue: 
Silver Oak, India Habitat Centre
New Delhi, India

5th December 2012- The one-day event brought together  175 budget private school leaders, school owners and heads of affordable school associations from across India and educational policy experts from across the world to share best practices and offered a platform to understand opportunities and innovative practices in education to improve the quality of schooling and student performance. The summit saw a representation from cross section of stakeholders such as investors, financial institutions, thought leaders, education service providers, principals of affordable school, proprietors and association heads.

Arghya Banerjee, the founder of The Levelfield School, and award winning K12 School that seeks to make a world-class education accessible to students of tier III towns began the day. He discussed the Levelfield model, that inspite of no-frills infrastructure delivers an extremely high quality of education challenging the generally accepted myth of a correlation between physical infrastructures and learning outcomes.

Dr. Jane Hofmeyr, of the Independent School Alliance of South Africa, (ISASA) which includes almost 700 schools as its members, shared her international experiences collected over 15 years, working with such alliances across Southern Africa and North America. She argued that globally the demand for quality education is dramatically increasing and while most governments are unable to meet this demand through quality public schools, they are also unwilling to ease the regulatory environment for private schools, and especially those that operate on a low-fee model therefore necessitating alliances such as NISA.

Other key speakers included Vandana Goel, CEO Akanksha, who runs a network of budget schools in Maharastra, who discussed the importance of engaging parents to ensure better retention and learning outcomes, especially with respect to first generation school goers. Gaurav Singh, a former Teach for India Fellow, and the founder of 3.2.1 Education Foundation discussed the challenges of teaching English to first generation leaders and stressed the importance of teacher training towards effective delivery of quality education, especially in low-fee schools.

The conference was closed by Mr. R.C. Jain, President of NISA who made a passionate case for the future of NISA. He argued that both the ‘intention and policy’ of the government were wrong in their dealings with budget private schools and stressed their importance towards a new aspiring middle class that was not satisfied with the poor quality of government schools but could not afford elite private schools. He called for a greater voice to be given to NISA, as a body representing these schools and students, and for greater information sharing between budget private schools to ensure a high quality of education for all students.