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Effective teacher training makes all the difference to students’ learning outcomes

It is an acknowledged fact that no education system in the world has excelled without making a significant investment in building a cadre of quality teachers. Attention is shifting from quantity – ensuring all children are in school – to providing quality education.

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The long-neglected realm of teacher training is finally getting the attention it deserves, even if partially motivated by the threat of termination. Come August 2019, all teachers who lack the minimum qualifications mandated under the Right To Education Act, 2009, will be barred from continuing in service. That’s as far as certification goes. The real relevance of teacher training goes much deeper. It is an acknowledged fact that no education system in the world has excelled without making a significant investment in building a cadre of quality teachers. Attention is shifting from quantity – ensuring all children are in school – to providing quality education. And it is this weak link in the Indian education system that needs to be improved, sooner rather than later.

With teacher training often considered important only for procuring a job, quality invariably suffers. If teacher training is to be an ongoing process – to improve the quality of teachers, and thus of students – on whom does the onus lie for the effective training of our teachers? And what are the resources best recommended by educators to effectively train teachers? Read on for an assessment by industry leaders…

Need of the Hour

Nisha Rana, Principal, BRCM Public School, Bhiwani

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“Keeping in mind the modern pedagogy and responsibility of a teacher today, it is imperative that the teachers should have the requisite qualification to be a teacher,” says Nisha Rana, Principal, BRCM Public School, Bhiwani. “Teaching qualifications typically involve subject matter expertise, psychological awareness and classroom management. To provide teachers with the greatest chance of success, they need to have completed a teacher preparation program that provides them with knowledge, experience, and guidance. When this does not happen, we not only risk teachers leaving the profession quickly, but more importantly, we risk the education of entire classes of students. With the changing scenario, there is a lot of change in the curriculum and teaching techniques. The day-to-day innovation in technology has tremendously affected the teaching techniques and become the integral part of teaching. Students deserve the best we can offer them. We definitely want those with a natural aptitude to go into teaching, but that aptitude needs to be refined and developed through proper training. I feel the April 2019 deadline is a long-due corrective remedy and teacher training is finally getting its due.”

Shalini Nambiar, Vice President, GEMS Education

“The framing of the New Education Policy (NEP) provides us with an opportunity to review and redesign the current teacher education programmes,” affirms Shalini Nambiar, Vice President, GEMS Education. “Teachers need to be viewed as professionals who require multiple skills to do their job, and accordingly professional standards need to be built into all teacher education programmes. These programmes must focus both on building an essential knowledge base, as well as skill sets required for making a difference in the classroom. Importantly, they must locate the professional development of teachers within the larger socio-cultural, economic and political context of contemporary India. Teachers need to be made more accountable through enhanced involvement of the school management committees, recognizing the need for supportive supervision and incentives to ensure teacher performance and accountability.”

Seema Handa, Director, Eklavya School, Jalandhar

“Not just teacher training, most professions require on-going updation of knowledge and skill,” vouches Seema Handa, Director, Eklavya School, Jalandhar. “It is encouraging that finally attention is being focused on teacher training. Highly trained teachers with regular up-skilling will help the Indian education system to finally catch up with the rest of the world, somewhat like we have in the field of digital and internet technology.”

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Harpreet Randhawa, Director, VInspire Training & Consultancy Pvt Ltd

Harpreet Randhawa, Director, VInspire Training & Consultancy Pvt Ltd adds, “Teachers who do not fulfil the minimum qualifications mandated are given the appropriate opportunity to undergo upgradation of qualification along with training and skills development. With the right approach, appropriate need analysis, and fixing of timelines, teacher training will get its overdue recognition.”

Deeper Relevance

Fatema Agarkar, Co-founder, KA EduAssociates

Beyond the need for certification, teacher training has a deeper relevance. As Fatema Agarkar, Co-founder, KA EduAssociates, one of the most sought after teacher training institutes for its skill-based and customised training to cater to 21st century learning, explains it, “As a nation, we need to recognise that schools are responsible for shaping our future as these children eventually take their place in the world and will be leading decisions that may affect us economically or politically. So those shaping their world today, simply need to be highly capable of managing children and their individual needs – get them to create and ideate more so that they can think of solutions for problems that exist today. Qualifications alone do not define this – qualifications give you a base, but there is a lot of skilling required thereafter and in a sustained manner to ensure that teachers cope with a changing world and its competitive demands. So in a way, this corrective step (and I won’t get drawn into a debate of late or early because I have more pressing concerns) is one way of looking at addressing the current situation that warrants better teaching learning processes.”

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Fatema affirms that she has interacted with several teachers as part of various NGO volunteering programs, who are perhaps more inspiring than qualified and experienced teachers simply because their passion to make it simpler and decode the subject is far greater than the need to deliver facts or simply test children. “They are looking for that spark in the child and working towards it. So personally, I believe that skilling a teacher, sustained teacher training is what I am more excited about and this is with or without qualifications.”

Quality Improvement

“At the crux of the education system is the most important person – the ‘Teacher’, who is also the most neglected person in our system,” points out Shalini Nambiar. “People are spending crores to build a great school, with fancy building but the amount of funds allocated to teachers is peanuts. First and foremost to attract good quality teachers one needs to pay them well; after all, if we pay peanuts we will only get monkeys. The framing of the New Education Policy (NEP) provides us with an opportunity to review and redesign the current teacher education programmes. Teachers need to be viewed as professionals who require multiple skills to do their job, and accordingly professional standards need to be built into all teacher education programmes. These programmes must focus both on building an essential knowledge base, as well as skill sets required for making a difference in the classroom. Importantly, they must locate the professional development of teachers within the larger socio-cultural, economic and political context of contemporary India.” She believes teachers need to be made more accountable through enhanced involvement of the school management committees, recognizing the need for supportive supervision and incentives to ensure teacher performance and accountability.

Savita Venkat, Chief Development Officer, Bombay Cambridge International School

Savita Venkat, Chief Development Officer, Bombay Cambridge International School, Andheri (W), adds, “Teacher training, teacher upgradation programmes, and teacher credibility is to be tested and done periodically. We need to establish a clear cut recruitment policy with competency matrix, have an almanac for teacher training. The area of training is confirmed at the time of yearly appraisal where gap and growth can be identified and the institution organizes training and upgradation in these programmes. Having a monitoring and supervision plan in place will surely help in gathering quality teachers.”

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An Ongoing Process

R K Ranavat, Principal, Oxford International School, Rajkot

According to R K Ranavat, Principal, Oxford International School, Rajkot, the government’s NEP makes it critical to focus on teachers and teacher education to ensure quality education. “Teachers need to be made more accountable through enhanced involvement of the school management committees, recognising the need for supportive supervision and incentives to ensure teacher performance and accountability, as well as use of technology to monitor teacher attendance and curb absenteeism. New teachers have many challenges that they face each day. Teacher training helps prepare new teachers for these challenges. While teacher training and student teaching won't completely prepare new teachers for every issue they will face, it can help them feel more confident about many common problems that arise for teachers each day. Without this background, teachers might feel like failures and eventually give up,” he opines.

Anuradha Govind, Principal, J M International School, Dwarka

“It’s a teacher who builds the nation. It’s the cadre of transformational teachers who have the power to change the outlook, thought process and character of an entire generation of our young citizens and therefore it’s not just our responsibility but an inevitable necessity for us to invest in building innovative teachers, productive teaching, holistic curricula and child-centered schools,” avers Anuradha Govind, Principal, J M International School, Dwarka. “The education system of our country needs loads of accountability and tons of integrity with the vision for nurturing 21st century skills in our children. For that we need to break free of conventions and think afresh. No education system in the world has excelled without making a significant investment in building a cadre of quality teachers, is a fact. But before investing, we also need to first ensure what we understand by ‘Quality’. We must begin with understanding our aims for our children. What kind of citizens do we want to produce? To make this possible what kind of knowledge and skills should our children possess? For such 21st century knowledge and skills, what kind of curricula, learning resources and teaching-learning methods will be required? What kind of wisdom, proficiency, ability, skills, talents, personality, value-systems, and knowledge base do we need in a teacher who could be able to make all our children happily acquire all of that?  We need to keep in mind our goals and redesign our vision, education system, curricula, learning resources, learning environment, methods of teaching and assessment with a shift from ‘teaching’ to ‘learning’, from ‘marks’ to ‘excellence’, from ‘degree’ to ‘ability’, in order to ‘rectify’ this ‘weak link’ in education and develop some awesome teachers who would develop an amazingly skilled sensitive, responsible and dignified generation of 21st century global citizens.”

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Taking Onus

Anuradha Govind likens it to a bitter pill to swallow, when she maintains that most of the teacher training courses like and B.Ed, NTT and many of the institutions which offer them, are not being able to play a role bigger than offering a certification for a job. “Sadly, there is hardly any vision for anything other than some redundant text to be crammed and writing a set of stereotypical exam, which is nowhere about any kind of ‘productive’ learning, excellence or ability to be the teacher who will produce a generation of thinkers and problem solvers with all round personalities.” The truth, she says, is that most of the ‘eligible’ degree holders do not enter the education arena with an ability, intent and passion to make a difference. “Let’s admit the fact that the outlook mostly is towards ‘a job of convenience’; nowhere close to a ‘mission to transform lives’. The onus for this lies on our entire system and everyone who is a part of this machinery,” she avers. “We have been so far failing to attract the right kind of talent towards a career in teaching. We have not been able to give the teaching profession a sought after and desirable status in the minds of our people like that of engineering, medicine and many others. We, on an urgent basis, need to restructure our teacher training programmes and the constant learning, ongoing training, brain-storming, and motivation are as vital to the quality of education as is oxygen for living.” Now that is an indication of the passion needed to take onus and take it forward dynamically!

Dr Swati Popat Vats, President – Podar Education Network

Dr Swati Popat Vats, President – Podar Education Network believes it is the schools that should take on the responsibility for conducting refresher courses for teachers. “There is so much changing in global education trends that schools must ensure that their teachers are up to date with latest research and practices. In IB board accreditation process they check what trainings the staff has undergone in the last few years, similarly the other boards should make it a mandatory point in their accreditation process.”

Seema Handa avers that with the tech revolution already in place, cost and availability of tech is no longer the major issue. “India’s challenge remains its huge numbers! Pockets of excellence exist but to scale up in a vast country like India with its geographical and demographical diversity, requires both government and individual endeavor,” she points out. “Schools-Teachers-Parents are engaged in the same enterprise; that of educating young children. This triangle is duly supported by the government, non-government, public and private enterprises. So the onus lies on all of us – the government, society at large, the schools, and most importantly on the parents. As long as the parents remain focused on premium brands or infrastructure, the quality of teachers and the quality of education will continue to suffer. As soon as the focus shifts to the quality of education being imparted in a school, we shall see a major upswing in the quality of teachers and hence their teaching,” she states, adding, “At the same time, the government and policy makers need to give direction to the change being sought.”

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“As a decision maker in school, it is critical to take stock of the situation and know your strengths and challenges and create a road map ahead for what the priorities are,” maintains Fatema Agarkar. She believes that the responsibility cannot rest solely on the shoulders of the management. “Teachers must take responsibilities independently to upskill and upgrade themselves which shows commitment to your passion too. This partnership of organisation and self may get quicker results that a one sided approach and ultimately, whether you part of the management or a teacher, there is an unwritten rule in the education code of the conduct – and that is we owe it to that unassuming child to deliver content is the best and most effective way possible. Hence, it is everyone's responsibility.”

The Way Forward

Fatema Agarkar recommends “a combination of online and face to face sessions, hands-on case study discussions, exposure to an alternative industry or industries as grounds for learning how to manage time etc.” She adds, “Social media makes it so easy to partner other educators via closed and open books to get help in case you are stuck with a problem etc. Time spent in research and how to research effectively will be an important resource tool. Teachers need to be trained by experienced trainers who combine best practices and research, hands-on, implementable strategies and their own personal expertise of being in a classroom. The quality and flexibility of the trainer makes all the difference as teachers need to know how to apply the knowledge amassed in the context of their classrooms.”

As Dr Swati Popat Vats puts it, “Teachers require a minimum qualification that prepares them to teach their subject matter, prepares them about understanding children and also supports them to understand lesson and curriculum planning and implementation with different types of learners in the classroom. Also we do include special education but are our teachers really equipped to deal with all kinds of learning delays and difficulties and gifted and talented children in the class? It is time we really respected our teachers and it can be done with the following-

1.     Revamp the present B.Ed. program so that globally relevant practices like brain research, dealing with challenging behavior, life skills are all included.

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2.     Ensure that teachers undergo a refresher course every two years.

3.     Keep a minimum wage benchmark for both government and private schools.

4.     Teachers should not be allowed to take tuitions unless mandated for a child by a special educator. It is commercialization of teaching that has brought down the standards in the classroom and the respect value in parents and society for teachers.

5.     Teachers to be not used for other government related work like elections etc.

6.     Teachers to be given minimum facilities like free travel, free medical and access to computers and internet and library for their research and curriculum planning

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Harpreet Randhawa advocates a four-pronged approach – “Teachers active in the profession should undergo face to face soft skills and behavioural skills training as we do in other professions. B.Ed/ M.Ed also needs to be upgraded, and aptitude tests and assessments made mandatory. Teacher training institutes by the government should be instituted and the right people be selected to run and implement the courses. Finally, academicians should be involved to ensure the quality is maintained more than the promoters. I do understand it is the number game and a business model without doubt, but like health sector, education sector needs to be secured by the government for coming generation to produce teachers. Else we shall have robots programmed to teach and who knows an applied version of e-schooling would be developed wherein you need no school, no teacher and institutions are run remotely!”

“Access to technology can be a great equalizer,” believes Seema Handa. “With government support, linked with private enterprise, pedagogy and best practices from around the world can be adapted and implemented in the Indian context. Identifying the ground-breaking work already being done in certain pockets of India and bringing it mainstream will be another resource which can be tapped. We must tap into India’s huge reservoir of traditional wisdom and value-based education system, and reinvent the present education system, making it relevant in the 21st century.”

According to Shalini Nambiar, a “well-developed PD programme with internal and external resources is key. Each teacher must observe at least two of her co-workers classes per week. Internal trainings are most effective as the school knows its needs and can plan individualized programmes to effectively train the teachers.”

Key resources, according to Savita Venkat, would be the Cambridge teaching and learning diploma for teachers, HUB trainers for education, subject specific training by authors and subject experts, IBDP teacher training, teacher training conducted by NCERT and ICSE boards as well as enrichment programmes by the British Council.

Dr Ranavat recommends approaching the challenge of poor quality education and growing shortage of teachers by connecting qualified teachers to develop their own teaching practice to inspire and empower communities of teachers around the world. “Our teacher training should lead teachers through cycles of workshops, observations and coaching to enable them to become self-reflectors and continuously improve their own teaching and encourage colleagues to do the same.”

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Teaching and learning go hand in hand, which makes it necessary for the schools to have teacher training modules which are well knit in the curriculum and should cater to the demands of teaching fraternity which may arise during the teaching learning process, opines Nisha Rana. “A good teacher training program should be like a support for teachers to sharpen their tools as and when required. It is important that schools recognize the importance of well-structured teacher development programs which are in tandem with the teaching learning requirements of the schools. Teacher development programs should be given their due importance in the curriculum as they have a great role to play in the students’ performance and development. There is also great need to understand and research various models for the same and simultaneously let them voice out their requirements to enable better teaching learning practices.” Among the measures she recommends are web based resources, regular training sessions to hone computer skills, frequent in-house motivational workshops to be conducted by head and senior teachers, regular counselling sessions by motivational experts and subject experts, proper annual assessment of all teachers, and provision of opportunity given to teachers for their self-improvement.

Dr Swati also recommends that teachers invest in their own training. “Teachers should read books written by educators like Alfie Kohn, John Holt; become members of teacher discussion groups and forums; connect with educators on LinkedIn and Facebook; read essential blogs by educators; invest in magazines like ScooNews, Education World, and Brain feed etc. and stay updated; and attend workshops, seminars, and conferences both online and face to face.

As Rana summarises, “Remember; every teacher who is not learning and growing will result in students who are not learning and growing at some level. Poor and ineffective professional development hurts teachers. It hurts their students. It hurts their community and, since quality education is so highly correlated with economic growth, it hurts their nation.”

…Still think too much of a fuss is made of teacher training?

This was the cover story in our November 2017 issue.

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Young Birders’ Workshop Opens Registration for Children Aged 10-13 Years

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Early Bird, a not-for-profit initiative by the Nature Conservation Foundation, has announced the launch of an online birdwatching workshop tailored specifically for young enthusiasts aged 10-13 years. As birdwatching gains popularity across India, Early Bird aims to deepen young birders’ understanding of their natural surroundings, beyond merely ticking off bird names from their lists.

Set to commence during the summer holidays, this 4-week intensive programme will explore various themes through online sessions that combine multimedia, guided interactions, and lively discussions. These weekly live sessions will be held on consecutive weekends, each supplemented by an illustrated activity sheet that encourages participants to engage with and observe the green spaces around their homes.

The workshop is designed not only to educate but also to foster a deeper appreciation and awareness among children of the ecosystems they inhabit. “The workshop has changed our lives so much. We have found around 30 bird varieties around our house which we were completely unaware of,” shared Rupinder Kaur, a parent of a participant from previous workshops.

“My son never journaled or made notes. Now, he has started noticing everything when we go out to walk and wants to carry his journal. He has always hated writing but now carries his book and pencil and is ready to make notes. This workshop has made a difference to the way he looks at things. Quite enlightening. Has a lot to ask and share.“ said another participant’s parent.

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While the workshop itself is free to attend, there is a nominal fee of Rs. 800 for materials, ensuring that all participants have access to the necessary resources to fully benefit from the experience.

Registrations for the workshop are now open and can be accessed through the link provided here. This initiative aims to be an enlightening experience, allowing young minds to discover and connect with the biodiversity that exists right in their backyards.

Early Bird continues to dedicate itself to bringing children closer to nature through educational content, training educators, and direct outreach, fostering a new generation that values and conserves our natural world.

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The Role of Marketing in Education: Navigating the New Educational Landscape

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In an increasingly competitive and interconnected world, the concept of marketing, once synonymous with businesses and industries, has found its place within the realm of education. As educational institutions vie for attention amidst a cacophony of voices, the need for strategic marketing and public relations (PR) efforts has become paramount. While the moral implications of marketing in education may spark debate, there is a compelling argument for incorporating marketing concepts into the educational curriculum, equipping students, teachers, and parents with the knowledge and skills to make informed decisions in an ever-evolving educational landscape.

Gone are the days when educational institutions relied solely on their academic prowess to attract students. In today’s digital age, where information is abundant and attention spans are fleeting, the ability to cut through the noise and communicate effectively has become a prerequisite for success. From crafting compelling brand narratives to leveraging social media platforms, educational institutions are embracing marketing strategies to enhance their visibility and appeal to prospective students and stakeholders.

However, the incorporation of marketing into the educational sector extends beyond mere promotional efforts. At its core, marketing is about understanding the needs and preferences of your target audience and delivering value accordingly. By teaching marketing concepts to students, educators empower them with critical thinking skills and an understanding of consumer behaviour, enabling them to navigate the complex marketplace of ideas and opportunities.

Moreover, marketing education goes beyond the classroom, extending its reach to teachers and parents alike. Educators, tasked with shaping the minds of future generations, can benefit from an understanding of marketing principles to engage students more effectively and create meaningful learning experiences. Similarly, parents, as key stakeholders in their children’s education, can make more informed decisions about school choice and educational resources by understanding the marketing strategies employed by educational institutions.

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Critics may argue that the commodification of education undermines its intrinsic value and fosters a culture of competition at the expense of collaboration. While these concerns are valid, it is essential to recognize that marketing, when approached ethically and responsibly, can serve as a powerful tool for positive change. By promoting transparency, accountability, and accessibility, marketing can help bridge the gap between educational institutions and the communities they serve, fostering a culture of trust and mutual respect.

The integration of marketing concepts into the educational curriculum represents a paradigm shift in how we approach education in the digital age. By equipping students, teachers, and parents with the knowledge and skills to navigate the complexities of the modern educational landscape, we empower them to make informed decisions and drive meaningful change. As we embrace the potential of marketing in education, let us remain mindful of its ethical implications and strive to harness its power for the greater good.

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From Overwhelmed to Empowered: Strengthening Educator Skills for Success

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In the corridors of any classroom, teachers stand as pillars of guidance, tasked not only with imparting knowledge but also with nurturing the holistic development of their students. However, the onerous burden of managing a multitude of responsibilities within resource-constrained environments poses a formidable challenge, underscoring the urgent need for enhanced teacher training programmes.

At the heart of this challenge lies the staggering class sizes prevalent in Indian schools. With classrooms often overflowing with 35 or more students, the task of catering to diverse learning needs while maintaining order can seem insurmountable. Effective classroom management techniques, tailored to accommodate large cohorts, are essential for fostering a conducive learning environment and mitigating stress for both teachers and students.

Moreover, the complexity of the modern educational landscape necessitates a multifaceted approach to teaching. From addressing academic gaps to promoting socio-emotional well-being, educators are expected to wear multiple hats, often without adequate training or support. Enhanced teacher training programmes must equip educators with the pedagogical tools and strategies necessary to navigate this intricate web of responsibilities effectively.

Central to the need for better teacher training is the imperative of managing workload and stress. The relentless demands of completing the curriculum, crafting assessments, and addressing administrative tasks can take a toll on educators’ mental health and overall well-being. By providing teachers with comprehensive training in stress management techniques, time management strategies, and self-care practices, we can empower them to strike a balance between professional duties and personal wellness.

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Addressing the point of the topics that should be touched upon, these teacher training programmes must encompass modules on effective assessment practices and differentiated instruction. By equipping educators with the skills to design assessments that cater to diverse learning styles and abilities, we can ensure that every student receives the support they need to thrive academically. Similarly, training in differentiated instruction enables teachers to tailor their teaching methods to meet the individual needs of each student, fostering a more inclusive and equitable learning environment.

In addition to addressing immediate challenges, enhanced teacher training programmes must also focus on future-oriented skills and competencies. With rapid advancements in technology and pedagogy, educators must be prepared to adapt to changing educational landscapes and embrace innovative teaching methodologies. By providing training in digital literacy, collaborative learning, and project-based instruction, we can empower teachers to harness the potential of emerging technologies and create engaging learning experiences for their students.

Ultimately, the need for better teacher training is not merely a matter of professional development; it is a moral imperative. By investing in the growth and well-being of educators, we invest in the future of our nation. Because one teacher’s well-being will lead to the well being of those 35 other kids in a classroom.

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Nurturing Healthy Behaviors: The Role of Schools in Shaping Health-Conscious Citizens

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In the landscape of education, schools play a pivotal role far beyond the realms of academic learning; they are instrumental in moulding the future of our society by nurturing health-conscious citizens. This World Health Day, as we embrace the theme ‘My health, my right’, it’s crucial to spotlight the impact of school programs and policies in fostering healthy lifestyle choices among students. This endeavour not only aligns with students’ rights to education about health but also paves the way for a healthier, more informed generation.

In India, where diverse cultural backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses often dictate one’s access to health education and resources, schools have a unique opportunity to bridge these gaps. The Midday Meal Scheme, one of the largest school nutrition programs globally, serves as a sterling example. By providing nutritious meals to children in government and government-aided schools, it aims not just to combat hunger but to promote nutritional education and healthy eating habits among young learners. This initiative directly impacts the health and educational outcomes of approximately 115 million children across the country, showcasing the powerful role schools can play in shaping health-conscious behaviours.

Furthermore, the Government of India’s Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) program emphasizes the importance of adolescent health, targeting the 253 million adolescents in the country. RKSK aims to integrate health education into schools, covering critical areas such as nutrition, mental health, and substance misuse, thereby ensuring that young individuals are equipped with the knowledge and skills to make informed health decisions.

However, the journey doesn’t end with national programs. Individual schools across India are taking innovative steps to encourage healthy behaviours. For instance, several institutions have introduced yoga and meditation into their daily routines, recognizing the importance of mental well-being alongside physical health. These practices not only improve students’ concentration and stress management skills but also instill a lifelong appreciation for holistic health practices.

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Moreover, environmental health has become a growing concern, with schools incorporating lessons on sustainability and the importance of preserving our planet for future generations. Initiatives like setting up organic gardens, recycling projects, and awareness campaigns on water conservation are becoming increasingly common, fostering an eco-conscious mindset among students.

Despite these strides, challenges remain. Access to quality health education and resources is not uniform across India’s vast and varied landscape, with rural and underprivileged communities often at a disadvantage. Addressing these disparities requires concerted efforts from policymakers, educators, and communities to ensure that every child, irrespective of their background, has the right to health education and the opportunity to grow into a health-conscious citizen.

As we observe World Health Day, it’s clear that schools are much more than places of academic pursuit. They are crucial battlegrounds in the fight for a healthier future, where informed, conscious choices are not just encouraged but ingrained. By continuing to develop and implement comprehensive health education programs, schools can truly honor the theme ‘My health, my right’, turning it from a vision into a reality for every student across India.

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Sharing the spotlight: When parent and child take board exams together

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Board examinations are a kind of pressure cooker that often isolates kids and forces them to fight anxiety and expectations on their own. But picture yourself starting this important journey with your own parents, both of you aiming for academic success. This unconventional path, where parent and child become fellow students, unfolds a captivating narrative of shared aspirations, mutual support, and an inspiring exchange of motivation.

A Symphony of Support: Parent and Child, Hand in Hand

Consider the board exam season as a collaborative experience rather than a solo battle. For families in which both parents and children assume the risk together, that is the truth. A potent synergy is unlocked by this singular situation: unshakeable inspiration and reciprocal motivation. When a parent sees their child’s burning ambition, their own hidden aspirations are reawakened. Because of their common experience, they are able to provide advice based on practical knowledge, and the child’s enthusiasm turns into a motivating factor that others find infectious. In response, the child gets much encouragement. The parent becomes a study buddy, a champion in their corner, and a living testament to the fact that learning knows no age limit. This fosters a safe space for vulnerability, where anxieties are shared and triumphs celebrated with genuine empathy.

There are some people who serve as inspiration. Together, they disprove limiting notions and demonstrate that ambition has no boundaries. Their story becomes a beacon for others, inspiring them to follow their dreams and cherish lifelong learning regardless of age. This collaborative effort is about more than just grades; it’s a symphony of a support system where motivation becomes a team effort and rewards are shared. Their achievement is evidence of the transforming power of familial relationships, as they take center stage not as rivals but as comrades. Their tale will have an impact well beyond the exam room, encouraging others to start their own educational and personal development journeys alongside the people they care about.

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Shared Spotlight, Separate Journeys: Finding Balance

Although there is no denying the advantages of parent-child board exam experiences, managing shared stress calls for skill. However, managing personal aspirations and expectations can be challenging. Children may feel that their own goals are overshadowed by comparisons, and parents may find it difficult to avoid them. Keeping distinct identities becomes essential.

Practicing healthy boundaries enables success. Create dedicated study spaces, cultivate individual interests, and prioritize open communication. Recall that you are allies, not competitors. Respect each other’s unique paths and celebrate accomplishments. Growth is the focus of our shared journey, not grades, and it can only be achieved by respecting each other’s unique personalities.

The Rewards of a Joint Journey

Teenagers are frequently isolated on the board exam battlefield, forced to deal with challenges on their own. But imagine overcoming this obstacle with your parent by your side, experiencing triumphs and setbacks together. This collaborative approach opens up a wealth of benefits that go beyond personal accomplishments.

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Each win becomes a collective celebration, etched in memory as a testament to shared effort. High fives after acing mocks, celebratory dinners after stellar results – these moments weave a tapestry of familial joy. On the other hand, failures present chances for mutual empathy. Late-night chats of support following a challenging test, words of encouragement following a low score—these mutual setbacks strengthen the network and create a lasting connection.

More than just academic results, this journey deepens family connections. Study sessions that last into the night become personal discussions that promote trust and open communication. Together, overcome obstacles strengthen the base of compassion and understanding, fostering an environment that is secure for open communication and vulnerability. This improved communication goes beyond the board exam experience and becomes an important life skill.

Ultimately, this shared endeavor is about more than just academics—it’s about creating lasting experiences, strengthening bonds, and promoting deeper dialogue. It’s a journey that makes an enduring imprint, a constant reminder that group accomplishments and the transforming power of support can result in bigger rewards than individual ones.

A Story Beyond Exams:

This is ultimately a story not just of exams and scores, but of a shared adventure in learning, growth, and unwavering support. It is proof of the power of inspiration and motivation, demonstrating that no matter our age or situation, we can reach our goals as long as we walk hand in hand with the people we love. Together, their spotlight emphasizes their personal journeys, the transformative power of familial bonds, and the limitless opportunities that present themselves when we choose to develop, learn, and dream together.

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Authored By:
Tushar Chaudhari,
Executive Director,
Target Publications Pvt. Ltd.

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Education

The Potential of an Entrepreneurial Development Programme for Primary School Students

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Educators will find great value in discovering the potential of an Entrepreneurial Development Programme tailored for primary-grade students. Such a program aims to equip young learners with essential skills, mindset, and knowledge crucial for navigating an ever-evolving world. Participating in an Entrepreneurial Development Programme not only aids primary-grade students in developing life skills but also enhances their academic performance, laying a robust foundation for their future endeavors and personal development. Schools should explore how an entrepreneurial development programme can transform and help students reach their full potential by teaming up with education providers who specialize in this area.

Advantages of Entrepreneurial Development Programme for Young Students

In today’s fast-paced world, traditional educational methods alone may not adequately prepare students for future challenges. Entrepreneurial development programme designed for primary-grade students offer a host of benefits beyond conventional classroom learning.

First and foremost, these programs foster creativity and critical thinking skills in young learners. By presenting real-world problems and encouraging out-of-the-box thinking, such initiatives stimulate imagination and promote innovative problem-solving, thereby enhancing academic performance and imparting valuable skills applicable across various domains of life.

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Furthermore, entrepreneurial development programme cultivates teamwork and collaboration skills essential for success in an interconnected world. Through group activities and projects, students learn effective communication, collaboration, and leveraging each other’s strengths, crucial not only for academic achievement but also for future professional endeavors.

Moreover, these programs instill a strong work ethic and sense of responsibility in students by engaging them in hands-on activities and practical exercises, providing firsthand experience in project management, decision-making, and problem-solving. Such experiences foster accountability and ownership, qualities vital for future leaders and entrepreneurs.

Participation in an entrepreneurial development programme also boosts self-confidence and resilience among students. By undertaking entrepreneurial activities and confronting challenges, students learn to believe in their capabilities and develop the resilience to overcome obstacles.

Additionally, these programs nurture leadership qualities by offering opportunities for students to take charge and lead peers, thereby developing the skills and mindset necessary for effective leadership.

Entrepreneurial skills promote a growth mindset, encouraging students to view failure as a learning opportunity and persist in the face of challenges, fostering a belief in their capacity to grow and improve is essential for navigating the uncertainties of the future.

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Key Components of an Effective Entrepreneurial Development Programme

  1. To ensure the effectiveness of an entrepreneurial development programme for primary-grade students, several key components must be in place. Firstly, the program should have a structured curriculum covering various entrepreneurial topics, designed to be engaging and age-appropriate, with activities that inspire and challenge young learners, and should be continuous rather than sporadic workshops.
  2. Hands-on learning experiences should be integral to the program, allowing students to apply their knowledge and skills to real-world challenges, and fostering a deeper understanding of entrepreneurship.
  3. The involvement of mentors and industry professionals provides students with valuable perspectives, guidance, and inspiration, enhancing their learning experience.
  4. The program should include opportunities for assessment and self-reflection, empowering students to track their progress and take ownership of their learning journey.
  5. Finally, students should have the opportunity to document their projects, enabling them to showcase their ideas and experiences through e-portfolios.

Implementation of an Entrepreneurial Development Programme in Schools

Implementing an entrepreneurial development programme in schools requires careful planning and coordination. Key steps include researching and understanding the program, creating a clear vision aligned with the school’s mission and values, securing buy-in from stakeholders, forming a dedicated implementation team, providing comprehensive training and professional development, adapting the program to suit the school’s specific needs, setting clear goals and metrics, integrating the program into various aspects of school life, continuously evaluating its effectiveness, celebrating successes, ensuring sustainability, and staying connected with the broader entrepreneurial community for ongoing support and inspiration.

Entrepreneurial Development Programme for Primary-Grade Students

Kidspreneurship serves as exemplary models of the impact these initiatives can have. Kidspreneurship, an education service provider from Singapore, offers meticulously designed curricula, real-world challenges, industry mentorship, holistic assessment, and opportunities for students to develop e-portfolios, empowering them to become future leaders and entrepreneurs.

Headquartered in Singapore, Kidspreneurship works with schools globally to offer a high-quality plug-and-play platform and implementation support that allows schools to integrate entrepreneurship in their curriculum.

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According to Swati Gauba, the Thinker in Chief and Founder, emphasis is placed not only on top-notch content and technology but also on execution, ensuring a stellar experience for educators and students alike while measuring impact at every stage of the implementation process. Click to know more about Kidspreneurship Programme for Schools

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Edutainment

World Theatre Day: Let Theatre Arts Make Classroom’s Showtime Spectacular!

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As we roll out the red carpet for World Theatre Day, celebrated every year on March 27, let’s shine the spotlight on the dazzling world of theatre arts in education—a realm where creativity knows no bounds, and every student gets a backstage pass to explore the endless facets of their personality. Theatre arts isn’t just about taking a bow on stage; it’s a grand production that includes acting, scriptwriting, directing, set design, costume creation, and even the magic of lighting and sound effects. It’s where the shy kid in class becomes a roaring lion, and the daydreamer directs their first masterpiece.

Diving into the eclectic mix that is theatre arts, students embark on a thrilling adventure into storytelling, embodying characters from realms far and wide. But wait, there’s more! Ever fancied crafting a world from scratch? Set design and costume creation offer a canvas for the wildest imaginations, turning dreams into tangible realities. And for the tech-savvy, lighting and sound effects provide the perfect playground to amplify the drama or set the mood. It’s like being the wizard behind the curtain, where a flick of the switch can transport the audience to another dimension.

But theatre arts in schools is more than a ticket to the creative Olympics; it’s a masterclass in life itself. Through the laughter of improvisation and the discipline of rehearsals, students learn the art of expression and the power of voice. Theatre teaches us to walk in others’ shoes, sparking empathy and understanding in a performance that extends beyond the stage and into the corridors of daily life.

And let’s not forget the standup comedians, the jesters of the modern age, who wield humour like a sword, cutting through tension and bringing light to the darkest rooms. Standup comedy, an exhilarating facet of theatre arts, schools students in the art of storytelling and the bravery of vulnerability, proving that sometimes, laughter truly is the best medicine.

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Integrating theatre arts into the curriculum is like adding a pinch of magic to the mundane, transforming the classroom into a space where learning is an adventure, not a chore. It’s where students can be themselves (or someone else entirely) in a judgment-free zone, discovering their potential and pushing boundaries, one act at a time. Schools that embrace theatre arts offer students a safe space to explore their identities, confront societal issues, and express themselves authentically. Through theatre, students learn the importance of voice and agency, discovering their capacity to effect change in their communities and beyond.

So, as we celebrate World Theatre Day, let’s champion for theatre arts to take centre stage in schools. After all, in the grand theatre of life, we’re all players, and what better way to prepare for the world’s stage than by embracing the creativity, collaboration, and sheer joy of theatre arts? Here’s to the scriptwriters, the directors, the set designers, and the stars of tomorrow—may your light shine bright, both on and off the stage.

In the immortal words of Shakespeare, “All the world’s a stage,” and it’s high time we all play our part, ensuring that the wonders of theatre arts are not just an act, but a fundamental chapter in the story of education.

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Education

Post-pandemic: Embracing Well-being in India’s Schools with My Guide Inside

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My Guide Inside (MGI is a three-part, comprehensive, story-based well-being curriculum; it brings out the best in all learners. Students and adults who learn they operate from the inside-out report My Guide Inside principles change their lives. MGI Online classroom learning platform is created locally for Indian children and youth.

The History of MGI

The pandemic ended the trajectory of our education “world.” Full stop. We had completed My Guide Inside (MGI) classroom pilots but school abruptly pivoted to online and plans to implement MGI halted. 

Silver Linings for MGI

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Worldwide we became comfortable with Zoom and discovered that one’s humanity comes through. We met colleagues in the global community and confirmed MGI is a universal curriculum—beyond beliefs and culture. It became apparent that students were struggling to be isolated while learning online. In support of their well-being, we created Video on Demand (VoD) to enhance the MGI chapters. Now we see that VoD also supports English Language Learners. We had completed My Guide Inside face-face professional development series. Now we shifted the MGI series to be self-study online with opportunity for group discussions– accessible for free in any global community. Educators benefit from this professional learning and as a result are able live, learn and confidently share these profound MGI lessons.

3 Year Official Focus Group Report

MGI students from 2018 and 2021 were asked about MGI and a report was prepared. This report provides hope that there is a path to well-being even in challenging times.

Bonnie states, “The MGI principles are so universal and definitely ingrained just in a way that I live my life that, I almost don’t even need to go back and reflect specifically because it’s something that applies to every aspect of my reality.”

Lina states, “I think something I realized for myself during the pandemic is I gained focus… I think some other people I know and I care about deeply might not have had that same shift of focus … which I fully understand, and I have compassion for as they might not have had the same education as I had through My Guide Inside, so I’m very grateful…”

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Connection with India

It’s always an honor to connect with Sandeep Dutt, Founder of Learning Forward India Foundation and the Good Schools Alliance (GSA). (Sandeep, Sir, and I met through HundrED, a global education innovation organization.) There’s an understanding that well-being is a foundation for success in all life’s domains. MGI is a GSA learning partner. We conducted our first online MGI professional development series with GSA educators. 

Sukhpreet states, “I learned about consciousness. That is the biggest thing which I now am able to relate everything to when I’m teaching; I can help my students. This self-realization and again the discussions we had were wonderful … that’s the beauty of the MGI sessions.”

After meeting with local advisor, Jugjiv Singh, we determined to create MGI Online with Hindi vocabulary. MGI Online I, II, III for young kids, kids, and teens were expertly created by Jishnu Gupta and Supratim Kar at edTreeThe pilot for MGI Online Book III with GSA student interns proved to be a rich ground for learning and sharing the MGI principles. The youth determined to continue! They showed tremendous leadership and became MGI student mentors in their school’s Life Skills 4 and Life Skills 9 courses. 

Yashraj states, “I love these MGI sessions … What I have gathered from all of this is not dwelling in the past and that mind thought, and consciousness makes our reality, which we face now. His parents note, “Yashraj has been able to articulate his ideas in a more effective manner and proving to be a better orator with each passing day. His pressure handling skills have remarkably improved. We are seeing a paradigm shift in his approach towards day-to-day activities. This MGI program has been an excellent blend of cross-cultural learnings which are beyond local boundaries.”

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Globally, and significantly in India, we are seeing the focus on well-being is necessary for our children and youth to experience success, especially post-pandemic. MGI Online principles align with the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2023: Well-being of individuals remains crucial for success in all aspects of life. 

My Guide Inside principles benefit learners: mentally, behaviorally, academically, and socially. MGI is not prescriptive, it is descriptive, empowering youth “inside-out.” MGI principle-based “understanding” is a solid foundation for navigating our rather complex, beautiful world. 

Authored By- 
Christa Campsall, 
Co-Author, My Guide Inside

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Education

The Intersection of Happiness and Technology in Education

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In today’s fast-paced world, the quest for happiness has taken a front seat in discussions about education. The International Day of Happiness, celebrated on March 20th, offers a perfect moment to reflect on how technology, often seen as a double-edged sword, can actually foster happiness and well-being within educational settings. For educators and stakeholders in the Indian education system, understanding this intersection opens avenues to create more inclusive, engaging, and mentally stimulating environments for students.

The digital era has transformed traditional educational paradigms, introducing tools that not only facilitate learning but also enhance the mental and emotional well-being of students. The integration of technology in education, when done thoughtfully, can lead to a harmonious balance between academic achievement and happiness. This balance is crucial in the Indian educational context, where the pressure to perform academically often overshadows the importance of mental health.

One of the most significant ways technology contributes to happiness in education is through the personalisation of learning. Digital platforms enable learners to progress at their own pace, explore their interests, and engage with content that resonates with their individual learning styles. This personalisation fosters a sense of autonomy and competence, key components of intrinsic motivation and happiness. Apps and online platforms offer interactive and gamified learning experiences that make education not just a task, but a joyous journey of discovery. The result is a more engaged and satisfied student body, eager to learn and less prone to the stress and burnout associated with traditional rote learning methods prevalent in many Indian schools.

Moreover, technology bridges the gap between the educational needs of diverse learners, including those with special needs, by providing accessible learning tools and resources. Digital accessibility tools such as speech-to-text software, interactive eBooks, and customisable learning interfaces ensure that every student has the opportunity to learn in a way that best suits their needs, promoting inclusivity and thereby enhancing overall happiness.

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In addition to facilitating personalised and inclusive learning, technology plays a pivotal role in promoting positive mental health among students. Digital mindfulness and well-being apps have become increasingly popular in educational settings, offering guided meditations, breathing exercises, and stress management techniques. These resources are particularly valuable in the Indian educational landscape, where the stigma surrounding mental health often prevents students from seeking help. By integrating these tools into the daily routine, schools can cultivate a culture of mindfulness and emotional resilience, empowering students to manage stress and face challenges with a positive outlook.

Social-emotional learning (SEL) platforms leverage technology to teach empathy, emotional intelligence, and interpersonal skills, which are integral to students’ overall happiness and success. These platforms offer interactive scenarios and role-playing games that teach conflict resolution, empathy, and cooperation, skills as important as academic knowledge in today’s interconnected world. The emphasis on SEL reflects a broader understanding that education is not just about academic achievements but also about preparing students to lead fulfilling and happy lives.

The intersection of happiness and technology in education offers a promising path forward for the Indian education system. On this International Day of Happiness, let’s commit to integrating technology in ways that bring joy into learning and prepare students for a happy, resilient, and fulfilling future.

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Knowledge

Empowering the next generation: How mentorship shapes the future of young women’s professions

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Mentorship acts as a cornerstone in empowering women across diverse professional landscapes. Studies reveal a strong correlation between mentorship and positive career outcomes for women. Using studies and real-world examples, this article talks about how mentoring shapes women’s career prospects.

Bridging the Gender Gap: The Power of Role Models

According to a 2021 study by McKinsey & Company and Lean In, women who have mentors are more likely to advance in their careers than those who don’t. This emphasizes how important role models are. Through mentorship, mentees are encouraged to believe that “if they can do it, so can I” by seeing successful women in their area. They are thus motivated to go after big dreams and defy society norms that might have initially deterred them.

Breaking Down Barriers: Access to Networks and Resources

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Mentorship transcends mere guidance; it unlocks valuable networks and resources. Mentors, often established professionals, can connect their mentees to crucial individuals and opportunities. A 2023 study by the Harvard Business Review found that women with mentors are more likely to be connected to senior leaders and receive critical career advice. These connections open doors to job opportunities, training programs, and industry knowledge, propelling women forward in their careers.

Building Confidence and Skill Development

Mentorship fosters professional development by providing constructive feedback and valuable insights. A research published in the Journal of Career Development also found that mentorship programs significantly increase women’s self-efficacy and confidence in their abilities. Through personalized guidance, mentors equip their mentees with the skills needed to excel in their chosen field. This tailored approach empowers women to navigate challenges, develop critical thinking skills, and become well-rounded professionals.

Real-World Examples: Paving the Way for Success

Mentoring has an impact that goes beyond statistics. Consider the narrative of Meta Platforms’ COO, Sheryl Sandberg. Susan Wojcicki, the former CEO of YouTube, became Sandberg’s mentor. Sandberg acknowledges Wojcicki’s crucial assistance and direction throughout her career. In similar way, former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi has talked about the important influence her mentor Jack Welch had on developing her leadership style and helping her succeed. These illustrations demonstrate how mentoring can significantly alter the career paths of women in leadership roles.

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Investing in the Future: A Collective Responsibility

Mentorship is not a one-sided endeavor. Moreover, It fosters a culture of learning and exchange, benefiting both mentors and mentees. Mentors gain valuable leadership experience, stay updated with industry trends through interactions with mentees, and contribute to building a more inclusive and diverse future within their organizations.

The future of various professions and the empowerment of women hinges on funding mentorship programs. While individuals can actively seek mentorship within their networks or through specialized channels, organizations can design structured programs that pair women with experienced mentors. Every effort, no matter how big or small, helps create a world in which women prosper and realize their full potential in all spheres of the workforce.

To conclude, mentoring serves as a spark for women’s professional empowerment. Through facilitating access to resources, networks, and positive role models as well as skill development, mentoring sets the stage for a day when women may successfully traverse a variety of professions and realize their full potential. Together, we can actively seek guidance and engage in mentorship programs to help establish a better future for women in the workforce.

Authored by:

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Dr. Kalpana Gangaramani
Founder & Managing Director,
Target Publications Pvt. Ltd.

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