Dear Neev Community,
Ronald Ross, the Almora born, Nobel winning physician, who discovered mosquito borne Malaria transmission while living in Bangalore, said “it takes atleast a decade to understand a new idea”. But even Dr.Ross would have agreed that history lurched over these few months, and COVID19 maybe a pivotal, if not a revolutionary moment challenging past knowledge and forcing questions about what sort of future we want, what makes a healthy society, and what is a 21st century education. The lockdown has brought the forces of 21st century education from 2030 to 2020 in 50 days. In this time learning from home has been on demand and self-paced, showing the significance of learner attitude, learning styles and access to learning. This is about the forces of Brain research - what we know about how learning happens; and Digital Revolution- how we access knowledge and what knowledge we need. It is my case that the third force that drives a progressive education now more than ever before is – Globalisation & Identity.
Global networks today are sharing experiences and learning in education, and in healthcare. While we come together on some fronts, this time has also brought about great conflict that the world must resolve. We had accepted the massive expansion of tourism, trade and finance as a given, but the influence of nationality and identity that was under the surface, has risen up. Ideas and knowledge are non-competitive resources, unlike land, labour and capital, which once shared are not available to the giver in entirety. The Big Question; will the global lockdown create a more globalised world or a less globalised world? All of this also impacts our strategic projects that were already underway for Neev 4.0.
Neev 1.0 was our first 5 years in which we started early years, launched the first dream of Changing the way people in India perceive Early Childhood Education and Care, meeting an unmet need in a very fragmented space lacking quality and regulation. Neev 2.0 was our second 5 years, and included the launch of Neev Academy - this was our finding phase, defining who we want to become, fighting growing pains, constructing a lot; finding funding and land to support the growing dream will always be my biggest memory of this time, but with that the growth of our community of teachers, parents and students. Neev 3.0 was the third 5 years, in which we changed our vision to Reimagining excellence in education in a changing India, continued to face growth pains, building new programmes and leadership, learning from mistakes; continued challenges of funding and construction were made easier by stronger leadership. Neev 4.0 is our next 5 years, to consolidate our learnings with all programmes, make every part of the organisation mission driven, bringing together our learning community with shared principles.
Neev 4.0 has 6 pillars; Recognising Identity, Learning Driven by the Environment, Challenging Ourselves, Making Thinking Visible, Being Disciplined, and Contributing to Community. The six pillars were invisibly present in all we did, but we have now surfaced, articulated and refined them, to ensure their pursuit, through our governance, curriculum and pedagogy. If the first five pillars are about stronger selves, the sixth is about sacrifice, giving back and responsibility. As an IB school, with a privileged learning community, we cannot neglect generosity in our learning, thinking and action. COVID19 has cruelly exposed the chasm between the haves and the have-nots. Online learning of the level that ensured learning continuity at Neev, is only possible for 10% of children around the world, and lesser in India. It is our duty to learn, grow and work towards creating a more equal world. Our salvation lies in our children putting Indias poverty of health, income and education in the museum it belongs.
Neev 4.0 is not about predicting the future but making ourselves worthy of it, and I am delighted to say that we are ready.
Kavita Gupta Sabharwal
Dear Neev Community,
The belief - Schools need to prepare themselves for a new world by thinking harder about how they are educating. Schools need to reinvent themselves for four reasons; early education matters, progress in understanding the brain, future generations enter a very different world than we did, and teaching practices are changing to support these developments.
Early Education Matters- because early interventions matter; 300 billion brain neurons at birth become 1000 trillion by 3 years. But progress accelerates; 1 year (conscious of adult expectations), 2 years (pretend play links to intellect at 5), 3 years (30 million word gap), 4 years (vocab indicates Grade 3 literacy success), 5 years (90% of brain development and 50% of all learning) till 6 years (100% self-esteem development). Children who start behind- stay behind.
Progress in understanding the brain- has led to important second order effects for education like the Flynn Effect (rising IQ's over the last century), along with falling Grit (Angela Duckworth's research on persistence representing intelligence). Carol Dweck's path breaking work on growth vs fixed mindset is helping us bring together the scientific understanding of the plasticity of the brain with teaching practise and indeed also parenting. The new world is important; the pressure for edutainment is huge but its clear there is an element of eat your vegetables in education. Rote learning is less important in a world of always-on internet and education needs to target the IB learner profile and attitudes; to nurture children to be knowledgeable, risk-takers, communicators, reflective, open-minded, inquirers who show curiosity, confidence, respect, integrity and empathy. This validates poet William Butler Yeats who wrote "education is not the filling of a bucket but the lighting of a fire".
Change in the world of work- where automation means that reading, writing, and soft skills are becoming the most important employability skills. The one skill that we know our children will need is the ability to relearn all the time. To try things, to come back, read, try new things, come back read and learn more, and go back again.
Teachers are not going anywhere but pedagogical practices are changing. A good school is not hardware but good teachers and the re-invention of schools starts with how we think about them. Good schools have a shared vision, Collaborative practice, Distributed leadership, Performance management rather than performance appraisal, and a cohesive, engaging, rigorous curriculum. Teachers move from didactic teaching of content to teaching of skills, creators of inquiry, and differentiation experts who are transdisciplinary, able to connect concepts across learning areas or subjects. The context of schools is changing; kids are spending more time in school, they receive more communication from teachers, watch more TV, have higher exposure and are also tech savvy, content is easily available, and goals tend to change quickly.
A good school is one that blunts weaknesses, builds on strengths and has inspiring, capable teachers. This is the kind of school that Neev is set up to be and aspires to stay.
At Neev, our mission is to be the benchmark of excellence in education in India. Neev really is a very special learning community and I would be delighted to welcome you for a visit.
Kavita Gupta Sabharwal