The urge to provide the best education for children has led to a phenomenal growth in the number of state-of-the-art schools vying for attention with their swanky infrastructure, competitive faculty, and variety of extracurricular activities. And the latest to join the movement happens to be led by none other than the RP-Sanjiv Goenka group.
Visioned by young Scion Shashwat Goenka and his wife Shivika Goenka, RP Goenka International School is the first and only among the leading institutes of global education to offer a balanced blend of international education rooted in traditions. The sprawling Diamond Harbor Road campus off Alipore will be operational from July next year and admissions for the same are in full swing.
We spoke to humble power duo Shashwat and Shivika, who are the founder of the school, to find out more about their new venture into the education sector.
This is your second company after International Management Institute (IMI) in the education sector. What are the reasons for incursion into this space?
Shashwat Goenka: Education is very important because it forms the fundamentals of man and what he ends up doing later in life. With IMI, we were doing this at the degree and college level. But we realized the real impact can be made in a child’s life much earlier, when you can actually shape them with the right value system and teach them the right ways to problem solve and think creatively. critical. This was the idea behind the school. Also, we wanted to give back to the society to which we belong.
Was the idea born out of the experiences you both had as students in mainstream schools? Also, since you are new parents, did the prospect of creating a new-age school excite you more?
Shashwat Goenka: I had a very traditional schooling at St. Xavier, but Shivika was in Singapore and had a very international new-age upbringing. When we started talking, it was very clear that a very traditional upbringing doesn’t serve the future generation much, because the problems they will face in 20 years time will be very different from the ones we face today. Holistic learning is the idea behind our philosophy. It is therefore very holistic, reflective, transdisciplinary and participatory. It will be more of an inquiry-based education, where we allow children to come up with their own answers. It’s not really that there’s only one right answer – there can be multiple right answers to the same question. It’s really about how you approach it and connect logically to arrive at this answer.
The nuanced difference we bring is that it is a very international education system supported by a strong ethical system rooted in Indian values.
Besides English, the main language, there will be Hindi, Bengali and regional languages and a host of modern foreign languages, including Spanish and French.
The idea behind extracurricular enrichment is to create opportunities for personal development. From the point of view of our facilities, for example, on the sports level, they will have access to badminton, volleyball and basketball courts in addition to a semi-Olympic swimming pool. There is a sports court, an open play area that can accommodate sports like mini football and tennis, a gymnastics arena, a karate and mixed martial arts studio, and a yoga studio. There is an interesting mix of indoor and outdoor play spaces to suit different seasons.
On the creative development side, we have activities like arts and crafts, dance and singing lessons – both Indian and Western. There is a Model United Nations and lessons around music, photography, pottery, speech and drama. There’s also a robotics lab and a ‘black box’ for advanced theater and performing arts practice.
The emphasis is on community service. There will be an Interact club and an Environment club and plenty of field trips which will give students plenty of hands-on exposure. Outdoor classrooms and vegetable gardens are also some of the main features of the school.
Shivika: We want students to explore, read and be more fluent. Thus, the student-teacher ratio is around 1:8 to allow teachers to truly adopt a personalized learning approach.
To what extent will the school curriculum be adapted to school bags?
Shashwat Goenka: Each student will have their own personal locker at school and the program will not be heavily loaded with textbooks since the teaching-learning process is more collaborative and participatory. There will be homework to practice what you learn in school.
Tell us about the technical infrastructure?
Shashwat Goenka: We have a robotics lab and a design and technology lab for younger kids. We also have an interactive flooring concept, where you actually learn by interacting with this technology. There will be augmented reality and virtual reality learning. The entire campus will be covered with CCTV in addition to a digital attendance management system in place.
Shivika: Due to the increase in pollution and respiratory diseases, we have implemented an infant air purification system to remove all pollution and bacteria in the air.
Tell us about the canteen?
Shashwat Goenka: It is a vegetarian campus with a dining hall as opposed to a regular canteen as such. There will be a few stores across the school where you can also buy things. Nutritious foods from different cuisines will be available under the guidance of a nutritionist. Additionally, we have a connection with Woodlands Hospital and we will have doctors available on campus. We have a fully equipped model in primary in case of an emergency.
How interesting will the uniforms be?
Shivika: They will be contemporary in design and we keep it simple and comfortable for the kids. We are moving towards a very refined aesthetic that takes into account the different seasons.