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The Roller-Coaster of an academic ride

For a deeper insight into the functional facets of the educational system and to introduce our readers to an inspiring personality who has thrived through more than two
In a conversation spanning decades of her teaching and administrative experience, ePatra got into conversation with N. Lakshmi Shridhar, Principal, RV Group of Institutions, Bengaluru.
Here’s what she had to say about our many curiosities, as Sindhuri, our Manager of Service & Operations, presented them.

In your experience, what is the biggest challenge in educational administration in the Indian context?

An Administrator of a school acts like a bridge between management, teachers, parents, and students and has to cater to all of their expectations. Each of their expectations is diverse in nature, which makes multitasking a bare minimum necessity for an administrator. The Management wants to sustain a brand identity in the competitive market, parents expect uncompromised quality in education, teachers expect support to improve their competency and students expect the implementation of the newest methods in teaching and learning. Sustaining a balance in the system while catering to all the requirements is what I would say is a major challenge.

What do you believe is the hardest part of NEP implementation in India?

Rural schools, government schools, public schools, and private schools are functional in India. For the implementation of NEP in all concerned institutions, I could mark two possible barriers – one being language and another being the financial scope for vocational training. Teaching students in their mother tongue until class 5 and then shifting them to English could cause quite a culture shock and lead to self-esteem-related issues. It would be a better idea to blend the two languages in teaching in order to create a balance. Secondly, schools and colleges located in rural and suburban areas could find themselves in major financial shortages while incorporating mandatory vocational training. They must appoint proper staff, establish infrastructure and associate themselves with appropriate industries – which are all expensive challenges that might take a toll on smaller institutions.

Through the years of your experience in academics, have you seen growth or a dip in the level of academic importance in the country?

In my opinion, there has been a dip in quality education. The system is still a conquest to be completed for a certificate, as opposed to preparation for a quality job or higher education. A very small percentage of students enter greater universities or venture into unconventionally rewarding jobs that are not mainstream. There is a long way to go as the education system is trying to bring the many possibilities into the mainstream and enhance the best utilization of all of its resources.

What constitutes your best experience as a teacher/ academician?

I have been in the field of academics for 24 years now, and I have held every position that one could in academics from teaching to administration. It is a journey harder than it seems on the outside, but what makes it all worth it is when the students you have taught at some point in your journey accomplish great things and associate you with their success stories. At random moments, I’ve had successful professionals walk up to me and remind me of being their teacher. Their stories and the regard they narrate them with is the best part of being an academician, especially a teacher.

How have you channeled your passion into your present role as a leader?

Becoming a teacher was my choice; it was never by chance that I ventured into academics. It wasn’t an easy task to hail from an orthodox family and turn your doubters into well-wishers merely through accomplishments in the field. Hardships have generously come my way but the conscious approach to remain positive, encourage team spirit and remind myself of my passion for academics has been my constant. I believe that very approach has led me to the place I am at today. N Lakshmi Shridhar’s professional and personal experiences in the educational sector are what make us truly believe that teachers are unsung heroes indeed. The academic sector throws just as many challenges at its stakeholders as any other, but its heroes keep it going with hardly any recognition. ePatra acknowledges and reveres teachers and administrators like N Lakshmi Shridhar in this episode.