In conversation with Rosamma Thomas, Principal at Presentation Convent School, Jammu
Pictures by Sandeep
U4UVOICE : First of all Congratulations to you and the school staff for making it possible for the school to come among top 10 schools for girls in India.
Rosamma T: Thank you U4Uvoice for your congratulatory good wishes. As our students are writing their examinations, you have given me a question paper as well to keep me occupied. I shall try my best in giving you satisfactory answers.
U4UVOICE: Being the Principal of this institution, how do you feel on this achievement?
Rosamma T: Presentation convent Sr. Sec. School, Jammu has been ranked No. 10 girls Day School as per the survey conducted by Educational World India School Rankings 2014 is a great news for all of us here. We feel honored and motivated to work still better as we made the most impressive advance from #20last year to the India’s top 10 girls day schools table this year. BEING THE DIAMOND Jubilee year, this award adds as a gift from God to us for the sustained efforts of all those who are part of this institution for the last 60 years. The credit for this recognition goes to all our staff members, students and parents who have whole heartedly contributed to its growth consistently. I feel happy and grateful to God for enabling us to give our best so that the best could come back to us.
U4UVoice: How do you think that education in terms of teaching methods or student’s attitude has changed in past few years?
Rosamma T: Education in terms of students attitude has changed tremendously as many of them are very ambitious and hard working and they excel in everything they do. They have access to all modern technology which helps in with additional knowledge and understanding where teachers need to update themselves to be at par with them to excel in communicating the same. On the other hand tuition centers have mushroomed creating a lot of indiscipline and it has become a prestige issue for parents and society at large. Self discipline and maturity level is diminishing and as a result school education has become a challenge for school authorities as well as teachers.
Teaching methods compared to olden days have come a long way that extra marks, Educomp, and Smart classes have taken priority. School life has become more attractive, lessons more clear and teaching more easy on the one hand but lot of time needed for preparation and planning to be a creative teacher. The outcome is that students themselves are prepared to do their presentations in class to evaluate their performance which is very satisfying for a teacher.
U4UVoice: Does this school have a particular educational philosophy or mission?
Rosamma T: Presentation Convent school derives its policy from the life of love and compassion of Jesus Christ and in particular from the life of dedication of Nano Nagle foundress of our Congregation. The spirit of our education encompasses the development of a growing consciousness of the dignity and the rights of every person. This enables them to live in fellowship and mutual respect and helpfulness. Essential to education is the development of knowledge and skills, enabling a person to be a loyal citizen, peaceful and just in the world.
In other words we are committed to creating a society of motivated citizens who are literate, skilled, socially aware, spiritually motivated and fully involved in the building up of a developed and just society who are committed to conservation, preservation, and protection of environment, striving towards a life in perfect harmony with nature and one another, making sustainable living a reality.
U4UVoice: What according to you has made it possible for the school to come in top 10 schools for girls in the country?
Rosamma T: Following closely the vision and mission of our congregation with the consistent efforts of all stakeholders of this institution, past and present together with God’s blessings and guidance made it possible for us to come to the top 10 rank.
U4UVoice: When did you join in as the Principal? Share your experience?
Rosamma T: Life is a succession of moments, seconds and minutes. To live each one is to succeed. I joined the school in Jammu in 2009.The experiences I carried with me from an ISO certified school in Delhi helped me to be an organized and hard working person with utmost dedication and commitment to the work entrusted to me. The school had already built the base for excellence and I have a team of dedicated staff, teachers and supportive staff with an encouraging management who stands by me for making right decisions at the right time and executing them with perfect precision. The parent community is very cooperative with regard to extending a helping hand at all times.
U4UVoice: What impact do you think social media like face book and whatsapp have on the youth of the city?
Rosamma T: Social media can be a boon for responsible and mature people but to many it has become a distracting agent because they get addicted to it and get entangled in wrong company and wrong use of it.
U4UVoice: What are some of the school’s greatest accomplishments? What are some of the biggest challenges this school faces?
Rosamma T: Our school is centre for many national competitive examinations like AISSCE,JEE, CTET,AIIMS,.It is also a centre for ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE OF ASSESSMENTS for CBSE schools in the region where the principal is the city co- ordinater for the work.
Our principal received the CBSE National award in 2012-
Our school bagged the award for being one of the best 100schools in India for actively participating to ensure protection of Environment,
Our school received the Gandhi Seva Medal for the second time on 15th Aug 2014.
We release a news bulletin on Environment every year along with the school magazine.
Srishti Sharma of Class x represented Jammu in the National conference on Environment at Hyderabad in 2010 and received accolades for active participation and presentation of environmental activities in school from chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.Dr.K. Roshana.
Our teachers, namely, Mr. Chand TGT ,received an award for the best Chemistry teacher in the North Zone from Chemical sciences research , Bangalore in 201225 teachers of our school received appreciation letters from the honorable minister ,Human Resource Development, Govt .of India, Smriti Zubin Irani, for the commitment and dedication which brought the seller performance of our students in the Senior School Certificate Examination of the Central board Of Secondory Education.
MR. Bhupender Singh Tirthi received an award in Kabaddi for his outstanding performents in the international level as a national coach.
Ms. Poonam was conferred with the prestigious Samta Award in 2013 by the Gandhi global family in recognition of her altruistic efforts.
Many of our students received national and international awards for various sports and environmental activities. Names of whom cannot be mentioned as there is a long list.
Mridul Gupta participated in Asian Gymnastics at Kaulalampur, Malasia in September 12, she also participated in the National rhythmic gymnastics at Fategarh Sahib, Panjab and was proud winner of many medals including 1 gold,3 silver and 1 bronze.
Tawishi Sharma and Anandita Rathore won Gold medals in Taikawando for junior Nationalin Lucknow and aratrika and Nitika Gupta won Gold medals in cricket in National cricket.
Gazal Zuri won gold in gymbnastics in Patiala.
Palak Kour won best gymnast World Champion ship-Ukraine, 6th in Asian Champion ship ,Uzbekistan and Rhythmic gymnastics in Shere Kashmir.
Kosheen KUNDU WON National Champion Ship in Taikawando in Andhrapradesh.
These are just a few of the names and awards to mention among the many.
The challenges we face are:The pressure of admissions, bringing the lower strata of students at par with the others, to inculcate right values to the modern generation and to move with the changing trends in education and to find suitable teachers for the type of education that is demanded of us as educationists today.
U4UVoice: How is technology used to support teaching and learning at this school?
Rosamma T: We have Smart class, Extra Mark and Inter active boards along with Tv and laptops for the use of teaching in class rooms, language- labs, multimedia projectors and large format display etc .are also in use .
U4UVoice: Does the school have a program for gifted students?
Rosamma T: Gifted children are inducted in the student council and leadership arenas. Their energies are channelized in helping teachers plan their extra curricular activities and monitor the performance of weaker students. They are given opportunities for competitive activities, intra and inter school competitions, various clubs like Science club, Maths Club ,Debate and Dramatics etc. They are also given chances to visit university labs and experiment various projects.
U4UVoice: How does the school address a child that falls outside the norm? If the child is struggling, what steps are in place to insure that the child doesn’t fall through the cracks?
Rosamma T: Weaker students are given extra coaching and financial assistance in fees, books and uniforms etc. Our main thrust is towards the materially poor and we seek out the lost and help them to come at par with the others .stress is given at every point to support the slow learners and under achievers.
U4UVoice: What approach is taken to keep an exceptionally bright student challenged?
Rosamma T: Shared responsibility is given to such students. They are given opportunities to prepare presentations, do research on certain topics which they present and they also participate in mock UN Parliament, participate in Science Congress and Environment Congress, Olympiads etc.
U4UVoice: What can your child expect in an average day?
Rosamma T: A child can expect to gain knowledge through lessons taught, self confidence through experience and physical stamina self esteem through participation in game s and activities ,moral values and wisdom to choose what is right and a lot of opportunities to grow and discover their gifts and talents.
U4UVoice: What is the PTA like? How is parental involvement?
Rosamma T: Our parents are involved in the decision making activities by means of being members in the managing committee, by participating actively in the PTM. and through orientation held for parents at various intervals.
U4UVoice: What is this school’s approach to student discipline and safety?
Rosamma T: School conducts counseling sessions, spiritual awareness classes, meditation classes, moral education classes, yoga and karate to inculcate self discipline rather than discipline with punishment. Teachers and staff are there to assist when students enter and exit from school and a health in charge to monitor their health problems.
U4UVoice: What are your Views on Education in our Society? What are the changes according to you should be made to the same?
Rosamma T: Having multiple degrees for the sake of gaining a job is not considered education. To be educated means to grow in consciousness, to discipline oneself in order to become master of oneself, to overcome one’s weaknesses and ignorance and incapacities, to prepare oneself to advance in life towards a goal that is nobler, more generous, more sensitive to the needs of others and more true. The change need to be made from’ Me, Myself’ and my needs and convenience to an other centered life which is more satisfying and more harmonious.
U4UVoice: What are your views on Prime Minister’s Narender Modi’s live speech coverage and interaction on Teachers Day? You think such initiatives work for the betterment of students.
Rosamma T: Prime minister ‘s interactive session is appreciable. His initiatives towards children in the rural areas where there are no schools or infra structure, electricity or water or proper teachers needs attention as well. What about children who are doing child labour even today without proper place to stay or proper clothing and no school to go? Some initiatives towards these would bring about change in the society of ours.
U4UVoice: Message for the young students and parents:
Rosamma T: My message for the young students and parents are that we are all on a journey on this planet earth with a Divine purpose. Become aware of your higher self and ignite your dormant energy and let it guide your lives. Take pride in doing your best and attract the best to come to you by your positive thoughts.
Sr.Rosamma Thomas is the serving Principal at Presentation Convent School, Jammu