Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Defining Problems and Constraints at GIIS

Having been silent for a long time, I thought of sharing my views on GIIS. I recently shifted to KL and hence my son got in to GIIS in August. He studied earlier in Don Bosco Matunga, Mumbai which is one of the best educational institutes in India. The school paid a lot of attention (like most Jesuit schools) in overall development. Hence, having shifted here the difference was immediately noticed: The shift from Maharashtra State Board to CBSE itself is one huge change as CBSE is tougher on the child and more importantly there was hardly any activity in the school (though perceptually there is a lot going on in the School like music, dance, Taekwondo etc) whereas in Mumbai he had to trade off between Speech and Drama Classes v/s playing footbal v/s Music and Dance et.

My first reaction was that after having paid such huge fees why does my son get just a fraction of the facilities that he got in Mumbai. But, I also realised that the school, relatively newly started, is still struggling to put its infrastructure into place. I believe it is difficult for the school to find teachers (forget about being choosy about whether they are good or bad) in the first place, so you get teachers who are consistently changing or on leave, possibly because they are wives of expats or same teachers teaching multiple subjects despite not being adept at all of them.

We need to understand that there are problems and there are constraints. Problems can be overcome, but constraints cannot be. If we are facing lack of facilities then we need to get a clarification from the management as to whether it is because there is a genuine constraint or whether it is a problem and the management is simply taking no interest e.g. there may be employment caps on teachers working in Malaysia which means the school has to source teaching resources from Malaysia itself, but then does Malaysia have the resources? One can argue that if this is the case then why open a school at all. The point is that we as parents need to get a clear cut communication from the management as to what is the way ahead and how we can work together to solve it. The PSG should be an add-on to the existing infrastructure and not be to fill up voids within it. So it is important to understand the intent of the management (which I am sure will be good) and more importantly the efforts that it is putting in for the betterment of the students and where we could help e.g. could the expat Indians request the Malaysian govt. to relax immigration laws for teachers (This is just an example and may not in reality be the case)


Shiv said...

Very well articulated..indeed reflecting my position. I am Malaysian, and have 2 sons in the school. I can see the needs / expectations from Indian parents and Malaysian parents can be different. You have highlighted the need to be patient as this is a new school. However it is important parents have a clear idea from school management, so we can see how best we can accomodate / help the school.
Coming to the PSG and how it wil be set up / who its members will be, etc, any ideas out there what would be the best way to do this? There has been a suggestion we set a date and time and all interested parents turn up and vote.... It may not be as simple as that. There may be some who can't turn up, etc. , Or the people who do turn up, may only be representing a minority view. Bottom line, this is going to take a whole lot of dialogue and be an ongoing process. It'd be great if more can share their views, and perhaps meet again, even casually over a cup of tea, in small groups.. then share views again. Or should we all just follow the arrangement proposed by the Principal in her email to email our action plan and see what develops? I feel those interested should do this anyway. To finish off, once again I ask.. any ideas out there on next step in regard to the PSG?

Anonymous said...

Mr.Augustine and Mr.Shiva,

As one of the first parents who put his son in the school, let me tell you that the GIIS management here and at Singapore is very commercial, make a lot of empty promises and selectively use PSG for their goals.The expatriate teachers are a unhappy lot and the school was unable to stop a gentleman like Mr.Gopalakrishnan from leaving. People liek Mr.Manoj who is just an administrator with non-academic interests can't solve our problems. The roots of the problem lie in Singapore where the parent school is facing an exodus of students.Let us wait and watch. I say this as someone who has seen both the schools