Muzaffarnagar (The Hawk): An eminent educator Dr Mrinalini Anant, Principal, MG World Vision School, Muzaffar Nagar was recently interviewed by our EduReporter Mr SP Verma. The following is the essence of the interview.
When did you start your journey as an educator and how many years have you dedicated to this industry?
From 1995 when I started my journey as a Kindegarten teacher till date and I have worked my way up learning, knowing, enhancing and building myself all along the way. So, from 1995 onwards with a few breaks in between which were dedicated to child-rearing have an experience of close to 22 years out of which 17 years is as a Principal.
Describe one instance that led you to step into the education sector.
Honestly my presence in the education sector is completely by chance .I started my career as an air hostess of British Airways and my life meandered through matrimony ,motherhood ,overseas postings with my husband and also a corporate job in Tata consultancy wherein I realised corporate way of life is not my cup of tea .This is when my mother-in-law who was a huge encouragement to me and was also an educationist ,then serving as director of education Delhi administration suggested that I apply in school as a PGT English. I applied, was selected and from thence on started my sincere career in education.
What are the ways in which your school has reached out and connected with its neighbouring community?
Generating social awareness and working towards the protection of environment are two causes which are very close to my heart. My school is located in a very good gated colony and the fraternity is reaching out to the community in several ways be it doing yoga together ,planting trees in the neighbourhood ,adopting parks of the colony ,celebrating festivals like Vasant Panchami with the community ,enacting new Nukkad Nataks on social issues and much more .
What are your expectations from the teachers in your school and how do you help them work towards achieving the organisation's vision?
All I look forward from my team of teachers is their understanding of the system and using all the values of head and heart putting their best foot forward. Each team member has some special quality and all of them come together to make a formidable team which needs to be dedicated and committed to the cause of building a savvier and a stronger future generation.
How would you encourage developing leadership capacity in your students?
As a general rule as per my instructions the lesson plans of teachers and all activities whether co-curricular or extra curricular encapsulate the six core skills which includes leadership and the one or the other SDGs out of the 17 .To enable students to develop leadership qualities they are encouraged to lead teams in various in-house competitions as also they are assigned responsibilities as per their calibre and their public speaking is inculcated and brushed through compulsory public speaking in theme-based class assemblies and otherwise .
What were the greatest challenges you faced during your journey? How did you overcome these obstacles?
The greatest challenges that I have faced in my journey are clogged fixated mindsets of most of the parents who are completely blind to their child's potential and interest. The burgeoning weight of their own aspirations that they load their wards with makes it difficult for both parents and children .In such a scenario as an educator it's very challenging to maintain the fine balance and make both stakeholders envision and tread on the right track in the best interest of all .
The best way to overcome these challenges is keeping a composed and clear mind and counselling both parties in a comfortable atmosphere first separately and then together. Free communication without expectation can address most challenges of the world .
What are the values you wish to inculcate in your students?
I sincerely and avidly wish to instil values of both head and heart into my students. I want them to be modern in outlook and traditional in values .To have pride in the Indian culture and heritage and yet be gregarious and forward thinking in all that they try to do and most importantly to grow up with life skills and have a high emotional quotient to be not only employable but to be able to take all favourable and unfavourable in their stride and move on .
If you could bring a change in India's education system, what would that be?
If I have an opportunity to bring about a change in India's educational system I would like to invest my time and energy to quite some extent in state government schools and improvise their infrastructure as also build accountability of the staff. There they have a strict and streamlined selection procedure but further on the talent and calibre of teachers goes to waste due to lack of facilities and of minimal accountability while a heavy load is brought upon the exchequer owing to their high wages. Another area of concern which needs support is privately run CBSE and ICSE institutes which at times take advantage of staff while paying minimal and getting them to work inhuman hours. The vulnerability of staff is milked which does nothing to motivate them to invest in good work .
I also would want to involve parents and guardians a little more than usual to facilitate the grooming of students and holding them responsible and accountable in certain ways because atmosphere at home has a major role to play in the education and development of students .
At the end of the day the system should be streamlined in such a way that all stakeholders not only contribute but also take responsibility which in turn will help build a stronger generation.
Dr Mrinalini Anant, Principal, MG World Vision School, Muzaffar Nagar (UP) was born on August 8, 1976. She is a PhD in English literature. She started her journey as an educator in the year 1995 as a KG teacher and working her way up, was promoted as a school leader in January 2005. As Principal, MPGS, Shashtri Nagar, Meerut, she produced quality board results continuously. Having the experience of teaching on several countries, she looks to appraise herself with the work, which to her feels decently satisfactory in terms of job satisfaction. She has managed to do a lot of good work by her sheer interest to learn more , innovate , create , try and at times fail but most times succeed. Her exposure to different cultures and countries by virtue of her husband's postings (he is a Commanding Officer in Merchant Navy) and her passion to work to work with children and make a difference has always held her in good stead .
She has studied in an ICSE and ISC environment but got an opportunity to work with CBSE which she has always found far more practical and open to ideas and innovation in support of students . She has realised that her academic excellence at school and college enabled her to learn faster and better and she hopes to carry on contributing to the best of her ability as a school leader and mentor touching lives and making a difference. In a short phrase her philosophy is ' First love and then discipline.'
She is a 'Brand Ambassador', ISA, British Council India and is closely associated in identifying and nurturing schools for attaining International Standards.
Her additional interest and formal training in classical dance form of Bharatnatyam has enabled her to write , direct and produce several Ballets and dance dramas based on Indian rich culture like Amir Khusrau , Amrapali , Singhasan Battisi, etc., which won much critical acclaim.