The dawn of COVID-19 has provided a window of opportunities to usher transformational changes in the schooling system. It has also reinforced the truth that the role of a ‘teacher’ is crucial for the system to succeed. Embracing technology, schools have been using strategies to help children become independent learners, with teachers graduating to the role of facilitators rather than just instruction givers. Driving on various aspects of innovation-filled education curves, Birla Balika Vidyapeeth is shifting from brick-and-mortar schooling to co-exist with online learning, while designing and developing a new curriculum, that combines classroom-based and online learning to provide a continuum of learning that helps to define a learning path for all its students.
Established in 1941 with a sole aim to educate the girls of freedom fighters, Birla Balika Vidyapeeth (BBV) was founded by the great visionary and Philanthropist Syt. G D Birlaji, who was a renowned Business Leader of the era. Coming out as a unique effort to address the need to nurture the brilliance of the girl child, that too in a remote village of Rajasthan, BBV initially showed steady progress, and eventually all thanks to it’s hard work and dedication, it is affiliated to CBSE, New Delhi since 1967. Furthermore, progressing each day towards maintaining an excellent Academic Record through the years, BBV has now become an epitome of providing an all-rounded personality development with its innumerable curricular and co-curricular activities, envisioned to be a pre-eminent center of learning for giving finest inheritance to the girl child to be future leaders with global perspective and Indian Ethos.
Being a progressive institution of learning and imparting Quality Education steeply rooted with Indian ethos and values, BBV is built on a pollution free campus, equipped with latest physical as well as ICT-enabled amenities and facilities, providing happy learning for all. Also, boasting of a strong alumni network, the school has had 3 National Awardees, namely – Mrs. V G Pattammal, Dr. M Kasturi, and Mrs. Achala Verma having had or currently serving as a vital part of the functional team of BBV. “At Birla Balika Vidyapeeth, the focus is ‘the learner’, hence teachers understand the needs of the learners and customize their methodology, based on classroom demography, subject area”, shares Dr. M. Kasturi, the principal of BBV. Talking to us and our fellow readers about the impressive ethos present at BBV, the current principal – Dr. M. Kasturi and Mrs. Achala Verma, the Dean Academics, gave us clear insights into the working and operations of the school, addressing all the points and questions posed to them pertaining to the education needed by the Gen-Z. “The teaching methodology adopted here is student-centric focusing on activity based, integrated project based, problem solving and inquiry-based learning”, added Mrs. Achala Verma to the above statement made by her colleague. Through the conversation we also learnt that an everyday classroom transaction at BBV is vibrant and interactive aided with smart boards, teaching aids, practical examples and outside the classroom learning opportunities, making it easy for all its students to learn and grow, irrespective of the medium of teaching used.
Mentoring young minds of tomorrow
While the major focus area while planning the curriculum is on real-life application of concepts at BBV, textbook content, hands-on activities, activity based teaching learning is emphasized equally. Additionally, group discussions, role play, panel discussion on current issues, field visits, lab activities, survey based projects, organizing expert lectures and conducting quizzes help in ensuring practical knowledge and developing independent thinking of students. Moreover, with the government laying out new guidelines to be followed based on the New Education Policy 2020, Birla Balika Vidyapeeth is slowly adapting and planning integrating practical real-life application of concepts, hands-on activities, worksheets, quizzes and space to allow the child to think out of box. “The pedagogy adopted here is student-centric focusing on activity based, integrated project based, problem solving and inquiry-based learning, which goes along with the norms of the NEP 2020”, stated – Dr. M. Kasturi.
Providing a tranquil, safe, secure, comfortable and conducive learning environment to students and teachers, the State of the Art School Campus with its flora and fauna provides positivity all around true to the quote “Home away from home”. The Classrooms are spacious and well ventilated equipped with Smart Boards. The School maintains labs for Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Biotechnology, Mathematics, Social Science, Psychology, Home Science, English language lab. The School has well equipped Computer labs (Senior and Junior) and e-learning center, a hardware lab, well stocked Library with computers to assess e-books, an Audio Visual Room with modern facilities for presentations. The School is under CCTV Surveillance with a monitoring room to ensure safety of staff and students. The teachers are computer literate and trained to handle Microsoft Teams which made transition to online teaching quick and easy during Pandemic. The School had no backlog related to teaching learning during the lockdown. Regular scheduled classroom teaching with permissible screen time was conducted during lockdown, where activities like webinars, panel discussions, debates, performing art, celebrations and Parent Teacher meetings were smoothly organized on MS Teams.
Putting all its best efforts to develop individual confidence among both students and teachers, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities are held on a regular basis, so that a strong mentor-mentee relationship is maintained at BBV. Also, ensuring holistic development students are made aware of the world outside, and are motivated to wholeheartedly participate and organize school events and activities, Participate in International Exchange Programs, International Tours, Inter School Literary activities like debates, declamations, Elocution, role play, group discussion, Essay writing, seminars and conferences, etc, along with virtual interactions with Alumna from different field. Regular career counseling sessions too are held in collaboration with top institutions. All in all, being a strong believer that an updated & motivated teacher would impart the right education to students of tomorrow, accordingly, faculty development is a top priority at BBV, where the Birla Education Trust organizes Annual Conference on Progressive Educational Practices and BET Faculty Development Program inviting eminent speakers and also providing opportunity to Principals and teachers to present on specific topics. Lastly, having its genesis as a unique Girls’ boarding school, and a humble philanthropic mission to educate girls at the round, the school since its inception has blazed new trails of excellence in consonance with the changing educational scenario and national aspirations as well, and by the amount of awards and recognitions it has been receiving off late, the goal and vision remains the same at BBV, striving on the lines of its founder and Guruji himself, continuing to impart educational excellence, day in and day out.
Dr. M Kasturi – Principal
An individual with a long list of educational achievements credited to her name, including an M Sc, M Phil, M Ed., Ph D, is serving as a Principal of senior secondary CBSE schools for 25 years.
Dr Kasturi joined as the principal of Birla Balika Vidyapeeth, Pilani in January 2006 and has made a significant contribution to the development of the school, currently ranked No 1 in Rajasthan and No 2 in India amongst the Residential Public Schools for Girls. Dr Kasturi has been awarded with several academic awards, the most significant being the National Award, by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, conferred by the President of India in the year 2013. Dr. M. Kasturi, besides being a mentor for M Ed and M Phil graduates, authored two books along with Dr. Rajneesh Prajapat, PGT Biotechnology “Fundamentals of Medical Biotechnology”, published by Nova Publishers, USA and “A textbook on Medical Diagnostics” published by Noshan Press India & Singapore which is available on amazon and Flipkart. Prior to academics in schools, she has been in research activities in the field of Reproductive Health and published seven Research papers in the Journals of International Repute and has published several articles on quality Education in school magazines, journals and newspapers.
Mrs. Achala Verma – Dean Academics
An immensely creative personality at heart Mrs. Achala Verma, who holds varied degrees revolving around the field of Mathematics and teaching, is a passionate Mathematics Teacher with 25 years of experience. Presently, along with being a Dean Academics of Birla Balika Vidyapeeth, Pilani, Rajasthan, she is also the School ICT Lead teacher, Accreditation Coordinator and IPSC Representative. She has been conferred with the National Award to Teachers 2021 for her innovative methods of teaching. She has mentored more than 1000 students to pursue Mathematics and understands its importance in attaining success in every career they choose. During Pandemic she created a School Maths Blog PIOneers to display the work of students, organized Quizzes, made learning easy and interesting with help of free apps and actively involved students in the learning process.