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‘Man-making and nation-building is our precious undertaking’

Mrs. Sushma Paul Berlia, Co-Promoter & President, Apeejay Stya & Svran and Group Chairman, Apeejay Education Society, says for over 50 years the thrust of Apeejay is to help actualise the potential of a child in all dimensions – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

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Mrs. Berlia was speaking at the Inaugural Address of the Online Workshop on ‘NABET Accreditation Standard for Quality School Governance.’ The National Accreditation Board for Education and Training (NABET) is one of the statutory boards of the Quality Council of India (QCI), an autonomous body under Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India. Set up in 1997, QCI is mandated for accreditation of Education/ Training institutions and personal certifications. NABET provides accreditation to schools, training course providers and auditors that meet the Board’s criteria and also offers a mechanism for their international recognition.

Speaking at the inaugural Address Mrs. Berlia, said, “QCI is known for doing quality work in the field of education. We are taking this initiative (NABET Accreditation) for two of our schools, Apeejay School, Panchsheel Park and Apeejay School, Pitampura. I had the privilege to be the founder President of the Education Promotion Society for India for a number of years. I was also on the governing council of The National Board of Accreditation established by the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE). So I am not unfamiliar with the process of accreditation. Our higher education institutions are both NBA as well as National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) accredited. In fact, our Apeejay College of Fine Arts in Jalandhar has been termed by the UGC as an institute with Potential for Excellence. It’s been a privilege to start this (accreditation) process for our schools as well.”

Mrs. Berlia further explained how Apeejay is committed to quality education of global dimensions leading to man-making and nation-building. “We started this journey more than 50 years ago with the vision of my late father, Dr. Stya Paul, (Founder Chairman, Apeejay Education Society) to establish educational institutions for ‘man-making and nation-building.’ We need to recognise that these are not mere ‘brand sounding words’ or words just for the sake of setting a vision. Dr. Stya Paul was a freedom fighter and to him every letter of those words meant deeply. So when he spoke of ‘man-making and nation-building’, it was a precious undertaking from a freedom fighter who lived to see his country awake to freedom.  The first school was set up in Jalandhar and over time a number of other schools were set up, but the focus was always on quality. We are talking about ‘quality education’ in the backdrop of New Education Policy, but you can imagine more than 50 years ago Dr. Stya Paul was talking about the kind of education that would help actualise the potential of a child in all dimensions- whether physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. Therefore, all our schools right from the beginning have been working on inculcating human values, scientific temper, music, dance, debate and all kinds of skills in students.”

‘For us, being quality conscious is a way of life’

Mrs. Berlia said we live and breathe the mantra of ‘excelling’. “For us, being quality conscious is a way of life. It is very important for any institution or entity to set itself to measurable benchmarks  and be able to ensure that processes and systems are not only being effectively in place, but are being benchmarked against the best across India, if not the world. It keeps us on our toes. It also helps us to learn from others, after all, we can’t say that everything can be invented from within the system. At the end of the day, quality is not an accident, it’s not something that happens, and it’s something you make happen by design. Apeejay Schools will be there for hundreds of years, so we have to put in place robust systems, practices and processes that will allow us to continue our journey of excelling in all ways. It’s very easy to become complacent and I hope this exercise will enable us to see from outside-in the gaps, so that we can fill them. We are taking this exercise very seriously.”

Mrs. Berlia said the Apeejay schools bear the motto- ‘Soaring High is My Nature’, exemplifying the fact that the sky’s the limit in the pursuit of excellence. “I would like to end by sharing an Urdu couplet which is the inspiration behind our group’s motto – ‘Soaring high is my nature’.  ‘Tu Shaheen hai parwaz hai kaam tera, tere saamne aasman aur bhi hain’ (You are a falcon. Soaring high is your nature. There are skies yet for you to conquer). We always believe no matter how far we have come, there is so much more we can accomplish.”

Benefits of NABET accreditation

In the welcome address Ms. Madhu Ahluwalia, Senior Advisor, QCI said, “NABET has assessed around 6,000 schools till now. In fact, we did a major project with the Delhi government in 2018-19 wherein we assessed over 5,000 schools. We also work with Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) and National Commission for Protection of Child Rights to conduct a lot of impact studies and provide recommendations to policy makers. This is a great initiative that Apeejay Education Society has taken to get the schools to understand where they stand and if there are gaps, how to plug them.”

The overall benefits of NABET accreditation include, “to conceptualise national curricular objectives in school processes, standardise school processes as per national/international requirements, design school governance structure and methodologies, enhance the teaching / learning process, design performance measurement and evaluation methods, improved quality of education, holistic/balanced education helping students for personality development, organised and transparent school system for better day-to-day experience for students and parents, feedback system to get student and parents issues addressed, etc.

Dheeraj Sharma is Asst. Editor (Newsroom). He covers events, webinars, conducts interviews and brings you exciting news snippets. He has over 10 years' of experience in prominent media organizations. He takes pleasure in the small things in life and believes a healthy work-life balance is key to happiness. You can reach him at [email protected]

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