‘I feel more responsible now.. rural schools have to improve for overall improvement of school education’

Jyoti Arora, Principal of Mount Abu Public School, Rohini, Delhi and member governing board CBSE is winner of the National Teacher Award of the year 2020 in CBSE category

She is also the National Commissioner (G) of Hindustan Scouts & Guides.Prior to this year’s National Award, she has also received CBSE Principal National Award (2013), CBSE Mentor Award to the Principals (2012), State Teachers Award Government of NCT- Delhi (2008)

Autar Nehru spoke with her on this national recognition.

Congrats! How does it feel to be the lone winner from 23000+ CBSE schools?

Thank you. This is of course a matter of happiness, I feel now more responsible. I need to work in more mature way now onwards. There is exclusive feeling I should do more for the community and the larger society. At the same time, I also strongly feel and advocate the quota of CBSE schools in National Awards be increased.

May I ask, about the citation or the work that won you this prestigious award?

My real citation has been a three decade journey and nothing has come overnight. More than anybody else, I would thank my students whose inquisitive minds have led me to deep thinking and learning. The other component is of course community and society outreach. In our own reach, we have undertaken things which are innovative like adaptation and maintenance of a monument, starting engaging with fathers over a cup of tea as it is only mothers who are sent for PTMs and everything and anything to do with children. At the end of it all this gives me satisfaction and happiness and should I have asked for more.

Your work on SDGs has also won a special mention?

.As a proactive educationist and school leader, I am among those who have spotted the importance of sustainability and began educating my students on the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs). My school has been converted into a SGs lab and through a special designed Global Citizenship Curriculum, students are undergoing experiential learning of these goals through community projects and activity based learning.

Clean Yamuna campaign is also there?

Yes, though this year due to lockdown, we couldn’t physically undertake any activity there but yes we are very much into it. Clean Yamuna Campaign-Shuchi Yamuna-wherein about 2500 students from 100 schools go to Sonia Vihar river bank site and clean it up in addition to undertaking awareness drives is an important work in progress. 

Apart from academic innovations in teaching/learning process, you have been recognized for community services?

Yes, our school has launched several initiatives and quite a few of these have attracted a lot attention and appreciation. One such initiative is Mount Abu Touch, a signature community outreach program wherein a bus has been converted into a moving 3D lab and fitted with tech devices including a projector. The bus goes to nearby slums every Saturday and provides hands-on experience to poor students there who have only heard about technology but not seen or experienced it.

Let me share an interesting aspect of community with you. Whenever I have received cash as part of the award, I have always donated it to relief funds (PM or CM). But this time with Rs 1.10 lakh I received as part of the award, I have decided to utilize it for building a community library.. It is being readied on our junior wing at Shalimar Bagh and will be open in evening hours for all age groups 8 years upwards. I feel more responsible to community after this award and this one of my passionate projects.

You must very popular with many CBSE schools as you’re in third term as member in the governing council. So, what is special about you, if I may ask?

I have a soft corner for schools in our rural areas as these need mentoring and handholding as these have limited resources. I try my best to address these concerns.  My emphasis has always been on schools in rural areas be it during CCE workshops or inspections as part of CBSE, I always feel there is a lot of scope and need for to uplift these schools if we want to make our schooling a real success in this country. To answer your question, may be my work and connect with people makes me popular.   

Thank you