The Gera family is no stranger to Goa and Goans. Building communities in Pune, Goa, Bangalore and California since 1970, their latest venture in Goa, is into the world of education. Situated at the Kadamba plateau, The Gera School, a K-12 co-educational day-boarding international school has opened admissions for classes from nursery to grade IV. In conversation with NT KURIOCITY, managing director of Gera Developments, Rohit Gera, speaks about the school, their vision and more
Maria Fernandes | NT Kuriocity
“Every child is extraordinary, with the potential to excel in his or her field of interest and create a unique identity. At our school, we believe in encouraging children to follow their dream and mentoring them to achieve it. We believe in nurturing individuality and creating future-ready students. This motto stems from our desire to cater to each child’s innate, ability and also expose them to a variety of tools that will self motivate and encourage them to do and be much more!,” states Gera as he expounds the vision of the school. Affiliated to the Cambridge Assessment International Examinations (CAIE), a body certified by the University of Cambridge, the school has received the necessary permissions from the Department of Education and will commence classes from August this year.
Speaking about the reason behind setting up the school, Gera says: “Having established the Jai Hind Sindhu Education Trust in Pune, which caters to over 10,000 students from age 3 to 23, as part of an aided state-board school and college; my family is no stranger to the world of education. With our core belief that every child is unique, we realised that there was a gap in the education system. At the mass level, the system is fine however if the potential in a child is to be tapped at the individual level, then there certainly was a dire need to have a different system,” he says.
Asked about the choice of board, Gera answers: “The Cambridge programme has well-researched academic milestones that combine local and global perspective with well-defined frameworks for learning, namely – Cambridge Primary, Cambridge Secondary, The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) and A-levels.
In India the Cambridge curriculum has long been recognised as a quality educational partner to schools, ensuring that students taking the Grade 10 IGCSE examinations or the Grade 12 A-level examinations ease into any national or international college or university within the country as well as overseas. In addition there is a wide array of subjects that students can choose from and assessments are based on logic and reasoning. This enables them to have a strong foundation and do well in future entrance examinations they may be required to take.”
The international curriculum at the school will be a blend of academics, arts, music and sports. “The academic curriculum is designed to foster a sense of responsibility, critical thinking and reasoning, global awareness and civic engagement among the students. Our aim is to prepare them to be true citizens of the 21st century. Leading the child towards self-actualisation with a variety of challenging but enjoyable learning experiences in and out of the classroom is what we hope to achieve. We will combine the Cambridge curriculum framework with a practical and hands-on programme of differentiation for students, enabling them to take ownership and responsibility for their class-work, home-work and assessments which are periodically conducted as part of our “Checking for Understanding” philosophy. The teaching will be activity and application-based, experiential, interactive and differentiated (to cater to the different needs of learners). Field trips, mini seminars, internships are all part of our teaching methods. Our mission is to ensure the holistic education and overall development of the child,” adds Gera.
Today academic proficiency alone is not enough. A school must prepare children for a world that is constantly changing. In this respect a key area that the school will be focussing on is life skills. “Life skills as a part of the curriculum will include subjects like communication, conflict management, project management and entrepreneurship. These subjects will ensure that students are completely ready with knowledge, its application and use. Furthermore through this creative approach, they will be encouraged to become thinkers and creators as well inculcate resilience and perseverance,” he says.
Spread over 80,000 square meters, the school will have state-of-the-art infrastructure and facilities which include specially-designed smart classrooms, dedicated rooms for music, theatre and arts, a well-equipped and spacious library for collaborative and independent reading, a range of indoor and outdoor sports facilities, Science and Computer Laboratories. “Quality of education is very important to us and thus we will have only 30 students per class. This will enable teachers to give individual attention that the students require while at the same time enable each student to think and act independently,” he adds.
The school has appointed C Joseph as principal and Diana Charles as head-teacher training and education quality. “Joseph comes with more than twenty-five years of experience working in schools of great repute across India and Diana Charles who began her career in education about three decades ago has worked in schools across the country in the capacity of a teacher, a principal, academic director and a teacher trainer. Both have vertical and horizontal range of experience in schools with traditional and international curricula. Our teachers will be trained in our philosophy so that there is uniformity in teaching and there is clarity in the implementation of our vision,” he explains.
The school, Gera believes will cement their relationship with Goa: “Each real estate project lasts for a specific duration and upon completion, our role as the developer ends. The school however is a long-term venture and showcases our desire to contribute to the cause of education in Goa and reinforces our long-term commitment to the state.”