Starting with a musical performance from the students of Kalkeri Sangeeth Vidyalaya, day three of the Excellence in School Education conclave began on a creative note. The opening panel, chaired by Tara Kini, an independent education consultant, was represented by schools, higher education, the larger society and industry.
Barbabra Schmid, the social welfare manager from Kalkeri Sangeeth Vidyalaya a school in Dharwad began the morning's talk. The school empowers, supports and encourages children from socially marginalized backgrounds through comprehensive education which includes academics and music. Taking up the theme of music, Barbara illustrated how the study of music lends itself to improving academic and social development in students and how studying music lends itself to developing a success psychology. She explained that music is not just a recreational activity,it stimulates our brain processes in many ways. Promoting a sense of belonging and acceptance and developing a child's internal locus of control are all central to a child feeling successful.
Taking up a different perspective, Dr .S. Ghosal gave a talk entitled “Contemporary design education for the creative industry and economy” where he addressed the need to create value addition for the future.
Bringing another perspective to the conference, Dr. Ms.Ajantha Perara from Sri Lanka gave a dynamic and engaging talk entitled “Beauty is in caring for a life- Responsibility of parents and society.” She asked the gathering,: “How often do we say thank you for the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat?” Connecting her passion for preserving the environment with her love for people from all backgrounds, Dr. Perara explained the work she has done with the rag pickers' children in Sri Lanka. Visiting the garbage dumps she has tackled both the environmental and social challenges of these locations. Earning the nickname “Queen of Garbage” she has advocated waste management, recycling and composting. However, she has also brought the children of rag pickers into the realm of formal schooling-overseeing and advocating for their academic success.
Mr. Ajay Krishnan of Cisco, a conference sponsor, continued on the theme of opening up quality education for under-served children. Speaking about an exciting technology platform developed by Cisco, Mr. Ajay explained how students in remote rural areas can have access to specialist teachers via a two-way internet connection. An exciting prospect for the future of education in a country with a growing school age population!