Kiran Bir Sethi, Founder and Director of the Riverside School, Ahmedabad, Gujrat. She has been selected among the top 10 list for US$ 1 million Global Teacher Prize in the Global Education & Skill Forum 2015, which is almost equal to Nobel Prize for teachers. Among 5,000 nominations, 1,300 final applications from 127 countries including US, UK, Italy, Kenya, Uganda, India, Afghanistan, Australia, Argentina, Mexico and Jordan along with other countries, Kiran has placed herself in the top 10 list for her outstanding dedication in the profession.
Here is the email interview with her.
1. What do you think about the role of a teacher in this society?
2. How does it feel to be on the list of top 10 teachers in the world?
3. As you are from a design background, what really inspired you to choose this profession?
My son and his bleak education inspired me to start a school.
4. What do you think about the educational system in India?
I think it doesn’t serve the children of India.
5. These days children are known by the marks they acquire than their talent in other genre, what is your take on this issue?
According to me it is outdated way to define their identity - soon competencies are going to trump degrees.
6. Many villages in India do not even have a proper school or teacher, what about those children? Do you have any plans for them or any suggestion?
It is unimportant for just 'me' to have plans. This is a systemic issue and will need a systemic response. All children are at risk with the current education system - not just the children in our villages.
7. Many parents do not even know what their children are good at, what is your advice for those parents and their children?
My suggestion for those parents is to start having more conversations and less instruction with your children.
8. Our society has the stigma that doctors and engineers are the only options when it comes to career choice, how can we eradicate this stigma to make people aware of other career options?
It’s slowly changing. There is now a value for competency in any field – ‘A really great chef is better than a poorly qualified doctor! Make your passion your profession!’
9. What are your future plans after winning this prize?
‘If' I win the prize :-) no change in plans....will continue to do what I am currently doing - investing in the present to secure the future!
10. Teachers are considered as the building blocks of the society, what is your advice for the teachers of the nation, where every other day teachers are sacked for not taking their profession seriously?
High quality student learning cannot happen without high quality teacher training - keep investing, keep inspiring, keep patience, keep sharing! Nobody said teaching is easy, but it’s totally worth it!
The results will be announced next month by the Varkey Foundation in Dubai.