Enhancing potential via international exposure

Enhancing potential via international exposure

Enhancing potential via international exposure

Arunabh Singh shares his experience with an international learning environment that empowered him to pursue his dreams and put him on the right path towards his life’s goal.

Iwas born into a very simple and ordinary background and saw my parents develop a school from scratch. My mother and father would work long hours and often carry back home their discussions about the school. By the time I grew up both of them were heading schools they had developed over the years, and in a way, the realm of academia in me can be said to be somewhat genetically inherited. I completed my school education from Delhi Public School, Noida and my first degree (BA Hons. in Sociology) from Hindu College, University of Delhi.

As I look back, I understand that the time I spent at school and in college was instrumental in shaping my personality to a great extent. My teachers had a strong imprint on my personality; they were a source of inspiration for me. Had I not received the motivating talks and guidance from my educational institutions at the most crucial points in my life, I might not have been able to develop into the person I am today. It was this impact of education and my parents’ role modeling that made me dream of developing efficient and progressive educational institutions one day. I wanted to run schools where learning was fun, enthralling and up to date; where the students would feel protected and cared for; schools which were ready to take on challenges of the future that were not even challenges yet. It was this dream that made me apply to the best UK universities for an MA in Education Management.

I set my own league table, prioritizing universities based on their education department ranking, college ranking, course content and location. Based on these, I applied to 13 different departments across UK universities and was fortunate to get an offer of acceptance from all of them. The more I read and researched, the more convinced I was to go to Kings College London as the department of education there was ranked way up at the top in the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) with a 5* ranking; the college campus was at the centre of London; my bus stop was the London Eye itself; and Kings College London had a tradition of excellence, with nine Nobel laureates till then (now ten). I was sure that I would get an opportunity to learn from and amongst the best in the world.

What I chose was a modular MA program, with thirty two students from twenty eight different countries and experiences.  I had to choose wisely amongst a plethora of options. In order to pursue my long term plans, I decided to study recent developments in education management, school effectiveness and improvement, teacher development and student assessment. The discussions in the lecture halls and outside were equally enriching and it was during this period that I had a realization of what quality education was all about and how it was different from mere literacy. I was beginning to figure out that there was always more than one way of doing the right thing and also why God had given us four input and one output devices amongst our five sense organs. The course was rigorous and tested me on points of creativity, comprehension, analysis and ability to perform beyond my own expectations. The library issued me up to twenty four books at a time and was open twenty four hours. As such, I was amused by this fact at the start of my degree and realized that this access to the latest knowledge from books and journals was integral to the success of an institution like Kings College London.

While I was studying at KCL, I had chosen to stay at the college residence at Great Dover Street as that was close to the college and also to London Bridge station, thus ensuring a convenient place to stay and access the umpteen opportunities London city had to offer in terms of its rich historical background, cultural heritage and buzzing night life. It was a self catered accommodation, the true meaning of which I only realized when I first stood in front of the hob and it downed on me that I would be cooking all my meals for the following one year. While living out there, I had some of the most amazing experiences I have ever had of community living. In my flat, we were seven from seven different countries, representing three different continents. Some of them became friends for life.
I am convinced that the MA in Education Management program at Kings College London empowered me to pursue my dreams and put me on the right path towards my life’s goal. I gained all the benefits of the established course content, the international learning environment, the economic advantage of a one-year program, and above all, a degree from an extremely reputed university in the heart of London.

After completing my studies, I stayed in UK to work for a while to gain from an international working environment. Since my return to India in 2006, I have dedicated myself towards the improvement of education quality across private and government school systems. I help in running two schools directly while helping several others by consulting them on various aspects of school development and effectiveness. I am also a trainer for British Council and CBSE and conduct trainings across India and the UK on school leadership  and teacher development.