Neeraj Kumar Bedhotiya, Principal, Daly College, Indore talked to NewsX exclusively for its special segment, NewsX India A-List. Bedhotiya, with more than three decades of experience in the field of education, is known for his dynamism, commitment to the process and shared his insights with us.
Talking about Daly College has adapted to the current situation of digital learning amidst the closure of schools due to the coronavirus pandemic, Bedhotiya said “We started pretty early actually long before lockdown. I read an article which sort of gave me an idea about how the pandemic will pan out. So we made WhatsApp groups at the beginning of March. And we started with asynchronous learning in March itself. In early April, then we talked, it looked like it was going to go far. So we had our meetings with the staff and Zoom came in and it was a boon for digital learning. We did online training with staff and had a successful end to the term in April.”
Bedhotiya stressed encouraging larger participation in co-curricular activities and other programmes even during the pandemic, “Mid May we did games and co-curricular activities classes to engage children. Children at that time because of the fear, chaos and uncertainty needed us the most. There was a great desire amongst the staff members to ensure continuity in learning, and that happened thanks to the digital platform. Our students did research, we collaborated with other IPSC schools in India.”
Daly College has truly made tremendous progress in revamping academic programmes during digital classrooms to suit 21st century needs and the Principal further added “Today we are successful in not only conducting classes but have done a lot of inter houses visual art, debating, drama and even masterclasses in games and co-curricular activities so that children continued to remain engaged apart from their academic classes. We are planning to do our annual prize-giving ceremony. This has been working very well, and it’s really appreciated by all.”
Addressing the financial impacts which was a challenging aspect of this pandemic, the Principal shared with us how the institute dealt during this current situation. “This was a time when we needed to connect with our stakeholders. Our management, the Board of Governors, took early decisions in this regard and gave huge discounts to parents both day-boarders and boarders. We also ensured that teachers get their full salary. Recently our school council took a great decision and had done fundraising for Class IV daily wages which we distributed during Diwali to make it better for them. There is a struggle and we make losses this year. But I think the 150-year-old school that we are, we need to show in this time, our caring attitude, or the good intent that we are all in it together.”
Parents highly appreciated us and even after discounts, they have been very generous with their fee deposition. We have an interesting community and I think we have all pulled together well,” Bedhotiya added.
Keeping pace with the times combining the best of tradition and modernity, Daly College is reaching its milestone year of completing 150th anniversary, the Principal threw light on how they are commemorating this special year. “So we had planned a mega event running through the year and even in fact started in the right earnest. In January, where a lot of students enter Inter-school under 14 tournaments, we were going to do the Kishangarh Shield which involves about 80 plus years of good rivalry between Mayo and Daly college. All those were planned, but obviously, it has to be put off and we have postponed those celebrations, but I can assure you through your medium to all my stakeholders, particularly the old boys who are very keen all over the world. We will be celebrating it pretty soon hopefully on the other side of the pandemic. We had also taken the unique initiative of making a movie on The Holkars, our patrons.”
On a concluding note, Bedhotiya shared the USP of Daly College, Indore and what sets it apart from other residential and day-boarding schools across the country, “It’s our 150-year-old legacy and heritage and one of the most beautiful campuses spread across 118 acres in the cleanest city of India. We have six-generation students coming in and we offer national and international curriculum, both Cambridge curriculum and CBSE curriculum is here. We have a sporting facility that’s at par with anywhere in the world. This school is known for its sporting achievements and infrastructure. We have a galaxy of alumni occupying positions of responsibility in various walks of life all over the world including at various levels in the Indian armed forces.”
“Our main building of unpolished marble is Indore’s most famous architectural marvel and most importantly we are a nonprofit organization. Everything we save goes on to do things for children and have qualified and experienced faculty. We have international linkages spread all over the world. We are members of Rounder square and also G30 which happens to be the only school in the country,” the Principal added.