Niyati Chitkara, Director, Chitkara International School, speaks on the 20-year-long journey it took to establish the school and create a progressive and forward-thinking institution
The vision for Chitkara International School began about 20 years ago with a novice team with diverse academic and professional backgrounds. The dream was to build one of the best schools in the country. While it was clear to the team that they did not want to re-create an existing school structure, they began to research and gain experience in the education sector.
Reversing the model of education
Chitkara University was already running by the time Chitkara International School began. Niyati Chitkara and her team worked backwards from PhD to Diploma to K12 education, creating a model that took care of skilling and knowledge gaps that have long existed within the different sub-sectors of education. Reflecting back on the building of the school, Chitkara states, “I did my bachelors, masters and PhD along with working at the school and the unique part about my learning journey is that whatever I have studied, I have applied.”
Synergy between higher and secondary education
The advantage of having primary, secondary and higher education under one brand is allowing seamless transitions between the different levels of education. “We have university professors coming and teaching in school, we have university alumni and university students coming and teaching their juniors,” adds Chitkara while discussing bridging education gaps. She adds that students mentoring each other is crucial part of their pedagogy. This collaborative effort and creating synergy between university and school is the cornerstone of the Chitkara education ecosystem.
As the education landscape transforms, Chitkara International School leans more into its collaborative methods. Life-long learning and continuous skilling is required. Chitkara aims to create an environment where teachers can learn from students and students can learn from teachers. The discussion is both ways. Classes need to be interactive, engaging, future-centric, data-driven and scientific. It goes beyond boards towards sustainability and independence. Teachers play an important role in education and imparting knowledge, as Chitkara states, “Everything boils down to how innovative the teacher is and how supportive the teacher is. Therefore, one must not let the teacherness get out of your system.”