Growing up in this highly intellectual and digital world has been an enjoyable task, as it holds incredible potential to bring imagination to reality. Here, with liberty ingrained in the very idea of success, humans have been surpassing the heights of innovation and creativity.
As stories of success around the world keep popping on our screens every now and then, the very significance of ‘Exploring Potential’ is being manifested extensively. Understanding that potential, motivation, and liberty are some of the key ingredients of success, some educational institutions have aimed at allowing students to discover their unexplored potential through innovative learning mechanisms.
One such school, established on the principles that allow holistic development of students and help them explore their potential, is Chitkara International School (CIS). Led by prominent impassioned educationists Dr Madhu Chitkara, the Chairperson and Dr Niyati Chitkara, the Director of the School, CIS is helping students to explore their innate potential by rendering them the liberty to choose their field of choice and implementing effectively a good many holistic educational strategies.
In an exclusive interview with The Knowledge Review, the dynamic duo of CIS shared the school’s inception story and its noble vision of nurturing leaders in a global landscape.
Laying the First Brick of CIS
While the idea of building an educational institute for holistic development was in its developmental stages, the founders of the school, Dr Madhu Chitkara and Dr Niyati Chitkara, decided to follow a sui-generis reversed integrated learning model from PhD to Playway to build the genesis of a truly international school, where learning is invariably at par with global standards.
Starting the journey in 2005 and being established with the aim of allowing students to explore their true potential, Chitkara International School represents a strong commitment towards ensuring educational excellence for the learners of the present generation and the generation to come with the promising tagline, ‘Explore Your Potential’.
The school has indubitably raised the bar for international education. Today, with multiple recognitions and coveted awards, including the accreditation from the National Accreditation Board for Education and Training (NABET), and Quality Council of India (QCI), Chitkara International School has carved a niche for itself in the northern region and presently boasts two equally committed branches—Chandigarh and Panchkula—while being recognised as a leading CBSE school in the country.
Talking about the school’s uniqueness in terms of its grandiose infrastructure, Dr Madhu Chitkara says, “The institution further boasts ultra-modern infrastructure and provides innovative learning spaces like theme-based classrooms, learning walkways, knowledge windows, sensory landmark & watermark, etc., which allow all kinds of learns to truly “explore their potential” and enhance their learning, in their own unique ways.“
Prospects of Exploring Unrevealed Potential
‘We will take a Hand, Open a Mind, Touch a Heart, and Shape the Future!’
– The school’s all-encompassing vision manifests the school’s sincere resolution to securing a bright future for its students. It constitutes a comprehensive approach to learning and serves as the ultimate aim of education for the holistic development of students at CIS.
Also, through the exceptional educational pedagogies, the enhancement of the Intelligence Quotient, Spiritual Quotient, Happiness Quotient and Emotional Quotient of students at CIS is dutifully ensured, and the competent faculty of the school strives hard to help their students lead a successful life.
Importantly, the core values of Chitkara International School are Integrity, Inclusivity, Innovativeness, Righteousness and Open-mindedness.
While talking about the school’s strong core values and environment, Dr Niyati Chitkara says, “A blend of strong research culture, university and industry connect, comprehensive faculty development programme, potent community network, functional assessment framework, and innovative learning tools is what sets Chitkara apart from others, and the school’s mission statement contains all such processes and objectives that make this blend a promising reality.“
The Visionary Dynamic Duo
Chitkara International School has grown to new heights, raising the bar for quality international education with inclusivity. The people behind the success of the school are its Chairperson, Dr Madhu Chitkara and Director, Dr Niyati Chitkara, who are also the school’s enterprising founders.
Dr Madhu Chitkara – A Celebrated Educator
Besides being the Chairperson of Chitkara International School, Dr Madhu Chitkara is also the Pro-chancellor of Chitkara University, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. Being a prominent educator herself, she brings an immensely rich experience of teaching and leading the institution to the table. It was her sheer dedication that turned the journey of CIS into a true-blue success story.
Describing her exceptional leadership skills and personality, Dr Niyati Chitkara says, “She’s a strong, dedicated, benevolent and highly involved leader who shows incredible trust in her team members and appreciates out-of-the-box thinking. Through her associations with many reputable organisations, she has contributed tremendously toward enhancing the outreach and development of the school and has effectively established a strong university school connection. Importantly, Dr Chitkara has also been recognised as a visionary EduLearner and Edupreneur of India by the former President, Sh. Pranab Mukherjee.“
Dr Niyati Chitkara – A Visionary Educator
Dr Niyati Chitkara is the Director of Chitkara International School, Chandigarh and Panchkula. Being a generation next educationist and a true teacher at heart, she works hard to ensure inclusivity, innovation, and efficacy in teaching.
Talking about her magnanimous persona, Dr Madhu Chitkara says, “She’s bold, charismatic, creative, understanding, and has an inherent appreciation for aesthetics. Her pursuit for excellence has allowed her to be named among 33 Young Rising Stars of Indian Education.”
Besides the aforementioned, Dr Niyati Chitkara is also the wonderful author of the book ‘Assessment Quotient’ and has participated as a Scholar in the TEDActive Conference organised by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
When asked about Dr Niyati Chitkara’s leadership achievements, Dr Madhu Chitkara says, “Owing to her impeccable leadership, the school has won scores of awards from reputable institutions like Department of Education, Chandigarh, Education World, CCPCR, ReThink India, International School Awards, ASMA, etc. Her marked emphasis on establishing, monitoring and following quality objectives in the campus has been instrumental for CIS in securing the Accreditation from NABET, Quality Council of India.“
A Comprehensive Development Approach
In the processes of Chitkara International School, students’ comprehensive and holistic development has invariably been the ultimate aim. The school recognises and acknowledges the magnitude of diversity that lies within each classroom and endeavours to provide a platform to students to improve their skills in their respective interests and fields.
In regard to rendering interest-specific education to students, Dr Niyati Chitkara mentions, “The school offers the students with 14 vocation-based co-curricular squads, which aim at helping the child, learn a concept in the way which suits him the best. Furthermore, through functional assessment tools like Revision Through Teaching and Open Book Revision, STEM-based modules under the ATL Programme, and pedagogical innovations like Brainwork, the school endeavours to elevate students’ analytical, critical and creative thinking skills, which remain essential for ensuring success in Industry 4.0. Simply put, the school is dedicated to nurturing successful problem-solvers who can navigate their way through any obstacles of life, both easily and effectively.“
A Truly International School
Chitkara International School is a truly international school where internationalisation forms the core of academic and extracurricular activities. Educational Internationalisation at both the branches of Chitkara International School is effectively ensured by:
- Focused lesson planning (international domain in teachers’ lesson plan format)
- International student exchange programmes
- International collaborations (over 200 collaborations)
- Ted Talks and Guest Lectures by International Faculty, shedding light on careers and courses abroad
- A dedicated office (Office of International Affairs) for helping and guiding students vis-à-vis pursuing courses or studies abroad
Modern-Day Pedagogical Aids
Engaging in a thought-provoking conversation about the school’s take on modern technology and innovative pedagogical practices along with the significance thereof, Dr Madhu Chitkara holds, “From the get-go, the focus of the CIS team has been on helping each child learn and learn successfully. For the same, various pedagogical aids such as overhead projectors, audio/ video aids, real-time objects, workshops, seminars, project work, theme-based classrooms, etc., are being employed to engage all kinds of learners at CIS, Chandigarh and Panchkula, actively. Through Knowledge Walkways, Career Windows, Green Windows, Multi-perspective teaching, Brainwork, etc., the school constantly strives to make sure that students with diverse skill sets succeed in their own personal endeavours.”
Some of the modern educational practices that are included in the school’s curriculum are:
- RTT (students become teachers) and OBR (open book exams) for Grade 3 to 8
- Theme-based workshops and events for all students (vocation-specific, interest-specific)
- SMART classrooms
- Cinemaestro (film-making competition) and Chefography (competition of the culinary arts)
- Usage of Real life objects (different types of stones, fabrics, etc.)
- 4P Learning Model and Frolic Fridays (Guest Lectures from Industry Experts) for Grade 11 and 12
- Theme-based Annual Functions (Fibre to Fabric, Architecture around the World, etc.)
- Inquiry-based Learning and ATL Modules (STEM Education)
Growth-Centric Student Engagement Model
Chitkara International School is run by some of the most proficient educators in the country. And since they all consider the importance of covering all domains (IQ, SQ, EQ and SQ), the student engagement model created at CIS is inclusive and well-thought-through.
Chiefly, the student engagement model at Chitkara International School, Chandigarh and Panchkula comprises:
- School’s Learning Management System (LMS) – SchoolPad for sharing details regarding school events, planners, students’ academic performance and co-curricular performance, examination and Olympiad information, and competition details and results.
- Innovative Curriculum, Inclusive Learning Spaces, and Reversed integrated Learning Model (PhD to Playway) – rendering inclusive, skill building and vocation-specific education to students with diverse needs and interests.
- School’s Social Media Platforms – to give updates on and share highlights of the school’s industrial, co-curricular, academic and international events.
- Online Polls on School’s LMS – to collect important data and relevant insights into different topics of interest.
- Goal Graph at the Beginning of the Term – to give students significant control and encouragement for learning as they set goals for themselves for the end of the term.
- Assignment of Significant Roles and CIS’s Student Council – Significant roles in the organising committee are assigned to students for various events, and smooth events are ensured through Student Council.
Preparing Students for a Successful Career
The school management has realised that for providing the students with a successful career, academic excellence is a supporting factor that contributes tremendously to enhancing one’s personality and skills. With a futuristic vision and an inclusive approach, here is how the school prepares its students for successful careers:
- The school’s Office of Career Guidance conducts aptitude and personality tests and provides career counselling and guidance based on collected data and pre-determined Career Structure
- Organisation of workshops, talks, and sessions by Industry-experts
- Conduct of mandatory career counselling sessions for students in Grade 10 and 12
- Sharing of the ‘Scope of Work’ in variegated fields through Career Windows (infographics showing jobs in different industries) with students
- Encouraging start-ups and entrepreneurship through programmes like Diamond Challenge
Awards, Achievements and Accolades
- “Samagra Shiksha Empowering India Award 2020” under the category Private School (Unaided) from the State of Punjab at the first edition of the Empowering India Awards.
- District-level Swachh Vidyalaya Puraskar 2017 in the subcategory of a toilet with a score of 100% and a 5-star rating by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, under the Swachh Bharat Swachh Vidyalaya (SBSV) Initiative.
- Accreditation by the National Accreditation Board for Education and Training (NABET) and Quality Council of India (QCI) for quality school governance.
- Sir C V Raman Award for Applied Physics by Rethink India.
- Shri Pranab Mukherjee, former Honorable President of India, honoured a student of Chitkara International School with a Special Achievement Award in the field of Sports.
- Recognised by the Chandigarh Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CCPCR) at their event ‘National Consultation of UTs on Creating Child-Friendly Cities’ for the school’s best practice, viz. Twinning Model – Sharing of Resources on Environment and Value Culture.
- Received the ‘Platinum’ Rank (platinum being the highest) from the Department of Education, Chandigarh (UT), PGIMER, Chandigarh and Indian Council of Medical Research under the School Health Accreditation Project.
- Chitkara International School, Panchkula, has been accorded the prestigious ‘IGBC Platinum Ranking’ by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) for its green initiatives and commitment to environmental conservation.
Envisioning the Future
With admirable conviction, both Dr Madhu Chitkara and Dr Niyati Chitkara express their belief in CIS’s unfathomable potential –
“From this time forth, the school envisions to cater to the community on a larger scale by coming up with more schools in the country, creating more jobs, sharing best practices with its counterparts, and contributing towards making India the highest performing education system in the world.”
“Chitkara International School provides incredible scholastic experience along with a great infrastructure and excellent teachers. The teaching methodologies here are unique, fun, and truly functional.”
“Chitkara International School is extremely transparent, and the learning doesn’t focus solely on marks. The school inspires the kids to aim high in their lives.”