Academic in Pandemic

by Nupur Naithani
0 63 0.0/5

“This is an unprecedented situation.” sighed the Principal of GIIS, Abu Dhabi, turning off the television that had just been playing the 7 pm news. The WHO had just declared that the world was officially affected by the Covid19 pandemic. As if on cue, her phone dinged in succession, emails and messages, no doubt from concerned parents and teachers.

          The coordinators logged into their video conferencing app, with brows knit in concentration and worry. In five minutes, a meeting would begin with the management and authorities of the school and they would have to come up with a game plan to keep the classes going and to reassure the parents that everything would be under control. Of course, she had complete faith in the abilities of the teachers but the fact remained that this was a time wrought with uncertainty and panic and the announcement of the pandemic was soon turning into a Goliath and they felt like the terrorized villagers. The screen lit up and soon she was looking at the equally anxious faces of her colleagues. Everyone knew the magnitude of the metaphorical giant they were facing. And that is when it struck them. That is it! - To defeat Goliath, they needed a David.

Within hours, they began to form a plan. Using the “five stones” David metaphor, they laid their foundation. The first step would be to make sure every student and teacher had access to remote learning. Of course, learning from a casual home environment setting would require a certain level of discipline. But we did not have to worry about that. Every day for years, the students had been trained in meditation and the technique of “Heartfulness Relaxation” to increase concentration and productivity while attempting to reduce fears and anxiety. Teaching in a smart campus was the next strong weapon that helped to take the baby step. Rigorous training made the great success. We now had the main weapons to combat the COVID19 Goliath. Our Senior Director Ops moved the coin and consented to enhancing ICT virtually. The SLT Team designed this program by providing workshops and trainings on latest technological devices such as Camera Drones, IoT, artificial Intelligence, 3D Printing, space Education, coding and Robotics.

In addition, all the scheduled events like the tests, Investiture Ceremony, weekly PTMs, Health Awareness Competition, celebrations were not missed out keeping the Students and parents in the loop.

Within the week the plan was put into action. And of course, we saw victory. Online instruction has been running with almost no hiccups. Children met their friends virtually, interacted with teachers played quizzes, made presentations, and enjoyed co-curricular classes with a lot more….

Appreciations poured in! We were the pioneers!  The rates of admission sprang! David had truly defeated Goliath by the courage, confidence and hard work of the management, staff, teachers, students and parents and this is truly a testimony to the practices put in place even during normal situations in GIIS Abu Dhabi.

Lessons Learned


Lessons learned:

  • Senior Leaders create an environment for students’ and parents engagement, innovation and high performance
  • Effective communication mechanism must be initiated by senior leaders including use of media as a communication tool
  • Inspire and encourage your entire workforce to contribute, to develop and learn, to be innovative, and to embrace meaningful change.
  • Student-centered excellence leads to student and stakeholder acquisition, satisfaction, preference, and loyalty; to positive referrals; and, ultimately, to organizational sustainability.
  • Innovation leads an organization to new dimensions of performance
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