30th March 2020

Namashkar,

Since namaste is now the preferred mode of greeting all over the world, I thought that I should greet you appropriately! 

We are all going though troubled and testing times. Our lives have been disrupted suddenly and unexpectedly. While most of us are totally home-bound, we feel the urgent need to plan ahead so that we know exactly what to do when school reopens.

Our ‘lock-down’ time is being spent productively, preparing year-end reports, computing grades and arranging to send them across to parents/guardians electronically. We have been holding administrative and departmental meetings using various digital platforms. Many of our teachers have been holding virtual lessons with our senior students. However, we take comfort in the thought that when the official directive came to close all schools, we had completed our academic curriculum and examinations for the year 2019-20 and most of our students were expected to attend school only from 7th April, 2020 – the first day of the new session. Nevertheless, we do need to make up lost teaching-learning time since school will remain closed till at least mid-April. But it is not enough to just plan distance classes now and extra lessons after we re-open - we have to do much more to prepare for the post corona world.

By now, it is abundantly clear that when we go back to school, the world will be very different to the one we knew just a month ago. It is therefore imperative that we learn to adjust and adapt to the demands of a radically changed world. Apart from adjusting to the new circumstances, we have to do our own thinking and see how teaching and learning can continue effectively.

I find it ironical that we have just ended the year of Fitness, Health and Happiness and we were about to launch the theme for the new year, 2020-21, Clarity of Vision. Indeed, it is “clarity of vision” that will be needed desperately in these uncertain and confused times.

We at MHS have firmly resolved to be extra resilient, creative and resourceful as we know that if we wish to retain our stamp of excellence and serve our students well, we should be well ahead of the curve. 

With best wishes for the New School Year,

Devi Kar
March 2020

8th April 2019

 Focussing on "well-being" 

Modern High School for Girls, Kolkata, entered its 68th year in January. Our IB programme took off well last year and we will be welcoming the second batch of IB students later this month. Incidentally, today I embark on my 20th year at the helm of this School, first as Principal and then as Director.

Over the decades, MHS has earned a formidable reputation - nation-wide - in the field of academics as well as in co-curricular activities. Astonishingly, MHS has been the inter school athletic champion in the city for seven consecutive years! I must confess that I admire the way the School has been experimenting boldly and diving into all kinds of initiatives instead of following the beaten path to success.

Meanwhile, our alumni have been doing us proud all over the globe - so much so, that it is becoming increasingly difficult for us to choose a single ‘distinguished alumna’ among so many, to felicitate each year.

While I am filled with pride at the achievements of the School and marvel at the way the bar is progressively raised, I cannot help wondering whether we are paying enough attention to our children’s well-being. I have realised with a shock that a smiling child is not necessarily a happy child. So this year we have decided to have as our focus the happiness of each and every student of our school. Moreover, we will try to ensure that every MHS student learns to be strong and resilient and faces setbacks in a positive manner. Therefore the theme we have chosen for this year is as follows: “Our well-being-let’s be fit, healthy and happy.” This should apply to every member of the institution.

When I sit down to write my message in April, 2020, I hope to be able to declare with conviction, that MHS has a truly stress-free, happy yet stimulating environment. After all, most of us know that it is contentment and happiness that generate success - not the other way around.

Wishing all at MHS a happy and healthy new school year.

Devi Kar
April 2019

7th April 2018

Breaking Barriers

We began our new school year on 4th April, 2018, and I am writing my message for the year on 7th April. This is indeed unpardonable but we have been so preoccupied with new developments in addition to the usual end-of-year matters that the new session just caught us unawares. So I sat down with a sense of urgency, put my thoughts together and had them uploaded on our website.

It appears that our 67th year (2018-19) will be a landmark year in some ways. Our IB classes will be beginning and work on our new ‘green’ building will commence shortly. The Atal Tinkering Lab is expected to be operational and MEDHA will move into its second year. We are already excited about the initiatives we have thought up for the year but this time instead of just improving upon what we have already been doing we have made up our minds to break barriers.

What are these barriers? The one that our senior students wish to overcome are gender barriers. They wish to fight gender discrimination and they wish to gain more confidence to express themselves on different platforms and earn the right to be part of the policy making and decision making at home, in school and in the outside world. We realise that small girls are quite uninhibited but sadly, they are gradually conditioned to become passive and eventually they learn to keep their opinions to themselves. We must not let this happen.

The other barrier that we wish to try and demolish is this strange dependence on private tuition and an obsession with tests and exams. We want the focus to be on learning and on independent study. We will encourage our students to think about global issues and of ways to contribute to their community, country and to the planet. They must not think of stereo-typical careers for themselves – they must charter new paths.

In all this newness and breaking of barriers we will still be rooted in ‘the old and traditional’. This is the core of our philosophy. Therefore, it is not surprising that we have chosen, Learn from Nature as our theme for the year. After all, the most sophisticated of systems and technological inventions are based on bio-mimicry.  

Let us hope that with the support of our parents (without which we cannot achieve anything) alumnae and well-wishers we will continue to be a thinking, creative and innovative school which will not only break barriers but forge new paths to the future. 

Devi Kar
April 2018

5th April 2017

Preparing for tomorrow’s world

Ironically, it is the breakneck speed of change in today’s world that prompted us at MHS to take a good, hard look at our basics. It certainly appears that we have to constantly keep changing and reinventing ourselves not only to be able to function efficiently but indeed to survive. However, in order to embrace change and renew ourselves, we must first ensure that our educational foundation is firm and solid. It is only then that we can freely move in any direction we choose.

In this, our 66th year, I think we can safely say that our institution has been giving its students a sturdy foundation to build upon. In fact our theme for the year was, “Building on Basics” and we demonstrated the value of “basics” in myriad ways right through the session. Now it is time to look well beyond basics and to prepare to take a giant leap forward. Achieving high grades in academics, winning competitions at fests, breaking records in sports, creating beautiful works of art, being responsible consumers of energy and serving the community are ongoing year-round occupations. These are important but not enough to cope with a fast-changing environment.

Most of our younger children will, as adults, be in jobs and occupations that don’t even exist today. We are about to usher in the Fourth Industrial Revolution that will radically change the world we know. Driverless vehicles, sophisticated robots, artificial intelligence, bio-technology and genomics will bring about this transformation. Already the study of robotics has been introduced in many schools in India and in a couple of schools in our city. It is imperative for educators to recognise these signs of the times and focus on the skills that will be relevant in the years to come. Experts believe that even in a changed world some of the skills and attitudes that will continue to be valued are: adapting easily, communicating clearly and appropriately, presenting ideas powerfully, succinctly and elegantly and working collaboratively. It is not surprising that emotional intelligence, as an ingredient of success, is expected to retain its importance. Keeping tomorrow’s world in mind, we at Modern High, intend to focus even more intensely on team work, creativity, imaginative thinking and problem solving.

Modern High School for Girls is alma mater to a long and illustrious line of worthy women who have excelled in their respective fields. We are now ready to produce not only thinkers and innovators but also far better leaders than we have today.

Devi Kar
April 2017