“Build a sense of pride in your institution”
Having studied and taught at Miranda House before returning as principal, Pratibha Jolly talks about the personal bond she shares with her college. By Mridu Rai
Pratibha Jolly, principal Miranda House, says she is proud to serve her alma mater and believes that true education is not only about engaging the minds of young students but also involves engaging their hearts in equal measure.
HOLISTIC LEARNING When I was in school, I participated in a a number of different activities. I was involved with the theatre group, the fine arts society and I took part in debates as well. But my biggest interest was always basketball. I also represented the Delhi state basketball team. Even today, I often go to the court at Miranda House and try to shoot some baskets. A few years ago I could have scored from the half
line of the court but today I’m happy if I can just get a couple of shots in the basket. In school, I found time to take part and excel in many activities and sports but I never let them affect my studies. I was amongst the national CBSE toppers. I think it is possible to be an all-rounder and have always tried to encourage my students to participate in as many activities as they can. This way they not only develop a broad understanding of various theoretical issues but also discover their own hidden talents.
POSITIVE SPIRIT I did my undergraduate and graduate studies at Miranda House but never imagined that I would one day be heading the college. When I was first appointed the principal here, being a science student, I decided to look at the college as my laboratory and make gradual changes. It was not just about developing infrastructure but more importantly about developing a positive spirit and an active college community. I wanted both the students and the faculty to feel proud to be a Mirandian. This was my biggest task. Even today I try to meet with every student during admissions to establish an inital bond of trust and to let them know that I am accessible at all times.
COLLABORATIVE EFFORT At the new D.S. Kothari Centre for Research at Miranda House we have organised workshops financed by UNESCO on active learning. Then we have a programme we launched, when I was the chair of International Commission of Physics Education, which deals with strengthening physics education in the developing world. We have also held a workshop on the same with 40 participants and four international directors. This year we won a grant of nearly $60,000 which enabled nine of our faculty members to visit Sydney for three weeks and study about enhancing learning in the laboratories. Last week we were also invited by the University of New South Wales for a workshop in multimedia in active learning. Recently, a colleague of mine has received a grant of 70 lakh for her
` work on tuberculosis. So there is plenty for students and staff to be proud of at Miranda House today.
BEING A MIRANDIAN I’ve noticed that after the three years that each student spends at the college they graduate with a voice, a sense of belonging and pride in not only their college but also in their own achievements. College can really empower and change the life of a young student. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than to see this.