Article: Issues and Challenges faced by HR, in a school environment - WorldHRDiary

March 09, 2017

Article: Issues and Challenges faced by HR, in a school environment

Teaching is no longer considered a “Noble” profession. Today, if you ask a youngster what s/he wants to be, what are the odds that the response would be “A Teacher”? And therein lies my biggest challenge as an HR professional working in a school.

I recall the respect with which A.P.J. Abdul Kalam referred to his teachers, who contributed significantly in shaping his character, in his inspirational book – The Wings of Fire. We have all experienced this transformative power of a Good Teacher to a varying extent and understand at a personal level. If we were particularly fortunate, we had that one teacher who made school an exciting and welcoming place. That teacher, who possessed a passion for the subjects that s/he taught and had empathy for the students with whom s/he worked. One who inspired us to ask questions, explore, play with ideas, think deeply about the subject matter, take on more challenging work, and even pursue careers in a particular field of study. But more often than not, it was an exception rather than a norm. At Vega Schools, our endeavour is to make it a norm.

The first big step is to create a culture of trust and openness where creativity and innovation are nurtured and rewarded, not only amongst the students but most importantly with teachers. Where it is acceptable to make mistakes, and learn from them without the fear of getting judged. Where one continuously strives for excellence, as innovation without excellence will have no value. All this is feasible when you make a shift from the conventional command control culture prevalent at most schools today to a way of life that fosters collaboration and empathy.

The other critical gap to be bridged is talent. The HR Mantra that the corporate world lives by, “an organisation is as strong as its people”, cannot be truer for schools. For the most part, it is not a career of choice and then the compensation is not encouraging enough. As of today, from the available talent pool, selecting the “Right” candidate is the ultimate litmus test. The process of selection therefore has to be innovative and rigorous and mainly centred on evaluating the attitude and value system.

We should strive to find people for whom it is the “love of teaching” that is the eventual calling in life, people who have the passion to make a meaningful contribution to education. And not get limited to hiring from just the conventional sources or profile but from all walks of life.

Settling right between culture and people, connecting both, is the Progressive Mindset. The traditional mindset about education in India, whether it is schools, parents or teachers, stresses on standardised exams, preparing for competitions, securing a degree and getting a well paying job. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Every parent hopes for a secure and bright future for his/her child. What is alarming is the reality. The realities of mass-unemployment among the educated youth as the skills they possess may no longer be employable. Given a staggering population of 1.35 billion, it is puzzling that we face a shortage of talent. Human Resources Professionals and Business Leaders across industries have often expressed concern that it is getting increasingly difficult to get a candidate who has the relevant experience, credentials to be successful and requisite skills, especially softer skills like problem-solving, interpersonal skills, communication, teamwork, and leadership. Because a high-quality workforce is the most important determinant of business success, these challenges have a direct influence on organizations’ competitiveness both today and in the future.

Schools have to wake up to this grim and uncomfortable truth that its teaching methodology has to keep pace with the changing and unpredictable times. We can no longer afford to subject our children to one size fits all mentality, compromising their individuality and unique abilities.

HR at schools has to create an enabling environment where teachers unlearn the conventional model of teacher centric education and proactively adopt a child centric learning model. Academic rigor has to go hand in hand with inculcating 21st century skills of critical thinking, creativity and imagination, and collaboration

At Vega Schools, we are committed to make our teachers learning leaders who do not teach but lead the child’s learning, making them future ready with the skills for working in a complex and connected world.
Ruchi Rehan,
Head of People & Culture,Vega Schools, Gurgaon
This article has been written by Ruchi Rehan, Head of People & Culture, Vega Schools, Gurgaon.

Views expressed are personal


  1. Very well written and articulated. Just want to say that Schools now have a difficult task of making parents unlearn and make them learn to trust the new system.

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  2. Great insights to a oftenly overlooked segment. Thanks Ms. Rehan.

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