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June 18, 2020 IB Diploma Programme Information Session for ICSE Students

The IB Diploma Programme Information session was successfully conducted on Wednesday, 17 June, 2020 for ICSE students of the Grade 10 outgoing batch. The Dean of IBDP Mrs. Meenakshi Mehta, Deputy Dean Mrs. Shabnam Singha and DP Coordinator Mrs. Smita Satyarthi along with the IB DP students and educators initiated the session.

The students were briefed about the benefits of the diploma and how it is different from the traditional curriculum. The IB DP graduating batch students –  Shreen Kang and Paramveer shared their views on how the Diploma Programme broadened their knowledge and thinking. Paramveer further added how studying Visual Art assisted him to complete his research projects in various subject. The students of IB Y2 Rayhan Lehal and Manan Kansil gave their thoughts on the core elements: Extended Essay and CAS.

The school Counsellor, Ms. Nisha Kaul provided brief information on the Diploma Programme and how it is well-known throughout the world for the high quality of the coursework it offers. She further explained that doing well in one’s IB courses and earning the IB Diploma indicates to colleges that you are an objectively strong student.

The educators elucidated the ways in which each subject is studied differently. They briefed the students on how earning an IB Diploma also shows you’re willing to take on special academic challenges and chosen to go beyond the typical high school curriculum to pursue a goal that asks more of you, including significant independent work on topics of your own choice.

The session ended on a high note with an overview of the IB DP offerings and the rigorous pedagogical approach that it promises. Overall, the session effectively engaged the audience through its interesting format and presentation.

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May 29, 2020 GENDER EQUALITY FOR EVERYONE

What defines a gender? How should one react when someone close to them challenges their ‘assigned gender’? What does it mean to be gender diverse? What is the line separating feminism and misandry?

In this day and age, when ‘gender’ is a dominant topic of discussion in the media, such questions often arise in young minds but sadly go unanswered simply because of the lack of a safe environment for this kind of dialogue. On that note, the Strawberry Fields student body is taking steps in this direction.

The student representatives in association with the school alumni (SFOSA) hosted a Webinar on 28 May titled ‘Gender Equality for Everyone’. The event was moderated by Zorawar Singh (Batch of 2017) and the panelists included Rehmat Swani (Batch of 2021), Chaharika Uppal (Batch of 2022), Kudrat Singh (Batch of 2020), Manan Kansil (Batch of 2021), Vani Jain (Batch of 2021), and Mehtab Mallhi (Batch of 2021). Dr. Rajendra Gill, a professor in the Department of Sociology at Punjab University and Ms. Charu Bali, the first female Police Commissioner of Haryana, were present as Guest Speakers and took active part in the conversation which covered a myriad of gender issues including gender inequality, stereotypes, problems faced by people who lie on the LGBTQ spectrum and sexual harassment.

The main points brought out were as follows:

Rehmat Swani spoke about her own experiences trying to improve the level of discourse around gender, and introduced ‘Spectrum’- a gender club, open to the students of the High School, which seeks to create awareness and increase educational efforts to tackle issues, challenge ingrained cultural stereotypes, and call out inequality.

Chaharika Uppal talked about topics ranging from gender fluidity to how exposing students to the LGBTQ spectrum in a safe space could lead to the possibility of them developing a broader perspective. Additionally, she covered the disparity between men and women in media production and content.

Kudrat Singh covered the normalisation of rape culture in society. She commented on media being a major factor behind the distortion of the impressionable minds of youngsters by promoting chauvinistic ideals.

Manan Kansil brought out the negative repercussions of the ‘call out’ culture prevalent these days and the perils of believing every accusation put forth without checking for evidence supporting the claims. He stated that while he believes victims of sexual assault should be encouraged to speak up, one should not blindly support any baseless claims.

Vani Jain and Mehtab Mallhi stated that the education of our youth on such topics is of utmost importance and cannot be delayed any further. They talked about the introduction of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) as a subject in the school curriculum. Their aim is to ensure that students learn to manage emotions, set and aspire to reach self-determined positive goals with the help of trained teachers; learn about empathy, respect and making the right decisions through SEL.

The audience then put forth their questions to the Guest Speakers which led to another invigorating discussion. Zorawar Singh aptly concluded the session by saying, “We need to stand up for our fellow human beings and stop seeing through this lens of gender ”

By Siya Ahuja

12-B

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April 30, 2020 Earth Week Webinar

“COVID-19: A boon for mother Earth or a bane for Mankind – What should stay and what should go?”

This Earth Day, April 22, has been like no other. Live streamed discussions flooded the digital landscape, a global digital surge was evidenced and spokespersons from across the globe deliberated on the state of affairs being witnessed by the world at large. As the world battles the treacherous COVID-19 pandemic with solutions still nowhere in sight the situation is worrisome and grave. As world citizens, a blueprint for the way forward needs to be mapped by the youth – the generation that will face the aftermath of the pandemic created by coronavirus (COVID-19) most acutely. While Earth Day may have gone digital, the common goal remains the same: to mobilize the world to take the most meaningful actions to make a difference.

In an effort to give every voice a platform and demand bold action for people and the planet, student representatives of the Strawberry Fields High School and its alumni (SFOSA) joined forces to put forth a bold and unified demand for a new way forward via a Webinar dedicated to this cause which was aired online on Tuesday 28 April 2020 as a part of the Earth Week initiative.

Titled “COVID-19: A boon for mother Earth or a bane for Mankind – What should stay and what should go?” the webinar kicked off at 5:30 PM on 28th April, 2020 and overshot the stipulated time lasting till 7:00 PM. The event had over 70 attendees, comprising teachers, students and the alumni. The discussion was moderated by Vishesh Arora (Batch of 2017) and hosted by Mehakdeep Kaur (Bath of 2016). The panelists included Chaharika Uppal (Batch of 2022), Chaitanya Gupta (Batch of 2019), Mayank Jain (Batch of 2020), Paavna Pannu (Batch of 2022) and Zorawar Singh (Batch of 2017).

The key takeaways from the session were as follows:

Chaharika Uppal spoke about how the world will drastically change in terms of international relations and partnerships post the pandemic, and felt that the effects of the same may be unpredictable, and that it’s still premature to say what the dynamics will be. She also talked about how misinformation can impact practices and ideas adversely, and explained how one can avoid being prey to such misinformation or fake news. She answered a question wherein she articulated how the global “power balance” will change in the post pandemic world.

Mayank Jain spoke about the effects of the pandemic on the global economy, informing listeners about how this may lead to a global economic crisis, which will require huge efforts from both the public and private sector to solve completely. On the national front, he explained how migrant workers and daily wagers are the worst hit, and made a call to action for people to assist these groups in any manner possible.

Paavna Pannu voiced her views on the imperative need to acknowledge the positive impact of this global crisis on nature and the environment, and also follow best possible practices to sustain this impact, post the pandemic. She also stated that dietary habits of people across the globe might be affected, talking about sanitary requirements needed in wet markets, which sell meat. She opined on the effects of paranoia and public fear regarding consumption of meat in the future. She answered questions in which she explained the need for an extended lockdown in the interest of public well-being, while also acknowledging the need for suitable investment in line with environmental benefits.

Chaitanya Gupta talked about the impact of this crisis on interpersonal relationships, observing how there are adverse effects of decreased social interaction, ranging from mental health issues to increased abuse of alcohol and drugs. Chaitanya acknowledged the self healing phase of nature in the present day, and told the audience about how sustainable businesses and personal practices may help in reducing environmental damage in the future. He displayed a few infographics to provide a simplified and data supported view of the adverse effects of the virus on interpersonal relationships. He answered questions explaining the future opportunities in online business and education, emphasizing the importance of human interaction in both spheres.

Zorawar Singh shared personal experiences in politics and told the audience not only about how forthcoming elections will be battled out over social media, but also explained why this trend will not be a benchmark to continue campaigns. He stated that politicians, being elected to serve society, need to be physically and mentally present in their constituencies in order to lead correctly and efficiently. He also mentioned how this crisis has demanded more actionable accountability from politicians worldwide. He stated that policies should be more sustainable and environmentally conducive to better governance. He asked for people to be apolitical during these trying times and think of the greater good, rather than vested political benefit. He answered questions in which he emphasized the need for regulation in China’s wet markets. In an answer to a question, he expressed his view on the emergent need for better public health policies to be framed for the welfare of the populace.

The event witnessed an invigorating and engaging discussion from all panelists with concrete and pertinent viewpoints being shared. The audience participants too posed thought-provoking questions that added increased depth to the deliberation. Overall, the webinar received a positive response and we expect to host more such events in the near future.

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April 8, 2020 Durga Das Foundation donates Rs 10 lacs to PM Cares Fund to fight Covid-19

The Durga Das Foundation has donated Rs 10 lakh to the PM Cares Fund to fight COVID-19. The cheque was handed over to the Governor Punjab and Administrator UT, VP Singh Badnore This includes the Foundation’s contribution to which one day’s salary of all teachers and management of its Strawberry Fields Schools has been added. According to Atul Khanna, Director of the Foundation, “this is a voluntary effort which expresses solidarity to the cause, especially to strengthen efforts to feed the marginalised and to protect the salaries of daily wage workers.”

 

Meanwhile, the Foundation is ensuring that salaries of its 400 staff members which includes teachers, office staff and support staff in the form of bhaiyas and didis who are drawn from the lesser privileged backgrounds, are all paid on time. Every employee is being reassured that they are not alone and that together they will all tide over this dark period of uncertainty and impending gloom.

 

At a time when people are gripped with fear and uncertainty, hearing news of many who are stranded, losing jobs and unsure where their next meal is going to come from, these actions, hopefully give succor. The decision to contribute one day’s salary was a token gesture initiated by the teachers who wanted to be part of a larger collective initiative and one which demonstrated how tiny ripples could turn into waves. The Foundation would like to urge other educational institutions and think tanks to also step forward and do their bit.

 

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