Education Stalwarts 2021 | Alpa S Kotadia, Founder and Director Principal of Vapi Public School (CISCE) | Leaders in Education

Alpa S Kotadia, Founder and Director Principal of Vapi Public School (CISCE), one of the top Leaders in Education is with EducationToday sharing her experience.

Besides being a loving home maker, I consider myself an inspiring and motivating Principal for students & teachers of Vapi Public School. I hold a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Zoology as well as a B.Ed degree. I have done my MA in Sociology, and have also been awarded with an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Education and Parenting.

After completing my education, my dream was to have a school where children will love to come every day where they will play, have fun, and learn by doing.

When I relocated to Vapi, I got the chance to turn my dreams into reality by founding the Little Angels Trust and starting a pre-school in 2001, where minds are moulded in to wonders, its motto being ‘Education with Care’.

My aim was to help the children to attain educational eminence, develop the necessary skills required to succeed in life, and bring out their potentials while keeping their smiles on their faces. I wanted to strengthen the bond between the child and parent, student and teacher, and parent and teacher, which I carried out through various workshops.

I started Vapi Public School as a continuation of Little Angels Preschool and the idea to get it affiliated to CISCE dawned in my heart. The journey was certainly not through a path of roses.  Parents were not aware of the CISCE Board. Convincing them about adopting it despite it having a very child-friendly curriculum took some time. Vapi has floating population, and to get qualified and well-trained teachers and then retain them was another task. 

Having faith in myself and the confidence I gained as a child helped me to successfully overcome all the hurdles that I faced through the course of my journey. VPS became the first CISCE affiliated School in Vapi, with a vision to bring out broadminded, hardworking, and ethically strong global citizens and future leaders of tomorrow. This vision transformed our school into a system driven one which in turn acquired the prestigious NABET Accreditation.

An incident from when I was a teenager has been a major learning lesson for me. We were residing in Baroda. My father was unwell and he urgently wanted to go to the bank. I did not want him to drive so I offered to take him on my scooter. Two boys saw us and started to race with me distracting us using different tactics and not allowing me to proceed. I was willing to let it go. When we reached the bridge, it got more disturbing and my father told me to drive fast. He urged me to drive faster and faster till I could win over them by leaving them meters behind. And till now I have no idea how fast I rode. If I had slipped, it would have surely caused a terrible accident. But it didn’t. This incident taught me not to give up when challenged. I managed to instil the confidence, willpower, concentration and the belief in myself that “I can do it!” The memory of this experience takes me forward and helps me to stand strong in all the adverse circumstances life throws at me. I thank my father for moulding me into a bold person who can think and act independently.

As an educator, I firmly believe in the importance of developing the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) 2), Emotional Quotient (EQ) and Social Quotient (SQ) of my students. Our school thus incorporates the development of these into our annual curriculum. We focus on a theme-based academic plan that commences with a morning assembly that instils moral attributes. We conduct various social responsibility building activities like joy of giving, learning by performing activities like pottery, needle and thread. We also conduct satellite workshops and star gazing programmes as a part of the Astronomy club. ,Rifle shooting classes are also a part of our curriculum. 

I introduced the practice of ‘Pen Pictures’ in the school, wherein the teachers write down the character traits of their students from nursery onwards, and this is continued till class XII .This enables the next teacher of the child to know them even before they have met them.

I also introduced the concept of ‘Circle Time’ that focuses on developing the essential skills in students, such as leadership skills, problem solving abilities, etc.,  During this ‘Circle Time’, the students conduct a class meeting wherein they discuss the problems faced in the class and find the solutions for it on their own. In this process, the facilitator is the school counsellor.

I am honoured to have received a number of awards and certificates in recognition of my efforts in the education sector; some of which include the Certificate for outstanding support and cooperative participation in 55th AGM – 2012 of ASISC  (2012), Certificate for Leadership management for Heads of the Schools by CISCE (2012), Certificate of Participation on School Leadership BY IECS (Indira Educational Consultancy Services) (2013), Certificate for outstanding support and cooperative participation in 56th AGM – 2012 of ASISC (2013), and Citation for outstanding contribution towards promotion of art, instilling a keen sense of colour and form in children by Lalithkala Academy of fine Arts Education (2009). I have also received the “ShikshaBharti Award “ by Indian Achievers Forum at Delhi from the worthy hands of the IPS officer Ms. Kiran Bedi in 2013; and the Rashtriya Shikshak Samman award by Avantika group of contemporary and intellectuals from Minister Of State Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Mr. Parshottam Rupala, in 2016. I am also the recipient of Excellence School Leadership Award for Gujarat by Mind Mingle, 2018, and the Narishakti Award for Gujarat by the Brijbhoomi Foundation (2019). Under my leadership, VPS was accredited by NABET in the academic year 2018-19. VPS School has also won many awards like Safe Education Institute Award, and was declared as the second best ICSE School in Gujarat, by EducationToday.

In my journey of achieving excellence, I have been supported by my husband and children; as well as the trustees of my school, my team of teachers, staff, parents and of course, my students. Without their constant support, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve what I have

My message to the upcoming professionals in the field of education is that: Whatever one wants to achieve, can be achieved. We should empower ourselves by enhancing our emotional quotient through meditation. Have a positive attitude, believe in your ability, have willpower and always believe “I can do it”.

My efforts have brought my school to a high benchmark in the field of education, and I know I have miles and miles to travel.

Do check out experiences shared by our top 50 leaders in education. All of the Leaders in education who have shared their experience with us have been motivating and life changing.

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