Kaizen: The Motto At DPS STS School Dhaka
DPS STS School Dhaka, one of the most prominent private schools in the nation’s capital to follow the Cambridge curriculum, has adopted a strategy of Kaizen, the Japanese term for continuous improvement while preparing its Grade 9-12 students for their IGCSE O’ level and GCE ”A’ level examinations.
Kaizen, which is mainly applied to manufacturing operations, is based on five principles: “Know your Customer, let it Flow, Go to Gemba, Empower People, and Be Transparent.” This piece will feature statements from the leadership team of DPS STS School Dhaka to show how Kaizen is being achieved in the preparation for Cambridge board examinations.
Regarding the teaching strategy, the Head of Upper Secondary School (Grades 9-12) Shegufta Hasan Khan said, “One way we are achieving academic excellence is through our Performance Enhancement Class (PEC) programme. There are two kinds of PEC programmes; one for the toppers, called the ‘Potential World Toppers’ programme, and the other is for students not performing up to their potential, which is titled ‘Low Achievers,’ and both kinds of PECs take place separately. The Toppers’ PEC programme focuses on ensuring the top students, who are identified early at the beginning of the school year, continue to achieve the highest results in any kind of examination. The ‘Low Achievers’ PEC programme focuses on doing make-up work on specific topics and subjects, where the student has shortcomings. “
The Dean of Academics for Grades 9-12, Sangeeta Deedwania, outlined a comprehensive list of continuous improvement strategies implemented by the DPS STS School Dhaka to achieve the best results possible in the Cambridge board examinations:
- Students can select the teacher they can easily connect with and solve topic-wise worksheets from Cambridge’s past question papers.
- Depending on their subject choice students attend classes till 12:30 pm on school days and utilize the rest of the school hours for self-study or PEC. In PECs the students seek help from subject teachers on an individual basis.
- Unit tests are being conducted regularly to assess the student, and extra help is given wherever required. A minimum of two written assessments are conducted every month.
- Lesson Observations (LO) are being conducted regularly for all teachers, and individual feedback is given on the observations, to ensure that a consistent approach is followed in every class. Every teacher gets a chance to observe some of their peers and be observed by co-teachers and Heads of Departments (HOD).
- Each student is set an achievable target for their opted subjects and planning strategies to achieve the same. Students are given follow-up meetings if targets are not met so that they can get extra help from teachers. Teachers also share their targeted average result for the class based on the individual target set by their students.
- There are regular visits from renowned universities. This is helping the students to know the specific requirement for admission to premier universities of the world.
Ms Sangeeta also said that “Based on individual appointments, five to seven sets of parents are visiting the school daily to discuss with teachers the academic progress of their child, and to be aware of the necessary changes that are being made to help the learning of their child. And there are two comprehensive Parents’ Teachers Meetings held in every term.”
The Head of Senior School of DPS STS School Dhaka, Tarana Majid Ahmed, added that “As far as the lessons are concerned, detailed explanations with resources and videos by teachers for quality learning are given in every class. Specific resources and explanation rubrics for individual students are also provided. There are repeated sessions on motivation and guidance on specific study patterns by the HODs. There are also regular sessions by counselors on keeping subjects or changing them so that students are not overburdened.
“The DPS STS School Dhaka’s teachers are annually trained by the Cambridge Assessment International Education Board’s highly qualified international trainers. This ensures that the teachers are exactly aware of what to teach and how to teach in the Cambridge curriculum, and this is an important factor in helping the students get the best grades. Sessions by career counsellors are conducted to motivate students and guide them for university placements. This makes students have a vision and they tend to pay more attention to academics,” Ms Tarana added.
In regards to the continuous improvement goal of DPS STS School Dhaka, the Principal Dr C.S. Shivananda said, “the students who are achieving continuous improvement are presented with the Kaizen Award. This award is applicable right from Grades 1 to 12. If a student improves by at least 5% in terms of scores in the final term in comparison to the first term, they receive a Kaizen Award, and the students proudly wear their Kaizen badge. We also have Scholar Awards for all the students, who achieve at least 90% and above aggregate marks in subjects from Grades 1 to 12. In addition to that we have a Subject Topper Award from Grade 5 onwards.
“DPS STS has lots of students who do not go to any external coaching, and only depend on the school teacher for their learning, and they have been topping every class mocks. When students do not go to any coaching centre they save a lot of time, which would have been otherwise wasted on the road. This ‘saved time’ they can utilize for self-study. DPS STS School Dhaka’s students spend a lot of time in self-study, getting clarifications from one specific subject teacher, and depending on the same teacher for mentorship,” the Principal added.
Regarding DPS STS School Dhaka’s achievements, the Principal said, “Our students have been receiving accolades, such as world highest, and country highest on Cambridge Board examinations, in almost every year since 2016. DPS STS School Dhaka was put right on the world map when it achieved an award for the Best Online Education Provider in Asia.
“DPS STS has a high and very impressive placement record, wherein 80% to 85% of the students get accepted in the top 100 universities of the world year after year,” the Principal added.
The Principal of DPS STS School Dhaka also mentioned that groups of students inspire and motivate each other during the preparation for board examinations. This is called the Social Study Group (SSG). Students who achieve the World Topper award are given an Apple iPad from school as well as the Cambridge recognition. And the teacher who prepares and mentors such students will receive a month’s salary as a bonus.
After all these strategies, it is a small wonder that DPS STS School Dhaka has had over 200 International and National awards for educational excellence since 2016. DPS STS School Dhaka has seven Top in the World, 27 Top in the Country, and five High Achievement Outstanding Cambridge Learners Awards in IGCSE O’ level and GCE AS and A’ level examinations.