I am sometimes reminded by my mother that, when she was the CE of Beaconhouse, she used to visit every school, every year (I’m sure you can imagine how the rest of this conversation goes..!).  I will often reply (in a manner that can best be described as ‘cautiously defensive’) that we are now a much larger organization with increasingly complex demands (confirmed by the existence of an endless list of mysterious acronyms such as ETAC, ADEC, PBL, SLICT, EBITDA, DTWICT, RPD, ERP, TNS, AST, SIS, HEX, TBT, EYE, ELD, SOT – the list goes on and on!) and are operating in not 4, nor 8, but Nine countries … but, deep down, it continues to rankle me that I am not able to visit schools as frequently as I should because, at the end of the day, even I know that the only acronym that really matters is ‘BSS’.

A couple of years ago, I started to think how wonderful it would be if I could ‘virtually’ engage with all teachers across BSS – and hear back from them.  I realized it would still be a poor substitute for actually visiting schools but felt it would be far better than zero contact with the people who matter most.  This idea has taken many manifestations in my mind.

A case in point: a couple of years ago, I called the Head of IT, Mr Aslam Sharif, into my office and demanded that a video wall with multiple monitors be installed in my office that would provide me with live feeds from classrooms across Beaconhouse – with the ability to tune into audio as well – so that I could see – and hear – what the teacher in 3-Red in Gulshan Primary II, for instance, was saying to little Muneeb Hassan (Eeeeek – say the teachers!).  Aslam Sharif looked at me like I was a misguided voyeur but instantly assured me that this was eminently doable.

On another (less insane) occasion, I told him that I wanted an Internet-enabled system for talking to all teachers and hearing back from them – in real time.

As often happens, this was all pushed into the black hole of ‘KK’s unfulfilled desires’ by the mundane demands of day-to-day existence – such as dealing with the escapades of LDA (another delightful acronym) and other such pursuits.

I was therefore delighted, a few days ago, to accept the joint offer of the Heads of Academics, Technology, and TBT to address every single teacher of Beaconhouse in one go through Internet-enabled live video streaming – a thought that resonated with some of my less fascist fantasies.

It was so that I walked into a transformed office on the morning of Friday 1st March.  Facing my desk was an oversized computer screen (to view incoming questions) and placed across me were an array of professional lights and cameras managed by a crew of technicians.  To my front right was Maryam Hasan, Head of TBT, who had planted herself in a temporary workstation and, in my attached meeting room, was one of her Editors, Rida.  The game plan was for me to address teachers and then field questions.  The questions would first come to Rida who would send the screened questions to Maryam who would ‘approve’ them so that they would appear on my computer screen.  I, in turn, was given the challenging task of pressing ‘Next’ to view and respond to each queued-up query.

Now, I’m no stranger to public speaking (occupational hazard) but it was somewhat disconcerting to address an audience of thousands of people by speaking into a camera.  Despite this slight weirdness (coupled with fleeting images of ‘Bertie’ addressing the entire British Empire through a suitably retro radio mike in ‘The King’s Speech’!), I think it would not be immodest to state that the overall experience was quite successful.  I’m told that I spoke for about 20 minutes and then answered 34 questions – all the way from Peshawar to Karachi and many places in between like Attock and Jhang.  My total audience consisted of 8,500 teachers, admin & office staff, and Heads in over 190 staff rooms in Beaconhouse schools across Pakistan.

After the experience, most schools reported that the video and sound reception were of a very good standard.  My wife, who had logged in from her Beaconhouse account at home, said that “it was so clear that I felt you were in the room.”  A few schools, as expected, had technology issues – mostly caused by inadequate Internet bandwidth at their end.  We will need to iron out these issues because I plan to use this medium in future to conduct focused discussions with different groups of people across Beaconhouse such as all Early Years Coordinators, Career Counselors, School Librarians, or A Level Students … groups that would otherwise never be able to meet in one physical location.  The possibilities are endless!

Congrats once again, in alphabetical order, to Mrs Haq, Ms Hasan, and Mr Sharif for making this happen – and for the simultaneous launch of the Learning Centre on TBT.  Who knows, maybe this will call for an addition to our canon of distinguished acronyms:  ‘iCEO’…?

  24 Responses to “Breaking new ground (and a canon of distinguished acronyms)”

  1. jimmy choo shoes…

    Really appreciate you sharing this blog post. Keep writing….

  2. I feel CE Sahib is reaching out to the people (teachers) who are making a difference. I remember in February 1999, I took my outgoing class to meet Chairperson Mrs Kusari in her office in Lahore. The students appreciated meeting with her as she advised the students to write letters, requesting them to point out areas of improvement in BSS. I feel Kasim Sahib is reaching out to all stakeholders; this is something new and productive. I feel it will prove helpful for everyone and first-hand information will reach the CE.

  3. Expansion with quality control (strong administration) will definately help us to move forward. Interaction through electronic media is a wonderful idea to bring all of us together as a valuable memeber of ur team…….. Constant Acknowledgment of classrrom practitioners by you gave me immense pleasure and motivation (which is sometimes lacking …….so we as a team MUST have such interaction frequently…..
    STAY BLESSED!

  4. Expansion with quality control (strong administration) will definately help us to move forward. Interaction through electronic media is a wonderful idea to bring all of us together as a valuable memeber of ur team…….. Constant Acknowledgment of classrrom practitioners by you gave me immense pleasure and motivation (which is sometimes lacking :( …….so we as a team MUST have such interaction frequently…..
    STAY BLESSED!

  5. I am writing it “now” because I thought that another such session can be there before exams to wish “Good luck” to all students, who definitely would love to see you and hear from you.

  6. Dear Sir,
    It was an amazing and happiest moment in our lives and being a part of the system we are all proud of the achievement. You have made the history. Hope to be together again when you will take out some more time for your team members in the near future.
    Thanks for all your concern.
    Best regards

  7. Congratulations Mr. Kasim, you have taken up the modern style of management which is of collaboration and empowerment. One can almost feel your aspiration to deliver a transformation in educational practices and outcomes.

    As a head i feel that in order to make good decisions individuals to whom power is entrusted should have access to information so as to successfully compete and meet the demands of customers bringing meaningful change and improvement in their schools.

    Warm regards,

    Mrs. Shahida Saleem

  8. Its wonderful to know how Mr. Kasuri is concerned about each and everyone at BSS.

  9. Dear Sir, it was an awesome experience for us to learn. Hats off to you for this idea. Yes, we are proud to be a part of your team.

  10. it was wonderful experience to have the feeling that we can share our concerns with you..We also own BSS and worry about its progression just like you.
    Regards

  11. Kasim sahib.

    I felt so proud of Beaconhouse.
    Congratulations to you and the Team! This is a great way to bond with all who work in the System.

    Regards,
    Faryal

  12. No doubt it is a brilliant idea, I really appreciate your concern for keeping in touch with the teachers of BSS all over Pakistan.
    Seeing and hearing from the classrooms can be a great advantage for the school heads also. If it is provided in every branch of BSS I’m sure it will enhance teaching as well as learning.

    regards

  13. Dear Mr Kasuri,
    It was indeed a very good learning experience for everyone, and linking up in the first webinar with colleagues all over Pakistan was exciting. It is always good to know we are in the same boat…with similar ideas and problems and it makes us feel relaxed too.

    It is an opportunity to be able to articulate our thoughts and to get to hear you directly and to know that we are all working towards one goal.

    I am new to BSS, but I could relate to Mrs. Kasuri’s point very well as I have seen that when the top management is not directly involved with the employees working at different tiers, the vision gradually degenerates and groups work in pockets.

    So congratulations to you sir and your team on this big achievement!

    Warm regards

  14. Dear Sir,
    No doubt that you and your team has done a great job.Congratulations! I think this is a right use of IT technology to bring every member of BSS family in a close connection. I am proud to be a part of such technology driven system. Thanks for this wonderful technical idea of webinars. I hope these webinars will be very helpful for all BSS family. God bless you and your team.

    Best Regards

  15. Sir its a great idea, launching the learning Centre which provide us a plate form & Hats off to you for a brilliant idea to bring us together.It is a proud for us that we are a part of Beaconhouse which is the school of tomorrow!!!

  16. Well done, Kasim Sb,BSS Academic &IT Department! Once again, you have all proven BSS as market leaders in the field of education. Indeed, it was a million dollar sight to watch all staff members glued to multimedia watching with an awed expression listening intently to CEO directly talking to them. Three cheers for BSS!

  17. Exactly Miss Roohi, I agree with you! Mr. Kasim, it was a pleasure to see you like that and feel that you are with us, and you are concerned about each and every soul associated with Beaconhouse. We are proud of you!

  18. It was a wonderfully exciting experience and exceptional support in learning through highly experience professionals for further development. i cordially thank you for such a step to promote awareness directly to all employees. The staff got the opportunity to directly communicate with you and felt honored.

  19. Dear Sir,
    Hats off to you for a brilliant idea to bring us together on the same time.We can say very proudly that YES! Beaconhouse is the school of tomorrow!!!

  20. Sir this is great…
    Can we take a leap forward to take “The Educators” network associates on board to have their first hand thoughts and suggestions?

  21. This is an excellent idea. We,who have been here from the days of Mrs.K, did miss such visits. Touche technology and your team behind it, feel connected now.

  22. Dear Sir, It was really quite enthralling to be addressed by our boss directly through electronic media for the first time in the history of BSS. Your launching of idea for learning Centre is quite impressive and could come rightfully from a person like you who has always kept us steps ahead from others where learning according to the new trends and demands is concerned. Well done sir! You will find us by your side for carrying out all these wonderful programmes.

  23. Hi, Kasim,
    Who says ” tomorrow never comes”… It will!

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