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If you ever talk to high school students at The Samhita Academy and ask them to name the person whom they admire the most, you will hear many young voices shout ‘Shibu sir!’
SD Shibulal is one of the co-founders of Infosys and is on the Forbes Billionaire List. He also co-founded business incubator Axilor Ventures along with his former Infosys colleague Senapathy Gopalakrishnan. Mr. Shibulal also chairs The Tamara, a boutique resort chain founded and run by his daughter Shruti Shibulal. Mr.Shibulal’s vision and penchant for innovation has produced many entrepreneurial successes.
Mr. Shibulal’s passion for education is evidenced by his venture, Advaith Foundation, which provides quality education and residential facilities to children from underprivileged social and economic backgrounds. To the Shibulals, the Foundation is more than just a philanthropic venture. It is family. They have been with the Advaith children right from the time they were very little and have watched them grow into accomplished and confident individuals. The Samhita Academy is an extension of Mr. Shibulal’s belief in education as an important driver of social and economic impact in the country
There is a reason why education is so close to Kumari Shibulal’s heart. Mrs. Shibulal comes from a family of farmers in a small village in Kerala. She recounts with pride and joy about being the first girl in her village to go to college. Her mother influenced her deeply, with her immense generosity and her belief in the need for education and its pivotal role in shaping the lives of young people. This led to Mrs. Shibulal founding the Sarojini Damodaran Foundation in 1999 and The Advaith Foundation in 2004.
Mrs. Shibulal works with various philanthropic ventures in India, including Akshaya, a charitable trust that she founded with her husband Mr. SD Shibulal, to help underprivileged children in India by way of scholarships and paediatric care. She also sponsors a fellowship program with TIFR that funds visits by eminent scientists and provides travel grants to young scientists from TIFR. She also loves sports and she was one of the first people to help PT Usha set up her Usha School of Athletics in Kerala and to sponsor the first 6 students of the school. We are proud to say that Mrs. Shibulal is a Managing Trustee of The Samhita Academy
N.R. Narayana Murthy is the Founder-Chairman of Infosys Technologies Limited, a global software consulting company headquartered in Bangalore, India. Infosys was listed on the NASDAQ in 1999 and spearheaded the technological revolution in India. Mr. Murthy is the architect and designer of the Global Delivery Model, which serves as the foundation for many successful IT companies in India. He is also an IT advisor to several Asian countries and is also on the board of the UN Foundation, HSBC and the Ford Foundation.
In all his interviews, Mr. Murthy highlights the need for a good education system in the country, one that will help us solve problems and encourage students to apply their knowledge outside the classroom. He has been awarded the Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India, the CBE by the British government, and the Legion d’honneur by the Government of France.
M Vaidyanathan is the CEO of Krishna Sweets. With a multifaceted professional background in construction and mining in countries like Singapore and Australia, his unique and progressive vision has taken Sri Krishna Sweets to great heights. Mr. Vaidyanathan has helped the company with its robust expansion across India and its constant drive to innovate and transform the food industry with its popular traditional sweets and savories.
Mr. Vaidyanathan has a Master's in Professional Accounting and a PG diploma in Project Management. He describes himself as someone who is always responsive to change and this is evidenced by his leadership of Sri Krishna Sweets and its commitment towards quality. His experience in product costing and implementation has allowed him to pioneer changes and growth in Sri Krishna Sweets.
‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’
Solving problems were part and parcel of my life as I was quick to understand a situation and learn the tactics to handle it. Though I started out my career in the administrative section of the corporate world, I soon found out my real passion for teaching. This led me to do my Montessori training and made me realize the happiness of regularly interacting with children.
Further after my post-graduation, my B.Ed led me to handle subjects for the higher secondary students. Along with taking up position of higher secondary coordinator, I was able to engage with high school students in a respectfully friendly manner. The position saw me handle and enable students for various extra-curricular activities and competition. Soon after, sitting in at the principal’s chair gave me insights on administrative side of education and a platform to support other teachers in imparting knowledge.
Emphasizing on inculcating rational and emotional values along with the curriculum is the kind of wholesome education I believe in. In present day world where students have higher exposure to variety of information around them, they often forget the vital support offered by teachers. As teachers who believe humanity to be the biggest religion, I believe teachers and students can nurture better relationship that results in better knowledge gain.
With a promise to give my best efforts for this school, I have joined the TSA family, Coimbatore.
“Words are Words, Promises are Promises, Performance is Reality.” Let me get into the reality to keep our TSA flag flying high.
Aparna epitomizes Walk the Talk. Her passion and zeal for excellence in everything she does has given her success. She has an experience of 15 years in the IT industry, that includes a decade long stint with Infosys. She is an active trustee of an NGO, providing education to children from deprived backgrounds. She was directly instrumental in aligning these kids to mainstream for the past 10 years. Parallelly, she also completed her masters in Special Education from University of Northampton, U.K. Her work-life necessitated her to focus on wellness to stay fit. Once she had this in place for herself and benefitted immensely from it, she has chosen to take it to market. Of course, nothing comes easy….her willingness to walk the untrodden path, with a do-it-all energy and a never-say-die attitude continuing to drive her journey.
Shruti Shibulal is the Chief Executive Officer and Director of The Tamara Leisure Experiences. Shruti is one of India’s next generation entrepreneurs in the hospitality industry and was named as 1 of the 5 World Economic Forum’s YGLs from India in 2017.
She is a Trustee for both Advaith Foundation and the Sarojini Damodaran Foundation, organisations involved in providing educational opportunities and healthcare assistance to underprivileged sections of society. She is on the Management Council of The Samhita Academy. She serves as a Trustee of the Women’s Education Project, an NGO providing mentorship and scholarships to young women in need of support. Shruti is also on the Advisory Board of ATREE (Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment).
Gaurav brings his experience as a strategy and technology consultant. A graduate of Boston University, Gaurav has consulted in the past to companies from various industries. He is currently involved in the areas of Entrepreneurship and Social Investment while being completely committed to the field of education.
Bhairavi is an alumnus of the prestigious Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business at the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania. She holds the unique honor of being the first Indian woman to be accepted to this program. Post-graduation, she completed stints in private equity, strategy consulting and retail research across three continents, and ultimately came back to India with the intention of setting up sustainable businesses with a social conscience. She is passionate about innovations in healthcare, organic farming and education. She will be launching Solis Health, India’s first group of holistic integrative oncology centres, in the coming months.
After a long stint in my first career in the IT industry, I decided to respond to the call to serve in the social sector. My search brought me to the Advaith Foundation and its objectives of serving the underserved through its Ankur project. In its quest to provide equitable and quality education, the Advaith Foundation launched The Samhita Academy school with the twin focus of inclusion and excellence.
Quality education to us is the right blend of pedagogical practices that would not just deliver to the boards but also cater to our vision for the child and life beyond the boards. An amalgamation of evidence and research based best practices aligned with the science of learning and understanding of children. We measure our excellence as a school not by the brilliance of a few but by the effort and progress that every child makes.
This has been proved by research and now educators understand that every child is unique, has the potential and capabilities which need to be brought out. We observe in schools that each child comes with innate intelligence and intrinsic talent. With curiosity and the right kind of exposure and stimulation, she/he learns and develops further as she/he grows. It is interesting to ponder over the journey of a child in the school system.
When a child enters the school as a toddler, our focus is on developing basic skills. In my view these skills include gross motor, soft skills such as listening, speaking, awareness about self and others, the environment around and social skills of responding to stimulations, peers and adults, sharing, expressing and so on. It is at this stage that our children learn to interact with and develop a sense of belongingness to a group.
Gradually, we introduce childrento literacy and numeracy along with more awareness about nature and environment as they grow into the primary level. Their expressions become clearer as they gain more confidence. They are further introduced to the skills of reading, writing and other subjects along with various co-curricular activities. It is amazing to see their energy, enthusiasm and curiosity in learning and experimenting with new things.
As they reach higher grades, the complexity of the concepts increases. In English, they learn the constructs of the languages as well as get exposed to the beauty of literature. They move from basic arithmetic operations to integers, algebraand geometryand beyond in Mathematics. Similarly, they learn various concepts in other subjects which get deeper as they proceed further.Though the topics, themes and concepts vary from one another I believe that the learning is easier and profound when concepts are interlinked and are used in real life situation.
In my experience, apart from academics, learning takes place in different dimensions in a school environment. Students become stronger at physical as well atemotional level. They learn to appreciate different art forms through their exposure in co-curricular areas. Sports help them to improve their all-round personality. Through Life skills, they develop value systems, social skills as well as thinking skills as reflection becomes their second nature. I am certain that real growth and development takes place through these areas.
Students come to school from different backgrounds and exposure. Learning style and pace differs from one student to the other.I think it is the role of the teacher to cater to needs of all students. Growth of the student depends on the belief his teacher has in him. We have seen students excelling when they know that their teachers are confident of their abilities.
It is my personal conviction that every teachermust inculcate curiosity in students, make learning experiences interesting and encourage them to ask questions. Students shouldget opportunities to share their knowledge and express themselves.I believe that experiential learning helps students to understand concepts better and when thisknowledge is applied to daily life experiences their learning gets deepened.
I am convinced that formative assessments help us to understand gaps in students’ learning and following up withremedial teaching helps in closing them. It is a well-known fact that study skills and exam taking skills play a major role in enabling betterlearning. Scoring well in examinations is important for students as it gives them a sense of achievement and motivates them further.
As Einstein remarked, Education is what remains with us after we forget everything that was taught at school. We have seen that the values and character that is built during schooling remains with the student forever.
In my view, acquisition and assimilation of knowledge and skills is only a process but not the destination. As John Dewey said, “Education is not preparation for life, education is life itself.”
Our endeavor at Samhita, therefore, is to create an environment conducive to learning and facilitate all round development of the child spanning across cognitive, intellectual, physical and emotional dimensions. Our emphasis is to create an atmosphere where the child longs to come to play, learn and interact with his peer group, develop self-confidence and in the process acquire life-skills to face challenges and realize his/her potential. Our teachers arewell motivated towards our philosophy of child development through values and character building. Student – teacher interaction is such that it enhances the teaching learning process of both the student as well as the teacher. Involvement, participation and contribution of our parents is a unique feature of our institution.
Dr. K.P Gopalkrishna is one of India’s most famous educationists. He is the Founder and Chairman of the National Public School group of institutions in India. In 2018, Dr. Gopalkrishna was awarded the Karnataka Rajyotsava Award for his extraordinary service in the field of education. Dr. Gopalkrishna believes that education is an instrument for national development and that a country’s progress is determined by its quality of human capital. Under his chairmanship, the NPS schools have scaled great heights in education.
A huge proponent of raising a skilled workforce that can take full advantage of the current technological explosion, Senapathy Kris Gopalakrishnan is one of the co- founders of Infosys. He was its CEO and MD from 2007 to 2011. Kris is recognised as a global business and technology thought leader. Apart from many prestigious corporate recognitions and awards, he was also elected president of India’s apex industry chamber, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for 2013-2014 and also served as a co-chair of the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2014.
Kris is the Chairman of Axilor Ventures, an early stage start-up accelerator and venture fund, which he started in 2015 with SD Shibulal, Srinath Batni, and Tarun Khanna. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2011. He is on the Board of Governors of the Okinawa Institute for Science and Technology (OIST) and is also the Chairman of the Vision Group on Information Technology of the Karnataka Government.
Professor Sadagopan, Director of IIIT Bangalore is a graduate of Madras University, India and Purdue University, USA. He taught for 25+ years at IIT Kanpur, IIM Bangalore, IIT Madras and IIITBangalore in addition to short teaching assignments at RUTGERS, USA and AIT, Bangkok. He has wide research interests that include Operations Research, Multi-criteria optimization Decision Theory, Simulation, Enterprise Computing, Programming Languages, Databases, Multimedia and e-Governance.
He has authored seven books, several book chapters and papers. He is also a Fellow of IEE (UK) and Computer Society of India. He is a Senior Member of IEEE, ACM and AIS.
Prof. Sadagopan consults widely across different industry segments (Auto, Manufacturing, Banking, IT and Social Sector) and lectures extensively at corporations, industry events and universities in North America, South America, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Australia and New Zealand on all aspects of IT.
He serves on the boards of Bharat Electronics, Neyveli Lignite Corporation and Indian Renewable Energy Agency and IIIT Bhubaneswar, IIIT-Delhi and IBAB earlier he was also on the Board of Bank of India, NMDC, VisualSoft, Megasoft, Informatics and Shawman Software. Prof. Sadagopan is a Member of Karnataka Knowledge Commission, Chief Minister's Vision Group on IT, NASSCOM Regional Council and ISA Executive Council. He is the Chair of IEEE Computer Society, Bangalore Chapter and a Member of ACM India Council. Currently (till 2011). He is also a Member of WWW Conference Committee (W3CC).
In a recent article for The Hindu, Dr. Devi Shetty wrote that healthcare will turn upside-down in the coming decade, and that education will play a crucial role in how we prepare students to work in the emergent industry scenario.
Dr. Shetty is one of the leading cardiac surgeons in the world, and has performed over 15,000 heart operations in his career. He is the Chairman, Founder and Senior Consultant Cardiac Surgeon Narayana Hrudayalaya Group of Hospitals, Bangalore. Dr. Shetty has been awarded the Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India for his contribution to the field of affordable healthcare.
Ravichandar is Chairman, Feedback Consulting. His work focus is on guiding the firm for sustained growth by providing increasing value to clients. He is Honorary Consul, Republic of Slovenia for Bengaluru.
Ravichandar was a key member of the Bangalore Agenda Task Force (BATF) during 2000-04. Ravichandar along with three others was involved in making the case for Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JN-NURM). Since 2006 he has been evangelizing the idea of City Connect (now in 5 cities) involving business, civil society and government. He was part of the 3-member Government Expert Committee tasked with reimaging governance and administration for Bengaluru. He was Co-Chair of the Karnataka Tourism Vision Group.
Ravichandar is part of multiple social and cultural initiatives – Bangalore International Centre; Bangalore Literature Festival; Education for the underprivileged through Vidya Poshak, Samhita Academy, Akshara Foundation; Takshashila Institution; Citizen Matters, etc.
Ravichandar has a Mechanical Engineering degree from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad with over 38 years industry experience.
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