The second Mentor’s Meet, organised by The Hindu in School and Samhita Academy here on Saturday, stressed on the point that true education comes from experience and practical knowledge. Leading educators and heads of institutions in Coimbatore spoke on the topic ‘Experiential learning as a tool to create future leaders: from theory to practice’.
S. D. Shibulal, co-founder of Infosys and trustee of Advaith Foundation, presided over the event and shared his personal learning experiences. Panel members included Arjun Prakash, CEO and MD of Effica Automation, Coimbatore; Ashok Bakthavatsalam, MD, KGISL, Coimbatore; Bala Chandrasekaran, Partner & Director Clay Station Private Limited; Jayanthasri Balakrishnan, former professor of English at PSG College of Arts and Science, and Mahalakshmi Saravanan, Founder Women Entrepreneurs India & Kidpreneurs India.
The panel drew a parallel to the erstwhile Gurukulam system and spoke about the importance of experiences in learning. The speakers agreed that the present generation should be allowed to learn from their mistakes and make their own decisions. They talked about shared responsibility to create future leaders and mentioned that anyone can become a leader if they are curious enough to ask questions and open-minded enough to accept their faults. What graduating the largest accelerator cohort in India taught us, at Axilor! And why it should matter to early stage founders?
Vidyadhan is an initiative of Sarojini Damodaran Foundation started by Shibulal, Co-founder of Infosys and his wife Kumari Shibulal, Founder of Advaith Foundation. Kumari Shibulal strongly believes that education is the key to transform lives. Hailing from a humble background, she believes in paying back to the society. Vidyadhan Scholarship Program supports the college education of meritorious students from economically challenged families. The students are selected through a rigorous selection process including test, interview and house visits. The selected students are also provided training on soft skills and career guidance.
The scholarship amount for graduation varies from Rs.10,000 to Rs.60,000 per year. The Vidyadhan programme started in Kerala in 1999 and currently has over 1500 students from Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana States. Vidyadhan was launched in Tamil Nadu last year with 100 students and is in the process of selecting another 200 students this year from the state. And the selection process will take place in Coimbatore at The Samhita Academy, a premier CBSE school in Malumichampatty on 1st and 2nd October 2017. It has an alumni of about 81 Doctors, 223 Engineers, 48 Nurses and many more.
These students now hold established jobs and some of them have decided to pay-back by sponsoring other students. Currently 200 students are sponsored by external sponsors. It creates a one-on-one, direct connection between the sponsor and student throughout the period of education supported. The Foundation aspires to provide 100000 scholarships in the next 7 to 10 years, covering all the states in India. This initiative will give wings to the dreams of deserving students that will impact multiple generations.