Interview for the The Konverv Times
Personality & Career
1. Sir, let us start with a quick introduction for the readers. Please do give us a idea of what you are trying to do?
From family business to start-ups and corporate social responsibility (CSR), I have been passionately working with the youth of India to build great institutions. A serial entrepreneur, bookseller, author, educator and a mountaineer. In his quest for leadership, have had the opportunity to travel all over the world; has been invited to many industry, government, social sector and education sector presentations for exchanging views; and has contributed to policy making. My ability to network and an understanding of digital communication has helped create international brands.
2. What do you think has been the highlight of your career so far?
Our work for The Fabindia Schools Programme, demonstrating excellence in school operations, involving the community and establishing a sustainable model for delivering good education in the villages of India, is now being replicated at a larger scale. We believe that the happiness of young people is in the hands of teachers and mentors, and we must do all to help them live their dreams by providing them with the best possible education. Taking ahead this vision and mission, we are working to provide affordable quality education in rural and urban India, by putting in place good systems, offering best in class training and ensuring that we have happy teachers to lead us.
3. How would you describe your leadership style?
‘Servant Leadership’, the focus is on empowering individuals to lead, in reality this may translate to delegating leadership. When you want to build organisations you goal is to be like a cheerleader, inspire and help each individual find the leadership within.
4. What inspired you to pursue a career in education?
The education that my family and school provided was the catalyst for my thinking and helped shape my life. The idea of a liberal arts education through which students think and learn across disciplines, literally liberating or freeing the mind to its fullest potential. The essence of such an education is not what you study but the result – gaining the ability to think critically and independently and to write, reason, and communicate clearly – the foundation for all professions.
5. What are the main principles you encourage at the school?
A good school works for the personal and social development of an individual by offering an environment where experiential learning is made possible through activities beyond just study; this brings to life learning that would otherwise be theoretical and uncoordinated. School teachers have the most important role in delivering affordable quality education.
6. Can you share something unique about your school ? Can you share one of the best practices you have implemented in your school that may be other schools can replicate?
Our concept of building the professional learning community known as Brewing Knowledge shows you how to plan, implement, and measure high-quality professional learning so you and your team can achieve success with your system, your school, and your students. This group of passionate educators working for professional development and assists individuals, to leverage the power of professional learning to affect positive and lasting change.
7. From business to non-profits and then in education, you have come a long way, what is your biggest learning?
Philanthropy is not merely donating or giving away, the real meaning of philanthropy is social wealth creation. ~ Sandeep Dutt
Message to Students
1. What is your philosophy on discipline?
The learning environment, should be free of fear and favour, there needs to be a great deal of empathy in the relationship between the teacher and the student. The best way is for the teacher to lead by example, and delve deep into the minds of the children, before taking any corrective action.
2. How do you draw the academic best out of your students?
We have to encourage each child to find themselves, there has to be equal emphasis on service, skill, sport and study, to make a fair ecosystem for every child in the school to be appreciated.
3. What characterises the students graduating from your school?
We work for the personal and social development of an individual. This is achieved by the educational philosophy My Good School, where we work for the personal and social development of an individual by offering an environment where experiential learning is made possible through activities beyond just study.
Learnings for Teachers
1. What advice would you give to a new teacher on his or her first year?
Live and think like a child, never ever grow up!
2. How will you motivate teachers so they will want to try new ideas?
Experiential Learning is the key, the teachers must find way to engage with children and making learning fun always.
3. Is the parent a teacher?
The first teachers in our life and perhaps the last too, are our parents. The best teacher in the world, and one who we unconsciously imbibe is our parent. No class teacher will be successful, without their engaging effectively with the parents of the children.
School and use of technology
1. What are the main trends in education that you are seeing at the moment?
From taking teaching as a one way process, we will more to 360 degree learning. Where the teacher and the student will learn equally from each other. There will be more of experiential learning and collaboration between the stakeholders.
2. How are you leveraging on technology in your school?
Our focus is on making the work of the teacher less taxing, by managing information and data more effectively and assist them to build their skills to match the abilities of the smart young learners.
3. With the #digitalindia massive movement today, how are you planning to contribute to it ?
We are investing in infrastructure, and even more on training of our staff, to work in the rapidly changing environment. It is imperative for us to build a learning organisation and make the process of gaining knowledge great fun for all.
Closing words for the Interview
1. Any message you would like to share with the readers?
I see the possibility of a nation where every school offers young people the opportunity to be rewarded for challenging themselves, rewarded for engaging with adult mentors, rewarded when finishing school, and rewarded for giving back to their communities. I believe we can help connect young people with new opportunities to change their world.
2. Finally, Sir why have you set up www.SchoolEducation.com?
Our mission is to help provide better governance, good leadership and build professional learning communities at schools. This will only be possible with The Professional Learning Community, “Brewing Knowledge” a platform that shows you how to plan, implement, and measure high-quality professional learning so you and your team can achieve success with your system, your school, and your students.
Brewing Knowledge is a not-for-profit open platform and connects teachers from all walks of life, online and offline as well. We are a group of passionate educators working for professional development and assist our members, to leverage the power of professional learning to affect positive and lasting change.
For more about the man and his mission, please visit www.SandeepDutt.com