From a start-up in 2006 to being 10 schools strong, Isha Vidhya team shares its fulfilling journey of overcoming challenges and educating students in rural Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh as a case study for participants of Isha Insight.
“If you’re a conscious human being, you’ll never have a purpose of your own. Your purpose cannot be anything different from the fundamental purpose of life itself,” Sadhguru said while speaking to participants from over 20 countries in the 10th edition of Isha Leadership Academy’s business leadership programme — “Isha Insight: The DNA of Success.”
Sadhguru stressed that businesses need to be transformed and become more inclusive. To present this inclusive approach, a case study of Isha Vidhya schools was presented on the last day of the 4-day business leadership programme. Isha Vidhya’s 10 English-medium schools in rural Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh use innovative methods of teaching for the overall development and blossoming of each student.
Sharing the journey of Isha Vidhya, Vinod Hari, Project Director, Isha Education shared, “For the first 10 years of Isha Vidhya, we ran like a start-up. Funds were difficult to find, we had difficulty finding, training and retaining teachers to build the infrastructure.”
“Today, we run 10 rural schools. We have 9,330 children and 49% of them are girls. 62% of these children are on full scholarship, the rest pay a very nominal fee,” he added.
Hari further shared, “In our school kitchens, we served nutritious, well-balanced food to our children. Our teachers get offers from mainstream CBSE schools due to their language capability. However, they stay loyal to us not because of the salary, but because of the ethos with which we built the school.”
Maa Vidyadevi, Academic Head, Isha Education shared the concept of “Happy Classrooms” that is followed in all Isha Vidhya schools.
“One of our most important sessions is the “Happy Classroom Workshop” in which we train the teachers on how to teach without using corporal punishment, how to maintain discipline without using harsh language, or humiliating a child.”
“The workshop also trains the teachers on how to make the classes more interactive and child-centric so that both children and teachers enjoy the class and it does not become a one-way lecture. I am also pleased to report that as a result of this, almost all of the students have lost their fear of the teachers and have developed the ability to ask questions and think for themselves,” Maa Vidyadevi shared.
“We have a lot of parents who can’t afford education, so they put their children in our school, but we also have children from more affluent families who enrol their children in our schools because they recognise the difference in our teaching methodology from other schools,” she added.
Touched by the case study of Isha Vidhya, Gajendra Chandel, one of the Resource Leaders of Isha Insight, who is the Founder and CEO of Viribus Unitis Consulting and Former President and CHRO of Tata Motors, shared, “Today’s session was very different for me. Sometimes, we feel we have achieved great heights, but it’s nothing compared to what Isha Vidhya is doing. I realised that the more deeply you are involved, the more passionate you become and more effortless everything becomes. By keeping your egos off, and bringing change to the whole ecosystem is my biggest learning from this.”
The four-day Isha Insight themed on “Reimagining business in this decade of accelerated change” saw riveting real life success stories from business leaders.
On Day 1, Nithin Kamath, the Founder and CEO of Zerodha, India’s largest stock broker, spoke about the company’s “unconventional” journey. “You can be a business that lets the product do the talking, that thinks about giving back. A conscious business. I think India needs that. India needs a lot of big businesses, which are conscious about what is happening around them,” the 41-year-old entrepreneur said.
On Day 2 of Isha Insight, Dr. RS Sodhi, Managing Director of the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation, which owns the Amul brand, spoke about the ideals taught by Founder Dr. Verghese Kurien, also known as the ‘Father of the White Revolution’ in India. “Value for many, value for money. How passionately you adhere to your value systems and business objectives will determine the success of your business,” said Sodhi.
“Whatever value system we have, it was instilled in us by our founders. When I say value for many, I mean providing a very stable price to the millions of farmers who produce milk day after day, so they are encouraged to invest more, produce more, grow more, and similarly provide the best-made food products,” Sodhi said.
Dr. Pawan Goenka, Chairperson of Indian National Space Promotion Authorization Centre (In-Space), on Day 3 of the leadership programme taught participants the value of humility and the need to always be on “learning mode”.
“You have to learn and to learn, you must have humility. Unfortunately, there are too many people who think, ‘I know it all’. Nobody knows it all. Everybody has to be in a learning mode no matter how high you are,” the Former Managing Director and CEO of Mahindra & Mahindra stressed.
The business leadership programme aimed at empowering entrepreneurs also saw participation from 30 Resource Leaders, all veterans in their respective fields with over 30 years of experience.
Sadhguru established the Isha Leadership Academy over a decade ago with the goal of providing the highest quality leadership education by merging external skill sets with wellbeing techniques. Delving into the science of business growth, Isha Insight was founded to assist entrepreneurs in navigating a fast changing market. The program provides attendees with an exclusive opportunity to evaluate their journey through the experiential lens of successful leaders.