Inspiring Excellence of Families and School : DPS Patna

It was a pleasure facilitating both teachers and families in separate sessions at DPS Patna. Each session was of over two hours, though short, were very invigorating and inspiring.

Can we enable ourselves, our children, our families and communities to be –

a. Eager learners,

b. Have courage to push the boundaries, not worried about “failing” and

c. Be humble whatever we achieve

If we are able to instill these three values, then our job is done…

Glad to have parents getting out of car on their way back when they spotted me by the drive way to say, “I came with a very different intention to talk to the Principal about future of my son, I am going away completely transformed. I will make sure that I invest at home and also with the parents work with school to make all the difference to every child”

 DPS Patna - Facilitating families excel

One of the teachers said, “I have been struggling with a challenge for the last six months, I found the reason and solution to it in these two hours. Thanks”

 DPS Patna, workshop for teachers - Striving for Excellence, Realizing potential

It was one of those days where I had to touch down at 8am and take off at 3pm, for I had another session with art world in Delhi, as my baby SPANDAN festival of Performing Arts has been underway at India Habitat Centre, with large format exhibition paying tribute to Iconic Institutions, movements and Gurus.

Thanks to Anup and Ragini of Career Launcher Patna, for facilitating and inspiring families in Patna to EXCEL.

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Vision for IIM Bangalore : Dr. Sushil Vachani, the new director shares with its Alum

After receiving a mailer from the alumni office, I registered myself for the interaction with Sushil at India International Centre on July 5th. Having been a proactive participant in interactions with all the directors of IIMB since my days at IIMB, Dr KRS Murthy, Dr MR Rao, Dr. Pankaj Chandra I was eager to head for the session.

—————— recalling…

It gives me immense satisfaction in contributing in some way or other to the Institution apart from being an entrepreneur that this institution has ignited. I am sure hundreds of IIMB alum humbly acknowledge our contribution to their career and life! They have been our alums (Career Launcher) before they became alums of IIMB!

Not many may be aware of this fact! I feel delighted to see my paintings and photographs still adorning the walls of the institution even after almost two decades. I vividly recall the interactions that I have had with Dr. Murthy and his encouragement in conceiving the first art exhibition (perhaps only) in the history of the institution. I had managed to inspire quite a few of my class mates and from the next batch to contribute to the exhibition. It was a proud moment to have Mr S M Dutta, then Chairman Hindustan Unilever (chairman BOD of IIMB) to inaugurate that exhibition. Since then, from time to time, my work has featured in the magazines of IIMB.

—————-

When I arrived at the venue at the appointed hour, there were a few familiar faces from various classes of IIMB. It was a pleasure meeting Dr. Indira Rajaraman, noted economist, who was a distinguished professor economics at IIMB till 1994. I never had the opportunity to be her student, as I entered IIMB immediately after she left, and I have heard about her legendary classes at IIM Bangalore.

A little while later I had an opportunity to introduce myself and interact with Sushil informally before the session.. Here is the brief profile of Sushil!

Dr. Sushil Vachani, who is a tenured Professor of Strategy and Innovation at Boston University, will took over as Director of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore on July 1, 2014. During his twenty-eight year career at Boston University, he served in a range of leadership positions: Faculty Director of the International Management Program in Japan, Chairman of the Strategy and Policy Department, Chairman of the Doctoral Program and Special Assistant to the University’s President for its India Initiative. He designed, taught and coordinated programs for students, executives and policy makers in the US, Japan, China and India. He also serves on the board of trustees of the Deshpande Foundation, which promotes economic and social development in the US and India through entrepreneurship.

 

Dr. Vachani received his doctorate in International Business from the Harvard Business School, a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and a Bachelor of Technology from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He has extensive managerial and consulting experience in both the US and India. He worked at the Boston Consulting Group developing strategies for US, Japanese and European multinationals. He also worked with Philips, the Tata Administrative Service and Tata Motors in India.

 

 Dr. Vachani’s research interests include the global institutional environment of business, multinational-government relations, corporate social responsibility, climate change, strategy and innovation at the bottom of the pyramid and the impact of NGOs on international business. His research has been published in leading journals including California Management Review, Harvard Business Review and Journal of International Business Studies. He has published four books. He is co-editor of Adaptation to Climate Change in Asia and Multinational Corporations and Global Poverty Reduction, editor of Transformations in Global Governance: Implications for Multinationals and other Stakeholders and author of Multinationals in India: Strategic Product Choices.

 

Dr. Vachani loves traveling and spending time with his family. His favorite cities are Kyoto, Istanbul and Barcelona. He also enjoys visiting New York City, where both his daughters live.

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IIMB Ammaji Sneha and Dhruv's perf - 002

The rest of the note here is in first person, with interesting anecdotes shared by Sushil. I thought of presenting in the first person only…

  • “With big names you have been associated with, you may at times get carried away. I would not have been to the US had I not been to IIMA, before that IIT Kanpur, before that St. Columbus school….. Thanks to our parents and their wisdom of seeing education to be very important…..
  • Other day I was with one of my friends and I was carrying this mobile with me..(shows a modest one). My friend showed this mobile to his daughter to tell her that cellphones a couple of years ago looked like these…. ..
  • IIM in 2 years was way ahead of Harvard with 5 years…
  • Education is changing. Changing rapidly… In the initial years it was meant for the kings and the elite… then came the Gurkul…
  • Now cell phone reaches 80% of the population…..smart phones will reach 80% in a decade. Everyone will use to access a range of services. What may happen to education? Access will be free. Of course the certification would cost though..

Education rekindles thinking…. With these things at our finger tips we can reach to the world.

  • World is changing. Technology is giving opportunity..  We need to embrace technology else it will be too overwhelming to cope..
  • The slew of gadgets emerging is going to make life so easy; The human being may be embedded with a few and it is going to impact the way we live ..
  • Massive Open Online Course (MOOCs) – University of phoenix has been a pioneer; later a few moved into online space. For instance, at Harvard, while about 1.6 lakh enrolled for a course on Artificial IntelIigence, only 23000 students completed the course. Coursera and Udacity are a couple of online education and testing platform with huge following.
  • EdX – Harvard and MIT – came together to create the platform… Many units have jumped onto it..
  • We need to embrace the platform of technology; Which one, let us see.. We will not have spontaneous combustion… F. audience – beaming to whom? Who will be target audience?

——- Second area of interest – International business…global perspectives

  • Japan, by virtue of my interest and involvement in the past is a natural choice
  • Will send more and more students abroad for sure, on exchange programmes
  • Create centres and faculty specialists on geographies
  • Build relationships with top universities across the world
  • feed all the learning into the pedagogy in the classrooms

——- Third dimension… Government is usually detested everywhere….but,

  • IIMs would not have been there had it not been for the govt
  • IIMs are national assets..we need to go beyond addressing the creame-la-creame. We need to impact the masses
  • Can we impact small businesses, real India?
  • A blended programme like – MIT poverty lab – can impact immensely

Can we all together not impact in these areas. We need to get together.. We have the urge. The institute can be one of the channels… You, as alumni, can engage with us. Institute can help alumni in the international connections too once we get going in the space..

  • Institute-alum Connect – MIT in the US and IIT Kanpur have a great connect.
  • Sharing Ideas, Regular visits… ..Finally funding by paying up..
  • networking amongst alum itself..
  • connect with the PGP..
  • Harvard / Wellesley college :  do something small and influence the next batches
  • Impacting the society..

[The IIMB team at the session included Aparna, Rohini….saurabh mukherjee (PGP chair), Rakesh godhwani, kavita(communication)]

—— Fourth Dimension – Academic publications

  • Produce our own stuff..
  • Network with publishers..visiting the conferences
  • Invite editors of journals to address faculty  and students..
  • Need to make our doctoral program strong..

———–

Q & A

1. Diversity : Mint did an interview of yours where you quoted about diversity. I am a little curious..

  • we will not dilute quality..
  • women, international students,…
  • we need to orient and market..
  • engage alum for exec-edu program?
  • need to design and market programs

2. Giving back to society…in what way?

  • Do we look at infant mortality rate, women empowerment… how have we impacted?
  • NCAER – fisherman, villages, farmers have been benefited

3. Sense of purpose and mission

  • nation building…manager capability
  • What does India need and what IIMB can contribute
  • Public sector managers….IIMB lost it after the initial phase when it focused on public sector management.
  • IIT Kanpur is in a bubble.. Outside the gates miserable… The institution has not done anything for the betterment of the city..
  • Gyanshala Ahmedabad is a great example to follow..”

Towards the end of the session – Rajeev, an Ex IIMB Prof, now a member of Rajya sabha joined us in the audience and addressed us too..

———————— My thoughts and Suggestions to Sushil for making the institution a great learning place

  • At IIMA, Prof Anil Gupta’s course shodhyatra-like should become integral part of the programme; This enables students to understand the real India and also notice the opportunities that exist
  • OurexperimentsatIWSB (Indus World School of Business) have been path breaking..
    • Students work with small-time entrepreneurs in the institutional eco-system to enhance their business with measurable outcomes
    • Promote entrepreneurship through campus companies, incubation lab, mentoring
    • Offer generous monetary upsides for entrepreneurial endeavours – investing in the company, market access

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I was delighted to see a few of my batchmates and friends – Hitesh (CEO Naukri.com) and Vandana (Citibank), Vivek Bihani (mentor now – 1992), Ganesha (Walmart now – 1993) and a few more at the dinner interaction…

Looking forward to many many more productive interactions. Hopefully invigorating workshops soon. Thanks

DU first cut-off list…… Was on DD News Night : What should be the way ahead for INDIA?

Sreeni was in the panel discussion on Delhi University cut-offs of 2014 and way ahead …

Once again it was that time of year when the Delhi University announced the first cut-offs for various colleges under it, late last night and was made public this morning by the newspapers.

This year was more special because the date for announcing was deferred following the chaos created by the UGC vs DU wrangle on scrapping Four YEAR undergrad prog! UGC under the very same Chairperson who was praising the FYUP last year, did a volte-face on FYUP this year. The govt changed and so did the sing-song! When will our ‘EDUCATION LEADERS’ and ‘POLITICAL LEADERS’ see education as key to eradication of all ills? As long as education system is a tool in their hands for personal fights and glory, nothing can improve.

Anyways, after the roll back of FYUP, the cut-offs were announced and lo behold, again 100% was the cut-off for a few courses in a couple of not so sought-after colleges! How? Why?

Doordarshan had called me to be on the panel to discuss the issue of DU cut-off list this year. In the DD studios I was with Dr. Pradhyuman Sharma, Principal, The Hindu college in the Hindi news bulletin, while I was with Dr. Varshney, Dean, Student affairs, South Campus of Delhi University in the English bulletin; while Mr. Ashok Ganguli, ex-chairperson, CBSE linked from Lucknow; We also had a student, who have had tough times in the DU admission process, in each of the bulletin, in the studios.

Issues discussed –

High cut-offs? When students get 100% in Psychology and English, obviously the colleges have to keep the cut-offs at the maximum. Otherwise they may be inundated with so many forms and if they have to accept all of those who apply, then they had it. I got to know during the interactions, that a couple colleges were at the receiving end last year – over 1200 had to be admitted, when they thought an in-take of 180 for a particular course, as the college’s cutoff was low! So colleges are playing safe this year.

Mr Ashok Ganguli spoke – in the CBSE results, over 60000 student scored more than 92% in Maths; many got 100% in English! He was talking about the grace marks being given, liberal corrections etc that has made it worse..

Education and Curriculum! Should our school education not orient towards skills and problem solving than rote learning and re-production. That is the only way to get out of this madness of 100% scores and Merit lists!! And get students with capabilities into higher education..

Applications : Every student hedges. Most students do not really know what they want to do in life. Hence they apply to inexplicable number of courses in as many colleges..This year there were 2,75,000+ applications for mere 54000 seats…. In all possibility the number of applicants may be 1.5 lakh, if we consider each one applying for multiple courses / colleges!

Elimination vs Selection Why should the DU admissions be an elimination process? why cannot it be a selection process? why should it not have entrance exams for every course? In fact, the existing entrance exams for courses in English, Journalism too got abolished!! The entrance exams may get even not so high-scorers in board, but better off for the course!

Why only Delhi? Why should DU get applicants from Dibrugarh, Ladakh, Pondicherry, chennai, Bangalore……. Is Delhi University, only centre for excellence? Do we as a nation lack any other centre of excellence?

  • In the nation rankings of colleges, about only 20% of the colleges from DU come in the list, eighty percent are from other centres of excellence. Then why such a rush to Delhi? Should we convert a few of those outstanding colleges across the country to convert into universities with a few more colleges under their wings to mentor to increase their quality and standings.
  • Is it the eco-system around the Delhi University that is most attractive and productive? or Is it a life-style choice? Is it the centre-of-power of the nation….Is there more opportunities here for student?

More colleges? Is having more colleges in Delhi university the solution? How many more colleges will we have? Should you convert top colleges into universities with multiple campuses across the country?

Why only a few courses?  Do only these courses offer potential employment? Is it a flock mindset? How do we counsel and mentor students, their parents and families to opt for those courses and subjects that the students have natural flair for? Can the universities / colleges work with schools to help them facilitate this process? Should it not be the role of every faculty / professor to mentor students in the class?

Entry of TOP foreign universities a solution? This has been lying in the cold storage for a long time. With middle-class families having more and more disposal income in their hand, with crunch of quality colleges, are looking at top universities of the world. Indians spend about $20 billion annually to get their education abroad! The universities abroad are eyeing Indians along with Chinese to fill their coffers! Will these families look at the best of the colleges setting up campuses in India? Of course, there are issues of – which universities will come to India? What is the pricing point at which families lap it up? How will we ensure quality of world standard? How will we attract the FACULTY of that caliber?

Is TECHNOLOGY the way ahead? The numbers in the future are going to increase for sure, with 75% of the population expected to be under the age of 24 by 2020! The problem is going to get compounded as we go along. Should as a nation we not look for solutions that will address this issue. This can be addressed with a two pronged approach –

Can we not lay emphasis on exit exams than the entrance gates?

  • Can we not allow students to apply for any course of his or her choice irrespective of what scores they get?
  • Can we not create Exit examination tough enough to award only those who are really good.
  • Let the duration of the program be decided by the quality of the student… one may finish the program in two years, while a few may take even 7-10 years

Can we have an outstanding HYBRID model (BEAM-CLICK-Brick & Mortar) with a huge emphasis in virtual facilitation

  • Pool the outstanding faculty talent from across the country to create / can video sessions on every subject and upload on the web to access
  • Have all the contents / notes online for students to peruse and study
  • Have doubt clearing sessions live with faculty to interact ; thousands can attend these sessions at one go, with a good mechanism
  • Have surprise tests, short and long tests, and track performances
  • Unsatisfactory performances should compel the student to repeat that segment/course of the programme
  • There can be a few contact sessions with eminent faculty…

For me it will not be a wonder if quite a few who undergo the technology-facilitated programme out-perform those who are admitted to campus-based  programmes. I have had an exposure of over 14 years in this space of tech-facilitated learning and I can vouch for this way! Indeed there will be a great opposition for this model – one of the co-panelist was very vehement! But that is the way… Best of the world universities (MIT, Stanford, Harvard…) are going on to this platform, launching their MOOCs – ….. Phoenix set the tone!

Our own IITs and IISc came together to initiate NPTEL (https://www.youtube.com/user/nptelhrd) to provide learning resources to Engineering students from those engineering colleges across the country that lack quality faculty and learning resources. This can be made more interesting and compelling…… by integrating with compulsory hands-on-learning with SMEs in such a way that the students get practical exposure while the SMEs get keen manpower….

We certainly need someone at the HRD ministry with a grand vision for our nation! Else we will be doing the delta changes and will go back and forth with protestations coming from all directions. This government has a mandate, it needs to take those bold steps to make a bit difference to the real driver – EDUCATION – for the nation’s excellence in every space.

I rest my thoughts here…..kindly share your thoughts here …

BIG DADDIES Of COACHING : India Today, March 10 issue features CL Educate (Career Launcher)

Education : Private enterprise, principles for excellence….

One of the arguments in the education space, in India, that I get to hear from the traditionalists is that there is no role for private enterprise in the education space. As they consider private enterprise is only for plundering and making profits and the very purpose of equity and access will be compromised as quality will reach only to those who can afford and not beyond. Contrarian to this, worlds best of the universities are private!

I have always been conscious of this premise and I keep measuring my thoughts and deeds against it to benchmark how true am I to the very purpose of reaching to every child and enabling to realize ones potential.

For a couple of days, I was in LPU, a private university campus in north India, that ‘claims’ to be the largest residential campus in the world with 18000 residents and about 36000 individuals during any working day! I was invited by the university through CL Educate’s local office at Jalandhar to interact and motivate the students of the university with one of my sessions, ‘Dream it, Do it!’

I have been to this campus before too, but this visit was an eye-opener as I had the opportunity of walking through the corridors of decision makers, had the fortune of interacting with over 1500 students during these sessions, and also experience not only the members of the top management of the university, but also observe and feel the action down to the ground through the hierarchy of execution. And I came back with quite a few lessons….

A. With vision, passion and perseverance everything is achievable. The LPU campus, in a matter of a decade, occupies almost 1000 acres of land with a sea of humanity. It started with one building and a couple of acres in 2001.

B. Yes, in main-stream education, to build a campus, you need to have a good financial backing with deep pockets, at least in the initial years of infra creation, talent and student acquisition. Once you get numbers, it will generate surplus to expand itself. Yet, 8-10 years of staying power is important.

C. The more you spend in the initial years for building the awareness, along with the building of institution, the greater are the chances of student acquisition and faster expansion.

E. The visionary who conceives the institution is not enough to carry out the vision. The visionary has to recruit more competent top level management team that shares his vision, be passionate to convert it into reality. It is not about building buildings, but building an Institution that will last for generations and generations, that contributes to the nation building.

D. In the quest to fill numbers and shore up the top-line and bottom-line do not ever compromise on the quality of the students that you recruit.. If you do so, there is a great possibility of a downward slide. You may have numbers, but no substance.

E. The leadership needs to be robust enough to create systems and processes that would promote excellence and only excellence. It needs to demand efficiency and efficacy from every member of the larger family. Mentoring and monitoring, both are as important, in imbibing the culture of purposefulness and excellence across the layers. It is all about taking ownership!

F. Are we rigid as an institution to confine ourselves to the ‘ancient’ syllabus defined? Are there cobwebs? Are we abreast with the rapidity at which the world is changing? Our curriculum and pedagogy have to be at the cutting edge pushing our faculty and our students to be learners for life time, while excelling. Openness to not only incorporating the best of the practices, but also to promote open, fearless interaction and exchange of ideas and initiatives is the key.

G. Does the spirit of innovation run through the veins of the institution? Do you promote taking decisions at every level in the interest of the institution and that of the learner? Innovation in operations is as important as innovations that may change the direction that institution takes. It keeps the joints well oiled for rapid shifts.

Of course, the highest level of endeavor that keeps this spirit alive and kicking is research. As an institution it should be integral to the vision and action, pushing every faculty to excel in their chosen field, by creating world class labs, fabrication units, design and shop floors to experiment.

I. Most importantly, how learner centric are we? How honest are we in helping our students excel? Am I helping every student grow leaps and bounds in the quest to excel. Can I strive to imbibe the spirit of excellence among every learner in the precincts of my campus?

LPU may have gained the mass, in numbers, but sadly it has a long way to go on the dimensions of quality, excellence, innovation and more importantly honesty and genuineness towards the student. So are most institutions of higher learning in our nation. Lest we should have be been figuring in the world rankings. Yes, If the founders are keen, I felt, LPU has gained enough financial muscle to establish the benchmarks in every respect, in India and perhaps be among the best in the world!

Endeavour and not Entitlement that can help each one of us excel…..lessons from Sachin’s journey!

This article has come about, as I adapted and added my own thoughts from Satya speaks at the Annual Business Conference 2013 of CL Educate at Jodhpur, for my own self. While going through the notes, I thought of blogging, as I felt, it may be of value to every individual who wishes to push and excel….

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Sachin takes his final bowl!

Sachin takes his final bowl!

In the last couple of months, there has been no day without every Indian talking about this gentleman (Sachin Tendulkar)

  • Teacher father, home making mother
  • Steeped in middle-class, low on money
  • Ambitious yet humble upbringing – brothers and sisters all dreamt of helping this young passionate lad to excel
  • A Self-made man

While BCCI was a beast, corrupt for all the players……

  • Everyone, including his outstanding colleagues who have played for 165 tests fall over one another to be with him. Humility and modesty is his middle name. Does not look put on. Touching the ground at the end of his last test is just symbolic of what he has been.
  • Stories of John wright almost slapping Sehwag. Sourav Ganguly pushing Joh Wright to apologize have been around. But, Sachin made sure John wright is respected, worked behind the doors to make it happen…
  • Never we had such a congenial atmosphere in the room

What are the lessons we can take from the journey of this humble soul…

Dreams are there, aspirations are there… we continue to be a humble family that can make a big difference to every child. Can we afford to give up? Longevity is an outcome of what we do with every child.

–        We have 24X7 to help every child excel. If you really look at it, sports are unforgiving… a couple of balls is good enough to end your career. We have so much of luxury…. We need to be honest and purposeful, that is it..

–        The greater the number of games you play greater you realize the significance of the journey. We need to be humble. We earn respect from whatever we have done or do….

–        Competition is not with anyone else. It is with my own self, to help the child who walks into my room to excel in career and life

–        Respect every player, including your opponent. The opponents will respect for what we do.

Sachin, is the second citizen after Gandhi who has given a template to the world, for others to follow….. We need to ask ourselves what others will show if they make a movie on us…

Many things are worth going back to, from time to time… Go back to your basics… nets, fielding,…

Let us revisit ourselves, our thoughts, our approach to life, our way of doing things… Let us introspect..let us see ourselves in the mirror

–        We are grateful that we are here

–        We need to scrutinize ourselves every moment

–        All of us together can and will make a huge difference; depends on what we think and do

The world will change –

–        Zomato – 1000 crore valuation recently

–        India will overtake the US soon; where will the investors put money? Everyone is looking at those who endeavour, to back them…

We have to be driving the change. We need to push ourselves to change. Demand from ourselves what more we can do and should do…

–        Push yourselves; make the choices, too many opportunities lying in front of each one of us….

–        How can you sit on your chair, if business is not bringing in the walk-ins….

–        We cannot gloat on the past laurels

–        ‘Endeavour’ to be brought back, get out of the ‘entitlement’ mode.

  • Showing up and giving 100% did not help even the ‘god of cricket’, Sachin. Average is 34 in the last 3 years.

–        Get out of the disease of Comfort Zone.

–        The purpose has to be beyond. We cannot have the mindset of me, mine, myself…

Looking at the education space, It depends on me, what, how and where I will deliver every lecture. Class sizes, seminars, government jobs, tuitions……should it be just a physical space or virtual space, how many can we address at one go effectively, how do we enable each one excel …

A thought struck me..How about writing a letter in the past tense, looking back, dated January 01, 2015, of what I did in the last 12 months. A great way to chart out my next 12 months indeed…

I shall do….and I remain..

 

 

 

Early Childhood Education – School Leadership Conferences – Facilitating and Reflecting

Early Childhood Education - School Leadership Conference

Last couple of months have seen me crisscrossing the country to facilitate this conference in multiple cities and a few more are lined up in the coming weeks. Though I have been involved in creating and anchoring workshops for parents, adults, mentors and educational leaders in the early childhood space for over a decade, one for the school leadership has definitely been a challenging one, always.

The top most of these challenges is that of creating eagerness in the school leaders to just come together to share their learning while being open to learning from others. Though we, as school and education leaders, are looked up to create and nurture learning, most of us have an ‘aura’ about ourselves and think that ‘we are the be all and end all’. Learning has agenda does not exist. We ‘Impart Knowledge’!

I have always been looking at opportunities to learn, whether through books and web, or attending these learning fora and conferences wherein just listening to someone’s sharing adds richness to my thoughts and ideas. The personal interactions add so much more. Anchoring and facilitating has added immensely to my learning. The beauty of facilitating a session is in observation and reflection. So much emerge out of the interactions among the participants, as a facilitator I just need to put those together with a couple of ideas to reach out to everyone. It gives a sense of dejavu for almost every one.

I feel delighted and also satisfied when at the end of my workshops the participants – parents, mentors or school leaders – come and share how they identified themselves with the issues or examples that I raised or shared. It is just about our ability to observe happenings around us closely, empathize with the situation, relate to them and imbibe the learning and essence, while also being good at expressing the way others can identify with it.

So much more to learn and so much more to share and do to reach out to every parent and adult to make a small difference to every child around us, who are young leaders of today capable of impacting the world of tomorrow.

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