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Proud to be BITSian Giridhar Thunders Ordinary People Extraordinary Teachers make The Heroes of Real India

03-18-2020 07:43 AM CET | Science & Education

Press release from: Pilani Chronicle

Proud to be BITSian Giridhar Thunders Ordinary People Extraordinary Teachers make The Heroes of Real India

Proud to be BITSian Giridhar Thunders Ordinary People Extraordinary Teachers make The Heroes of Real India

The author Giridhar "Giri" who is an alumnus of institution of eminence Birla Institute of Technology and Science BITS Pilani 1973 - 1978 MSc (Hons) Chemistry is presently Registrar and Chief Operating Officer at name to reckon with Azim Premji University, Bangalore. Giri firmly believes that to bring about Education for Social Change, what India today need is teachers who are awakeners. One is reminded of the quote from Indian Philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti regarded globally as one of greatest thinkers & teachers, "Education can be transformed only by educating the educator, and not merely creating a new pattern, a new system of action."

Giridhar writes regularly drawing upon his experiences in the education sector and these essays have been published in the Wall Street Journal, Indian Express, the Hindu, and Seminar magazine. He played inter-school and city cricket tournaments. He played his best cricket in his late thirties at Bangalore tournaments and lower league matches bowling leg spin, batting stodgily and fielding with agility and wishes he had played like that in his younger days.

Chandar Natarajan a fellow BITSian from Giri's college days fondly recall his phenomenal knowledge about cricket statistics and passionate running commentary from Ram Bhawan Hostel roof top for matches held in the lush green central lawns facing the iconic BITS Tower. Passion for cricket resulted in Giri co authoring with VJ Raghunath two books Mid Wicket Tales: From Trumper to Tendulkar and From Mumbai to Durban: India's Greatest Tests. The books have had reviews from Wisden India and cricketing greats Rahul Dravid, Matthew Hayden, Mike Hussey, Javagal Srinath, EAS Prasanna, VVS Laxman, S Venkataraghavan etal which speak volume about the quality of the books.

From 2002, Giridhar's role in Azim Premji Foundation took him to schools across the nation covering Karnataka, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh where the foundation was partnering with respective state education departments to contribute to improving the quality of government schools resulting in establishment of network of Voluntary Teacher Forums - VTFs and Teaching Learning Centres - TLCs. Giri was angered by popular media thriving in making noise about a dysfunctional government school system highlighting a mishap in midday meals, the truant school teacher who runs a grocery shop or who misspells the days of the week which are considered more newsworthy than the stories of teachers who are doing stellar work in anonymity.

From a pool of around six hundred schools where a teacher or head teacher was doing exemplary work, Giri selected one hundred and ten. Starting March 2017 until November 2018, he visited these schools in Uttarkashi and Udham Singh Nagar in Uttarakhand, Sirohi and Tonk in Rajasthan, and Yadgir in Karnataka. The result is Giri's must read delightful as well as serious book which renews the hopes of a billion Indians for the future of their children studying in millions of government primary and secondary schools.

Giri has engineered in his book a series of stories that the readers can choose to read in any order they wish. What connects the stories from Hemmadagi in Karnataka to Gangani in Uttarakhand is the proud refrain of the teachers, 'Idhu bari sarkari kelsa alla' or 'Yeh sarkari naukri nahi hai,' (this is not just a government job) thereby conveying the true meaning of government service in the trenches. The book points out the importance and enormous scale of work yet to be done in motivating, enabling and helping teachers in these schools.

The book highlights five aspects of the exemplar teachers covered by the author- head master as the CEO, reflective practice, concern for delivering equity and quality, teamwork and heroic efforts to break all barriers. Each chapter is full of authentic case studies with rich local flavour hard to capture in a review. Unlike typical case research, it covers hundreds of teachers over long years of contact and institutional involvement with these schools. 'The last Word' by the CEO of the Foundation emphasizes why this story needs to be told. Otherwise, we tend to read only pessimistic, unappreciative stories about such schools in the main stream media and publications.

Reviewer R.Rajagopalan who is also a well known alumnus of BITS Pilani from Bangalore says "I am a product of the kinds of primary and secondary schools discussed in this book. As a retired academic, I consider teaching in primary schools the most challenging and meaningful profession. For, one is required to shape and mold young minds and bodies- with very limited physical infrastructure, academic support and the poverty of bulk of the students. But since when one gets his hands on a book on teachers in government schools which reads like racy thriller?"

The bollywood film Super 30 with Hrithik Roshan highlighted just one teacher Anandkumar who coaches for IIT admissions and made some noise in box office. However, Giri is not the one to remain silent as the nation at large has many more teachers who are the real heroes. The result is his latest book "Ordinary People, Extraordinary Teachers: The Heroes of Real India" published by Westland ISNB-10: 9388754859 and is available in Amazon.

S. Giridhar
Chief Operating Officer
Azim Premji University
PES Campus, Pixel Park, B Block
Electronics City, Hosur Road (Beside NICE Road)
Bengaluru - 560100 India

Pilani Chronicle covers news about happenings in Pilani, achievements of Proud to be BITSians who are alumni from institution of eminence BITS Pilani.

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