Featured MBA grad of the month – Prasid Sreeprakash. (Part 2 of interview)

Continued from here

InsideIIM: How has your MBA helped you on this job?

Prasid: As mentioned above, planning is the essence of the job I do. It involves many late nights and thinking critically and in-depth about the progression of the teaching and about how to teach each objective. Data analysis to make informed decision about my kids’ progress on multiple parameters is essential for transformative education. I think the two years I spent at IIM Indore has really helped me in doing these aspects of my  job better.

InsideIIM: Any message or perspective you would want to give future management graduates of India?

Prasid: An MBA should not be looked at as a gateway to corporates only. There are so many opportunities in our country to do so many things that we should use the education we get in the b-schools to truly follow our passion. It might be really difficult at times but more often than not, the hills are so high that the depths of the valleys are truly worth it.

InsideIIM: What support have you received from IIM Indore for this decision?

Prasid:Upon hearing my decision to sit out of the placement process at campus to join TFI, the director, Prof. Ravichandran was kind enough to give me a course fee refund for the two years I spent at IIM Indore.

Also, I have the option of sitting in the placements of IIM Indore right after my fellowship experience. I am truly grateful to him and the board of directors for this support.

Also I have to mention how supportive all my friends and staff at the institute were of my decision.

InsideIIM: What makes a really good teacher, especially with kids?

Prasid: I believe there are 5 pillars on which any teacher should be judged.

  1. Setting expectations and big goals for the students. This is really important to create a pathway to the goal.
  2. Planning. Right down from yearly plans to minute-by-minute plans have to be aligned for a teacher to be successful
  3. Execution: There is no point making the best plans on paper if you can’t execute it in class. Your energy levels and the connect with the kids hugely influence this.
  4. Improving. Plans need to be constantly revised considering how dynamic the job of a teacher is. You need to be constantly thinking on your feet on what you should be doing to making your teaching better.
  5. Hard-work: At the end of the day, if you do not put in the required hours of work the kids will not get the most of the time in school.

InsideIIM: Can you throw some light on the problems that plague Indian school education and how these can be solved?

Prasid: The list of problems is just endless but I can list down some of the most pressing ones that if taken care of, will change the way our world is in the near future.

  1. Lack of teachers. And even if there are, the acute lack of quality teachers is without doubt the major problem in our system. As TFI has shown, this is not due to the lack of supply. (TFI had 5000 applications for its 300 slots for fellows).
  2. This can be explained by the fact there are no the proper structures and support systems for someone to pursue a career in teaching. A teacher gets paid as low as Rs.3300 in a school in Kandivalli for doing a fulltime job. A lack of political will and leadership to change this scenario is way too obvious. Hence in the short run, there is a need to create hundreds of organizations like TFI with the same level of commitment shown by the people running it.
  3. The sheer scale of the problem is another problem. As I know from daily experience it’s tough enough to turn around one class, let alone a nation. Eventually there needs to be government support to reach every single school in the remote corners of the country.

Zooming out, you realize that these issues plague not just the primary education but also the higher education system. The solutions might be different but the crux of the problem remains the same.

InsideIIM: Anything else you’d like us to know?

Prasid: The sort of work we as TFI fellows do needs support from many people. There are three ways to support.

  1. The best way to come to class and spend time with the kids.
  2. Buying books, stationeries, etc for the kids
  3. Donating money for the class.

The school in which I teach in has minimal school infrastructure. We don’t have cupboards, no libraries, no teaching aids, etc. It would be really great if I can raise enough money to buy these things which would drastically improve my effectiveness at school and create a much better and healthier learning environment at school.  I have set up a page http://www.giveindia.org/iGive-TFIPrasid on the give India website for donations. The money will directly go to the TFI account and I get reimbursed from them after showing the appropriate bills. If you feel like contributing to this very important cause please use the link and do spread the word. I can be reached at prasid.s2011@teachforindia.org for any other queries.

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Dr MP Sukumaran Nair

I have read with absorbing interest Prasid's interview at IIM Indore TFI . I congratulate him on this great dedication and commitment.
I always felt that in all our developmental processes we are creating islands of prosperity amidst deprivation. Your great endeavor will certainly contribute to is to level off the huge mountain of inequality around us. In this country social transformation can come only by this type of gestures of goodwill.
We are all proud of you Prasid
Dr MP Sukumaran Nair

Team InsideIIM

We are indeed privileged to have someone of your stature to visit our website and also comment on it. We hope to share many such positive stories in the future.

Along with you we too hope that Prasid achieves much more than what he set out to do. InsideIIM will always support such graduates of character.