Anurag Behar

 Anurag Behar

Chief Sustainability Officer, Wipro Limited

He had earlier led Wipro Infrastructure Engineering to a remarkable growth trajectory - the business has grown from USD 30 million to over USD 300 million in four years. The precision engineering hydraulic components that this business makes are at the core of the infrastructure growth of India, finding application in large industrial plants, airports, ports, mines, material handling, forestry, construction and earth moving equipment. The business is also the leading player in its segment in Europe, with significant operations in Scandinavia.

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As I waited to meet the principal, the teacher’s voice drifted out from the open classroom window. It was a dark room with the children on the floor. I couldn’t make out more from the outside. The voice was repeating “Kanha is a national park. It is open till 6pm in the summers and 4pm in the winters.” After 3 repetitions, he instructed the children to repeat after him, which they did.

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Since education has a deep impact on the next generation, it is important that teachers become reflective practitioners

Whichever university I go to speak at, I make it a point to say that we are recruiting philosophers, especially those interested in school education. Once, a professor came up to me and said that his philosophy department had 13 people pursuing PhDs. In other places even memories of a philosophy department aren’t there, let alone 13 active PhD students.

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The onus is with all those who can change our system, not just with the teachers

The young woman looked like a school girl. She was a teacher, who had recently joined a government primary school. Her cheeks reddened and voice quivered. She was responding to a preposterous statement by a man with more experience as a teacher than her age.

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It is good to meet people who are not hanging around waiting for the system to change, but are trying to change it

The school was painted canary yellow. I haven’t seen another school of that colour. It was perched at one end of the village far away from the houses, where the steep slope began. The village of 1,000 people was on a mountain top higher than most, with the endless Kumaon on all sides. Almora was visible about 30km away. The startling yellow, and its dramatic perch, probably makes the school visible from very long distances, like a lighthouse. The village is called Satyun.

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Even countries completely committed to free markets and a dominant role for the private sector, have a public system for schooling

Sometime in January this year, Mint displayed a graphics about good and bad things that have occurred in India in the past decade. The increase in the number of private schools was depicted prominently as a good development. This is not a valid claim. The increase in the percentage of private schools, i.e., the effective privatization of school education, is not a positive development. It will not help solve India’s education problem.

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There is a huge gap between our policies and their implementation on the ground. And that’s where the problem lies

As I travel across the country, usually I drop in to schools unannounced or my colleagues informally coordinate a visit. Very few school visits are “officially” scheduled. Let me narrate the typical script of one such “official” visit.

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In reality, teachers are responsible in very limited ways, because the rot is in the system that prepares them as teachers Wherever we were in the world, the tragedy at the Sandy Hook school in Newtown stopped us.

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