Education Stalwarts 2021 | Mr. Vineeth Manjunath, CEO of Poorna Vikasa Vidyalaya | Leaders in Education

Mr. Vineeth Manjunath, CEO of Poorna Vikasa Vidyalaya, one of the top Leaders in Education is with EducationToday sharing his experience.

After studying civil engineering, I began my career by joining my family business, and worked in the field of construction. Just a few years ago, my father decided to start a school; and hence, Poorna Vikasa Vidyalaya was established by him in the year 2018.

Watching him establish the school made me want to learn about education since my academic background was completely different. I thus decided to pursue my Master’s in Business Administration with a specialization in the field of education from King’s College London, which is ranked in the top 10 universities in the world. I completed the one year course with distinction and by the time I came back to Bangalore in the year 2019, Poorna Vikasa Vidyalaya was already up and running. 

Since then, I have been working as the CEO of the school. We follow CBSE syllabus and currently offer education from Montessori to class 8. One of our plans for the next year is to expand till class 10.

Being a sportsman all my life, I played cricket in the UK, Australia, and have also represented the Karnataka Premier League. I currently play in the first division league in Bangalore. 

While I was pursuing my engineering, I felt the atmosphere there was extremely competitive. Watching everyone compete with each other in class for higher grades and placements made me realize that there was a flaw in the system as I did not find the competition healthy at all. 

Now that I am working in the education sector, my main objective is to develop self-learners and shape leaders of the future. Playing cricket has taught me a lot about leadership viz. how to create leaders, and what makes good leaders. So, at the school, we try to bring those leanings in and help our students grow to become effective and successful leaders of the future.

I feel that one of the major shortcomings in the education sector is the curriculum that is adopted, which is mostly focused on rote learning. This does not allow our children to be creative despite creativity being very important at the young age. I think it is crucial to imbibe creativity in children because that is what will help them in the future. With so many new technologies being introduced and implemented into our lives, it is ultimately the creative ones who possess important life skills that will shine in the future. Those are the abilities humans need to develop as most tasks requiring academic knowledge can be performed by machines. But sadly, our curriculum has not focused enough on imbibing the essential life skills and creativity. 

While the recent times have witnessed gradual changes in this aspect, it was a huge problem that was prevalent while I was pursuing my education which led me to ensure that it is rectified in our school. Hence, at Poorna Vikasa Vidyalaya, we constantly strive to foster creativity in our students and focus on instilling life skills rather that encouraging rote learning. 

I am fairly new to the education sector and our school is just 3 years old; so, dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic was a massive challenge for us. The major hurdle was to get the children used to ‘the new normal’ as the concept of online classes was completely new to them. 

Addressing the attention span of the students was also a task during the pandemic. I already feel that kids these days have a low attention span, and this is a challenge that was always faced even in the real classrooms. Having to face it in an online class was a lot more taxing. To address this issue, we incorporated various engagement activities in our online classes so as to prevent them from getting bored and easily distracted. We were constantly interacting with them and their parents. Our teachers worked extremely hard during the pandemic to make sure the children were able to learn, while also paying heed to their mental and emotional well-being. We put in every possible effort to see that learning never stopped, and I am happy to say that we successfully managed to keep the process of learning continuous despite all the obstacles. I am glad we have been able to sustain through it, given that we witnessed a number of schools shutting down during the last year. It has now been a year since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, and all our students and teachers have adapted to the new normal. 

Establishing the school was my father’s idea; he had a vision to start a school of his own that would bring about new changes in the education system. It is his vision that I am working towards. My aim right now is to power growth of sports in education as sports has been my passion since the very beginning. I wish to integrate the two and provide quality education along with the best sports facilities and opportunities in our school.

My pillars of support through the course of my journey have been my elder brother who is an IIT graduate, and my father who has been my constant guide and mentor through every aspect of my life. 

My message to the upcoming professionals in the field of education is- Focus on the curriculum and don’t be rigid about the performance of your students. Allow them to be creative. Many schools and professionals in the education segment these days tend to only focus on numbers, that is, on the marks secured by the students. I firmly believe that it isn’t the marks that will determine the success of the children in the future. My advice would thus be to focus on creating leaders and problem solvers. Let them be creative. Recognize their creativity and reward them for it.

Do check out experiences shared by our top 50 leaders in education. All of the Leaders in education who have shared their experience with us have been motivating and life changing.

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