Stalwarts 2021

Education Stalwarts 2021 | Dr.‌ ‌Deepak‌ ‌Madhok‌, ‌Chairman‌ of‌ Sunbeam‌ ‌Group‌ ‌of‌ ‌Educational‌ ‌Institutions‌| Leaders in Education

Dr.‌ ‌Deepak‌ ‌Madhok‌, ‌Chairman‌ of‌ Sunbeam‌ ‌Group‌ ‌of‌ ‌Educational‌ ‌Institutions, one of the top Leaders in Education is with EducationToday sharing his experience.

A biochemistry postgraduate of Banaras Hindu and Allahabad Universities, I began my career in Uttar Pradesh’s Provincial Civil Services in 1979 as a Class I Administrative Officer. During a career spanning 11 years in the Civil Service, I served as Dy. Administrator of the Municipal Corporation of Varanasi, before I was inducted into the Indian Administrative Service in 1982. However in 1990, I quit my career in the IAS to help my aged parents realize their mission of providing high quality, English medium education to the neglected children of Uttar Pradesh.  

“Sunbeam” was founded in 1972 by Dr. Amrit Lal Madhok, professor of Persian Literature at the Banaras Hindu University, and his educationist wife Mrs. Deesh Ishrat Madhok to cater to the holistic educational needs of the student fraternity in Varanasi. The seeds of Sunbeam Group of Education Institutions Evangelist Mission were planted by them more than four decades ago. They promoted the first English medium Sunbeam School in 1974.

Today, more than 18,000 students 5000 teachers are part of Sunbeam Group of Educational Institutions, Varanasi. Moreover, under the banner of Sunbeam Eduserve, Sunbeam Group of Educational Institution has established 6 core branches along with 18 Associate schools under the franchise model to make English-medium K-12 schools accessible to children in small towns of Uttar Pradesh. 

Sunbeam Group was conceptualized as a dream school combining the best of academics and co-curricular activities, the best amalgamation of state-of-the-art technology, and the best of teaching brains to bring to the student fraternity quality education at its best. The school aims to promote experiential learning beyond the classroom to bring the better version of each student. Building responsible and sensible citizens is our key motive.

After the Covid-19 pandemic caused the teaching-learning process to go digital, the existing methods are in a transition phase from the teacher-centric to student-centric mode. It is important that schools intertwine the digital platform in a way that supports learners to absorb the education on the modern platform. For maximum utilization of the digital mode, there is an utmost necessity to train teachers for this 21st century technology-based learning, and that is what we at Sunbeam did. 

As a Progressive K-12 school, we have adapted to the digitalization advancements. Working with technology-aided teaching solutions such as Atal Tinkering Labs, Robotics labs, and induction of courses on Artificial intelligence have transformed education and how. These trends have driven the teaching force to work towards experiential learning to deliver flawless education, thereby driving students to be the owners of their learning outcome.

Over the past few years, Sunbeam Schools has invested heavily in tech resources and training teachers, administrative staff and students in technology usage. Therefore when we had to suddenly switch to online learning because of the Covid-19 pandemic, our teachers and students were ready. During the last two months, we have specially trained our teachers to design personalized learning modules for virtual classrooms and also tend to students’ socio-emotional well-being. We have also involved and counseled parents about remote online learning. 

Incorporating blended and flipped learning in all our schools gave students more time to develop creative and critical thinking, communication, and higher order thinking skills in their classrooms. Our pedagogies have been revamped to enable real understanding of concepts, rather than rote learning. Our students have undergone professional, vocational and skill-based training, to enable them to chart out career paths after school.

Some of the major challenges we faced during the transition to remote learning,  were poor internet connectivity, lack of digital devices, technologically challenged parents, and keeping students engaged while learning remotely. However, changing parental mindsets about education not just being about completing the syllabus and exams was a greater challenge which we have overcome through regular counseling and sessions.

Now that schools are reopening, our students are strictly required to produce a consent letter. Coming to school is optional for every child, and the child’s attendance is not affected if he/she prefers not to come to school. 

Sunbeam follows the Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedures regarding health and safety precautions issued by the government. We have a special Covid task force team on rounds for regular checks on campus. 

The most serious issue posed by the pandemic was the effect on people’s mental health. This thought led us to start connecting with the parents and students through video calls which we called ‘Sunshine Calls’. Teachers, administrators and student leaders connected with parents and children each day, to let them know that they have someone to talk to. Every Sunshine call was followed by a report that we shared with our school counselor, and if there was something that caught his attention, he gave away free telephonic counseling sessions.

We also organized well-being sessions by professionals on the online platform and engaged parents and kids in some exciting activities like Virtual Parties, Kahoot Quizzes, Yoga & Mindfulness sessions, Social Media shout outs, etc.

My biggest pillar of support has been my wife. Since our marriage in 1979, Mrs. Bharti Madhok has transformed the Sunbeam pedagogy and helped further the mission of Sunbeam Group by focusing on provision of good quality education to all. The Sunbeam management and Board members have been a great support and of course, the teacher and staff members who are ready to learn and take up challenges every single day only for the wellbeing of the children. 

I have received numerous awards and encomiums for providing contemporary K-12 education, including the Global Education Leadership Award 2010 by the Indian Economic Development & Research Association, Asia’s Greatest Leaders Award 2016 by Asia One for contribution in the field of education, Lifetime Achievement Award 2018 by AKS Education Awards, and Champion of Change Award 2018 by Vice-president of India Mr. Venkaiah Naidu.

A school can only be progressive if its promoters stringently encourage teachers to adapt the policy of professional grooming and personal learning as the first step for effective delivery. This ideology has been seeping into the workforce of the schools which are prominently private players in the industry. Teachers are made to appear for advanced courses like CENTA or training through Microsoft to bring in effective tools in the school education system. A teacher will only be able to apply his/her advance skills if the management provides the platform to deliver.

Sunbeam Schools will continue to promote educational excellence and students’ well-being, ensuring that every child has a positive, happy and rewarding experience facilitated by caring and innovative teachers.

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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