Gandhinagar: Expanding its horizons of inclusivity, the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar (IITGN) has joined hands with Dakshana, a not-for-profit organisation, and Mr Ruyintan Mehta, a serial entrepreneur, and philanthropist, to start a month-long “IITGN-Dakshana Leadership Programme” from September 1-30, 2022, to train 100 academically outstanding but economically underprivileged students, predominantly from rural India, in essential skills of leadership, critical thinking, and communication.
Dakshana presently helps bright and impoverished students, predominantly from rural India, to prepare for IIT and medical entrance exams through intensive coaching for 1-2 years. However, there was also a need to build their soft skills, such as leadership, critical thinking, and communication, to add more value to their talent. The IITGN Dakshana Leadership Programme aims to equip students with these skills and knowledge in an IIT environment to help them reach their full potential.
The first IITGN Dakshana Leadership Programme will be hosting 100 Dakshana scholars selected from their Pune, Bangalore, and Hyderabad branches. They have been performing exceptionally well in their IIT-JEE preparation at Dakshana. These students come here from the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas and other government schools across India after getting selected for intensive coaching based on their academic record and results in classes 10 & 12 and Dakshana’s proprietary testing. The annual income of these students’ parents/guardians is generally less than Rs 2 lakh.
At IITGN, these students will be trained by some of the best mentors from India and abroad. Mr Atul Singh, founder, CEO and editor-in-chief of Fair Observer and Mr Peter Isackson, chief strategy officer of Fair Observer, a USA-based independent media organisation, will mentor the participants in the fundamentals of communication. Ms Uma Oza, an educator and personal growth facilitator with over 30 years of experience, will help the students build their leadership qualities. Prof Jaison A Manjaly, Jasubhai Memorial Chair Professor and Head of Humanities and Social Sciences at IITGN, will train students in critical thinking skills. As a part of the programme, the students will also visit Sabarmati Ashram, Adalaj stepwell, and other heritage sites of Ahmedabad.
Talking about backing this unique programme with necessary funds, Mr Ruyintan Mehta, a serial entrepreneur from the USA and well-wisher of IITGN and Dakshana, said, “I have witnessed the progress of Dakshana students over the last few years. These students are exceptionally smart and have a bright future ahead of them. The IITGN Dakshana Leadership Programme is a way to provide these disadvantaged students with an opportunity to have an equal footing before they start their journey at an IIT and help them reach their potential through essential skill development. It is my way of giving back.”