Shikha Academy was founded in 2018 by the Shantilal Shanghvi Foundation. We are a model of a high quality, low cost, scalable education system to replace the many, well-documented flaws in the current system of education in India. Here are some of our beliefs.
We started the academy with a first principles approach, starting with asking the question, what should the role of education be for students in India? This first principles analysis is an approach we employ for every decision we make regarding school design. For us, the goal of education is to prepare our students for future success in the real world.
With progresses in technology and a rapidly shifting society, educators have to let go of the belief that we know the most important content to teach our students for the future. Jobs are constantly changing and skills that we deemed important a few years ago are completely irrelevant or made redundant with technology.
So then, what is worth learning today? We believe that the only constant is change, what is worth learning is how to continuously evolve by becoming self-driven, lifelong learners. What is worth learning is the academic tools, open mindsets and character foundations to succeed at any challenge the future may throw at them.
This implies that understanding the underlying structures and designs of domains are more important than knowledge of specific facts. For example, learning to think like a scientist and following the scientific process is more valuable than remembering the valence values of a specific element. Learning how historians create narratives from evidence is more valuable than knowing which year the Battle of Plassey was fought in. Learning how to communicate more effectively is more valuable than identifying the past participle form of a verb.
Teachers have one of the toughest jobs in the world and are highly undervalued as contributors to society. Teachers in the 21st century cannot and need not be expected to remain the single source of all information worth learning today. They can be facilitators of education, mentors and role models, rather than content delivery machines. Teachers are technology are perfectly suited partners, extraordinary in the classroom when they work together to capitalise on their individual strengths.
Our goal of preparing students for the future, necessarily implies that education has to be designed for and imitate as far as possible, real-world experiences. Learning should be hands on, problem based and relevant. Every unit starts with a problem to be solved, not a topic to be learned. We create learning experiences throughout our curriculum in constant consultation with real world experts.
We are not the first to attempt high quality, innovative school systems. We are inspired by many examples of beautiful schools that share philosophies similar to ours. However, the system as a whole has not shifted, because high quality education is extremely difficult to scale. At Shikha, all school design decisions are made with scale at the start, using technology, resourcefulness and lessons from other domains. This, we believe, is the only way to have lasting, wide-spread impact.
THE SCHOOL AS A SYSTEM
A school, much like any other complex organisation, is a system, made of multiple, interconnected and interdependent parts that have to be intentionally aligned towards a common goal. The design of traditional schools, where the main goal is academic performance in a high stakes board exam, clearly reflects this, in their curriculum, decisions about classroom instruction, school design etc.
At Shikha Academy, our goal is to prepare students for the future. Every aspect of the school therefore has been designed keeping this goal in mind.
OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLES
At Shikha Academy, we focus on certain skills that are embedded into our pedagogy. Practice of these skills lead to certain behaviours, which we identify and encourage. Repeated behaviours lead to habits and values. This is the process that we use to encourage the fulfillment of our three goals above.
These 6C 21st century skills are embedded in our curriculum. Our classes build:
We face both successes and challenges with balance and strength.
We are brave enough to make the right choices every time.
We are always questioning, learning and connecting.
We use what we have and find what we need to solve problems.
The purpose of our lives is to leave the world better than we found it.
Repeated behaviours become habits and repeated habits become values. We believe that:
Each person has intrinsic value and deserves respect.
Empathy and open-mindedness lead to a harmonious world.
Excellence is defined by striving to do our best at everything we do.
We are all responsible for ourselves, our actions and our future.
Hope and optimism are essential for progress and growth.