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Jayati Godhawat

JWB Blogger

JWB Finds Out Why Indu Shahani, Principal, HR College, Approves Quota System

  • JWB Post
  •  July 8, 2016


On 7th July, FICCI Flo hosted a session, ‘Re-imagining Education’ with Dr. Indu Shahani, the Principal of HR College, Mumbai.

In the year 2008, Indu Shahani was appointed the Sheriff of Mumbai and as the Sheriff, she launched various campaigns in Mumbai and also administered the start of women’s helpline number 1298. She was awarded the prestigious ‘Mumbai Women of the Decade Achievers’ Award,’ by ASSOCHAM Ladies League.

Jayshree Periwal, Director of Jayshree Periwal Group of Schools, Madhu Maine, Principal of Jayshree Periwal High School, Suniti Sharma, Principal of M.G.D. Girls’ School, and Neeta Boochra, Founder Chairperson FICCI Flo Jaipur Chapter were the guest of honor for the evening.

Preeti Saboo, the current Chairperson FICCI Flo Jaipur, began the event by introducing the five girls who were trained under the women empowerment programmes of skill development. These five girls underwent one-year training in driving and now, are professional drivers.


Amazing, isn’t it?

BTW, they are looking for a job, so in case, you want to employ them as drivers, feel free to contact FICCI Flo Jaipur

Indu Shahani, then, initiated the session by narrating a beautiful experience she had when she was in Jaipur last time. She said,

“Last time I was in Jaipur, I was going by my car when a little girl came up to me with a doll and pleaded me to buy it. She said her mother had made it, and it’s just for 50 rupees. I was touched, I instantly bought it and gave her 100 rupee note as I didn’t have change. However, she said, ‘ I can’t take 100 rupees from you as the doll only costs 50.” She then took out the necklace from her neck and gave it to me.”


She added, “The necklace I am wearing today is hers. I was moved by the values and morals instilled in her by her parents. And, this is what we all should teach our students.”

Indu Shahani pointed out the importance of grit and how teaching every child to follow their passion would make them responsible beings.

“We should all thrive to make our students responsible individuals. It doesn’t matter that they are Harvard returns or merit-listed. Develop their competence, communication and interaction skills, and compassion; then you’ll see, they’ll excel in every area of their life.”

Interestingly, Indu Shahani let students carry their mobiles in classes and ask them to google the topics they are studying in the class.

Cool, right?

Indu discussed how universities and colleges should attach less importance to the curriculum based education and focus more on the education that challenges the students and increases their grit.


“At HR, I started with a simple principle that every student has to undertake and complete one NGO Project. And, the results were outstanding.”

“One of the HR students came up with the Project Chirag through which he has provided solar light to over ten thousand houses in villages. Another group of students is working together to give Mumbai slums clean drinking water. One of them made a cost- effective and portable school bag cum desk for the kids and distributed it in the government schools. Another HR student came up with the brilliant idea of water wheel for the rural women, which helped them to carry water in a big drum on wheels.”

She asked the audience,


“It’s time we re-imagine education. But, how can we do things differently?”

“Can we teach them without textbooks?”

“Can we build compassion in our students?”

“Can our students make a positive difference in the lives of others.”

She concluded by saying,

“There comes a time when you have to disrupt and innovate. That time is NOW. Give your students space to do whatever they want to do. Let them follow their passion. All you have to do is teach them never to give up.”

Later, the session was opened for the audience.

Q. Education, today, is based solely on marks and percentages. What can we do to get into top colleges?

Indu: Unfortunately, in our country, the number of students is so huge that selection based on the percentages is the only feasible way.

Q. Students are not given value education in the schools and colleges. How can it be fixed?


Indu: Values and ethics have to be imbibed by the family, and parents should set an example for their children. Of course, in educational institutions, too, it is important to inculcate mannerisms and ethics, but, I believe, a child derives values from his/her family the most.

Q. The government is giving over importance to the Right to Education. Through (RTE) Quota System, many qualified students are suffering. How can that be reformed?

Indu: I disagree with you, and I am in support of the Government on RTE. Without quotas, no school or college shall enroll any socially or economically disadvantaged students. It is because of the Quota System that so many of such students can get the education in prestigious colleges. In India, especially, nothing happens if it isn’t a compulsion and so some form of standardisation is necessary.

Once Nelson Mandela said, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.’

All we have to do is: Understand the real purpose of education and change our approach towards it, the world, then, will be a better place to live.

Let’s Re-imagine Education, shall we?

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