With an aim to equip IIT and engineering aspirant students from humble backgrounds with essential skills of communication, leadership, and critical thinking, the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar (IITGN) kick-started the second edition of the “IITGN-Dakshana Leadership Programme” today for about 70 students from the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas and other government schools from 16 Indian states.
These have been selected from the Pune, Bundi, Kottayam, and Lucknow centres of the Dakshana Foundation based on their exceptional performance in IIT-JEE preparation at Dakshana. The annual income of these students’ parents is less than Rs 2 lakh. This year’s cohort also includes ten students who are already studying at various institutes of national importance with the Foundation for Excellence scholarships.
Over the next one month, these students from across India, who have showcased outstanding academic abilities will be provided with the best training and knowledge in an IIT environment to help them reach their full potential.
The communication skills module will hone their English language and communication skills to build their confidence while speaking. The Leadership module, integrated with a uniquely designed “Finding a Leader in You” (FLY) programme, aims to make students aware of their strengths and work on their weaknesses to become confident leaders.
The course will introduce students to concepts of ethics, perseverance, teamwork, and time management. The critical thinking module will encourage students to ask critical questions about existing theories, principles, and possibilities and engage with thought experiments. All these sessions will be conducted by some of the best mentors from the Competitive Mindset Institute and IIT Gandhinagar.
Apart from the core modules, the month-long residential programme will also immerse students in various extracurricular activities like arts, dance, sports, swimming, yoga, learning Science and Mathematics concepts through DIY toys with the Centre for Creative Learning at IITGN, and visit to the Sabarmati Ashram.
Speaking virtually from the USA during the inaugural session of the programme, Mr Ruyintan Mehta, a philanthropist and serial entrepreneur from the USA, who has extended his generous support to the programme along with the Maker Bhavan Foundation, said that “ Through the IITGN-Dakshana Leadership Programme, we want to expose students to the unique capabilities in them and hone their soft skills to build confidence through active learning. The methodology of teaching, the learning environment, and the facilities at IITGN are exceptional among all IITs. I am sure you will benefit a lot from this programme.”
Prof Jaison A Manjaly, Jasubhai Memorial Chair Professor and Head of Humanities and Social Sciences at IITGN, who is also leading this programme, said that, “We offer the students an exposure to communication, leadership and critical thinking skills. We believe that these skills would have a significant impact in their academic experience and would give a sense of autonomy and independence.”
Mr Mohnish Pabrai, Founder, Dakshana, and Ms Sudha Kidao, Chair, Foundation for Excellence, also encouraged students to make the most of the programme at IITGN.
Sneha Rani, a student from Chandigarh, affiliated with Dakshana centre in Pune, said that, “I want to be a Data Scientist in future. Through this programme, I want to overcome my fear of public speaking and prepare myself for the future by improving my soft skills.”