Interview by Kritika Gupta
Mr. Sahil Aggarwal is the CEO and Co-founder of Rishihood University. He is also the Co-founder of Vision India Foundation. His educational qualifications include MA in Diplomacy from Jindal Global University and B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Delhi.
Mr. Aggarwal is also a board member at Gateway Education. He is involved in organization-building and international affairs programs at Vision India Foundation. He has been a Visiting Scholar at Indiana University Bloomington for 5 months. He is passionate about institution building and strategic initiatives for India.
An enriching and fulfilling experience in the education industry
Education creates the foundation of a nation’s future. The nature of impact that can be created through education is what makes it a very exciting sector to work in. My experiences have been enriching and fulfilling. As an educational leader, we get to see how a child develops over the years they spend time in the institute. The sector allows one to think of the future and make interventions in the present.
Leadership style of Mr. Sahil Aggarwal
I believe that a leader should aspire to grow and enable others to grow. This growth is integral – it includes material, intellectual, emotional and spiritual dimensions of life. I should not be classified as a ‘leader’ yet, I am too young for that. But I have been fortunate to be in leadership roles in different organizations. My style is to involve the team in creating a common vision and then provide all the resources and authority to the team in achieving that vision. I tend to decide quickly in favor or against something depending on how it aligns with the vision of the organization.
Views on the Project-based Learning and Value addition Programs
Education must be as close to real-life as possible. The pedagogy should facilitate hands-on learning. The project-based approach helps in this because the students, as well as the faculty, get to immerse in an environment which takes learning to a deeper level. Value addition programs are of different kinds, ranging from skill-development at a very basic level to executive programs for organizational leaders. At the pace with which work cultures and requirements are evolving, it becomes necessary to reskill yourself. This is where value addition programs come into the picture.
At Rishihood, our objective is to integrate ‘alumni education’ with all our programs so that our alumni can be at the forefront of changes in their profession.
Interacting with the students and being available for them
I enjoy talking to enthusiastic learners. Education should not be restricted to classrooms. Personal interactions that students have with the faculty and seniors goes a long way. I have myself gained a lot from informal interactions with seniors and professors when I was studying at IIT Delhi. In addition to this, education is not restricted to the four years spent at college. Therefore, spending time with students helps me to learn.
The students of today are always ahead in their exposure and ideas. I make myself available to students while walking on the campus or formally scheduling an interaction. Social media also helps. Students approach me and my colleagues through Facebook.
Mr. Aggarwal on Rishihood University bringing a change in education
We have two key interests – ‘applied learning’ and ‘education for impact’. As we prepare to launch our full-time programs in 2019, we are designing our schools and curricula in a way which prepares students for a real social impact. Our academic programs have been chosen carefully to create an ecosystem which motivates the students to see life beyond personal gains. Through ‘applied learning’, our students and faculty members are encouraged to rethink learning in a way that is directly relevant to emerging issues and can contribute to providing solutions.
An ideal school environment encouraging learning and growth of students
An ideal environment is when the faculty members become ‘gurus’ and mentor the students so that the students achieve their full potential. In such an environment, learning and holistic growth become important objectives. Faculty and students feel like a family. It is not straightforward to achieve such a culture. Residential learning, built-environment, pedagogical improvements, and a ‘learning mindset’ can help us in creating such a culture.
Suggestions for the youth
We are passing through historic times in India. The opportunity that the young generation of India has got today is simply unprecedented. We have an independent country, a growing economy, a stable polity, and increasingly strong international relations. We as the youth of India should understand and appreciate this opportunity. If we put it in a two-thousand-year perspective, we would realize that this is a unique opportunity and it will be a collective failure of our generation if we do not utilize its potential.