In the Indian educational system, whenever women have stepped into its topography, they have enhanced and upgraded its ecosystem. History is the proof of this, and over the years, India has witnessed some of the finest educational women educators that changed the face of education for generations to come.
An educator’s job is not just to educate but to ensure the consistent evolution of the learners, evolution of body, mind and soul. However, there has always been a little restriction when the topic of women education is tickled. In a world where now equality is considered and practised as gender neutral principle, India lacks behind in educating its younger generation of girls.
After spending 27 years in the education sector Ms. Shalini Mehrotra, Principal at Vidya Devi Jindal School, has embraced education for girls in all its entirety and has decided to cover up the deficit in the literacy ratio of boys and girls in India.
Acknowledging her efforts, The Knowledge Review Magazine has recognised her contribution to the education sector and specifically uplifting education standards for women in India. Here is a detailed overview of her journey as an influential and innovative educator.
A Leader Driven by Stern Intent
After her Master’s degree in Physics with a specialisation in Electronics and a Master’s in education with a major in Curriculum Development and Advance Techniques of Instructions, Ms. Shalini Mehrotra’s twenty-seven-year career began as a Physics teacher. She has evolved to be a Principal of one of the country’s leading all-girls residential schools. Ms. Shalini hails originally from Kanpur but has travelled across the country and spent most of her professional life in esteemed boarding schools in the country.
Ms. Shalini has assimiliated excellences of her experiences of working with Mayo College Girls’ School, Ajmer, Assam Valley School, Assam, The Scindia School, Gwalior, and Vidya Devi Jindal School, Hisar. She had carried out responsibilities under varied/diversed roles of academic administration as the Dean of Academics, followed by the position of the first woman Vice Principal of a 117-year-old all boys’ heritage school and currently the Principal of all girls’ residential school, which enjoys a top ranking in the country.
While sharing her past experiences, she says, “In my journey as an educator, I believe that all children deserve a quality education and must have access to equality and also equity in terms of learning opportunities, to bring out/launch their best version into this world especially equality in education for girls.”
While she has been a crusader of holistic education, her vision as a leader is to create an environment where the children can achieve high character excellence and teaching-learning process foster an impact on their mind and attitude to live a fulfilling life with grit and resilience.
A Preeminent School and its Value Construct
Vidya Devi Jindal School is an all-girls residential school in Hisar, Haryana. The school has been a beacon of imparting both literary and co-curricular education to girls ever since its inception in 1984. The school endeavours to provide education that forms character, strengthens the mind, expands the intellect, and enables the students to be self-reliant. The school’s outlined mission and vision are listed below:
- To provide a caring, respectful, and secure multicultural environment
- To inspire students to accept challenges and enhance their performance.
- To imbibe in the students a strong sense of personal and social responsibility.
- To use a comprehensive programme of varied instructional strategies and innovative techniques in technology towards academic and Co-curricular excellence.
- To support a highly committed and creative faculty.
- To encourage a participative community of responsive and responsible parents, alumni, and other stakeholders.
To become a leading residential school known for providing a happy environment, which encourages fearless intellectual curiosity, learning through enthusiastic self-discovery, and inspires a love for integrity, compassion, and life.
Striving for Excellence
Academic excellence lies at the core of the VDJS’s endeavours. The curriculum is calibrated thoughtfully so that students make steady strides, and finally, stretch targets are set for them with all possible institutional support.
The school provides its students with a conducive environment that supports experiential learning through Integrated Learning Pedagogy. The Air-Conditioned Classrooms are equipped with the best technology available in a wi-fi-enabled academic block and individually held MAC Books. We follow most efficacious teaching-learning practices like Mindspark, STEM education in our ATL Labs, Financial Literacy, Artificial Intelligence, Mass Media, Paper Recycling, Design Thinking, etc.
VDJS encourages a spirit of enquiry and freethinking through the extensive educational buffet that it provides. Children display high levels of research skills and are able to use the information tools for gleaning the right information for the desired objective. Research-based learning allows them to explore and experience and thereby holistically imbibe lessons.
The school has received many awards and recognitions since its inception. Some of them are listed below:
- Vidya Devi Jindal School’ is Ranked No.4 in India, No.1 in Haryana & Ranked No.1 in Hisar. Category- ‘India`s Top 5 Girls Boarding Schools’ in a survey conducted by EducationToday.
- Best Residential School in Haryana in the 14th Rashtriya Shikha Gaurav Puruskar ceremony.
- 9th rank in All India MHW rankings. The ranking recognised the efforts continuously undertaken by the school for achieving excellence in transforming people and prioritising the well-being of the students, faculty, and staff.
- Best School of the Year 2021 for North India in the category of Quality Academics, Outstanding Administration, Women Empowerment & Leading Infrastructure by National Educational Excellence Awards.
Transformation, Just as It Matters
While speaking about her contribution to education pedagogy, Ms. Shalini asserts, “As an educational leader and having the opportunity and privilege of being exposed to the best existing practices in the field of educational pedagogy, I am cognizant of my responsibility towards society. I aim to make the learners of today responsible, and conscious citizens of Mother Earth who can contribute towards the upliftment of the society and human race at large by addressing the educational needs of the underprivileged.” At Vidya Devi Jindal School, she has designed the service structure of the school, intending to provide educational facilities to the disadvantaged sections of society. The students in the school are involved in providing quality teaching facilities to the students of underprivileged sections.
The school has also done stellar work in upgrading the infrastructure of a few village schools within the vicinity of VDJS. The construction of toilets, multipurpose hall, basketball court, laboratory, kitchen facility, and recreational areas has made these otherwise drab schools livelier and more welcoming and child friendly, leading to better educational outcomes. VDJS is persistently carrying out its commitment of diversifying and expanding its community involvement.
Taking the Legacy Forward
While speaking about the future outlook of the school, Ms. Shalini quotes, Paulo Coehlo, “When you want something, the whole universe conspires in order for you to achieve it”.
She says, “These quoted lines from The Alchemist have come to define my life. As an educationist, I had always wanted to be a part of organisations that look beyond academics and offer the powerful alliance of ‘learning to do’ with ‘learning to be’. So it was provident that on joining as the head of the institution, she realised that her educational philosophy and belief system were aligned with the mission and vision of VDJS. The school has already had a very sound underpinning which has helped it achieve so much. According to her, VDJS will continue to ensure the right ecosystem to facilitate the spirit of fearless enquiry.
“I want that each girl who passes out of the portals of the school must be armed with the Jindal X factor. My earnest endeavour would be to provide all institutional support so that the multitalented and versatile girls chase their passions and dreams and shine both in mainstream and alternate fields,” Ms. Shalini Mehrotra adds.