Published: 01st September 2018
Why Garima Vishal's Innovation School hires doctors and engineers to engage kids
Garima Vishal, founder of Dejawoo School of Innovation opens up about why she quit topline tech companies to start an alternative primary school in Bihar
Thirty-year-old Garima Vishal grew up in Bihar. As a child, it was her father who instilled in her a love for teaching. He would teach her every day in a way that she really understood what she was learning. As her father had a transferable job, Garima went on to study in six different schools, both government and private schools, and so she had seen a wide range of teaching methods.
After her schooling, she went to Manipal Institute of Engineering, where she got selected via campus placement for Infosys, Bhubaneswar. Garima went on to work there for close to four years and thereafter at an American consultancy firm. However, through these years, she kept teaching underprivileged kids parallelly.
Student count: Currently, there are 154 students and 14 teachers in the school
So it wasn't really a surprise when she decided to quit everything and dedicate her life to teaching. "I always had a passion for teaching. Whenever I didn't get time to teach, I felt bored and aimless. Whatever other jobs I was doing, I was not a hundred per cent satisfied. That's when I decided to start this school," says Garima.
Dejawoo School of Innovation was started in 2014. "We started with ten kids," says Garima, and adds, "We have a completely practical-based approach. We teach them in a such a way that they get to use the knowledge in real life. For example, we teach 'A for Apple' to kindergarten students by cutting an apple in the classroom and making them eat it. We also tell them how to describe its taste."
The school has up to class V now. "We are not taking kids from other schools as of now because our system of teaching is different and it's quite a task to adjust to unless you start from the basics," says Garima. She goes on to explain how different their methods are. "When we teach students about the water cycle, we actually evaporate water with the help of candles and then condense it on a sheet and show the complete process."
Smart school: Dejawoo focuses on a practical-based teaching system
The system of teaching at Dejawoo is very connected. They work on a three-pillar model - teachers, students and parents. "Our teachers are well-qualified. We prefer mothers to teach younger students because they can connect better," adds Garima. The core team members are doctors and engineers. Before a new teacher is hired, they observe the system for a few days so that they can catch up with the kind of environment that Dejawoo is trying to create.
Currently, the school has about 154 students and 14 teachers. When asked why she named it 'Dejawoo', she says, 'it's because we hope that once students enter this school, they will feel like they've experienced it before. They will feel that it's just like home. Also, we hope that we will be able to woo students and instill in them a sense of awe and joy."
In a sense, Dejawoo has truly lived up to that name because students here love coming to school. "In fact", Garima adds, "many parents call us up on holidays and inform us that their kids are throwing a tantrum because they want to go to school. This is what I consider an achievement." Now, what could be more satisfying than that.