Leading Change in Uncertainty ​

“भंवर से लड़ो तुंद लहरों से उलझो,
कहाँ तक चलोगे किनारे किनारे”

Face the whirlwinds, fight the tides, 
how long will you keep walking along the shore.”

Says Mr. Rajesh Yadav, who is a State Resource Group member from Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh

One conversation with him, and his go-getter attitude, solution orientedness and his belief in working with teams clearly stands out. Much necessary attributes to drive people towards achievement, especially during uncertain times – such as the pandemic. 

Our team connected to Mr. Rajesh a few days ago to find out how he is running the capacity building initiatives to make the teachers in the Kanpur district Prerak teachers – a source of inspiration for the entire ecosystem. And we were left in awe of him and his efforts.

Last year, the schools shutdown due to the pandemic and the teachers had to turn to online teaching platforms. But most of them were hesitant as they lacked the technical know-how. In order to overcome this dilemma, Mr. Rajesh formed an expert team consisting of 11 members that conducted ICT workshops to train teachers to help them get accustomed to Google meet, Zoom, MS Word, excel, powerpoint applications on their devices. Eventually, teachers overcame their fear of using technology, and built confidence to learn and teach online. They even put together a magazine (glimpse below) about the ICT project after developing these capabilities.

Feedback from the participants of ICT workshop

Mr. Rajesh sensed the challenges for the teachers, made sense of what is required to overcome the barriers – technical, device accessibility, mindset related, etc., brought people together to conduct the workshops and set the teachers on the path to learn and improve their capabilities. He impressed upon the teachers that the usage of technology is to support them and help them teach better, not to replace them with it. 

“It is not teachers vs technology, but teachers with technology.” 

This year, when new learning programs were launched, the objective was to achieve a 100% completion rate. The challenge was to monitor and identify the teachers/ schools who have completed a course and those who haven’t. Mr. Rajesh and his team created a communication network covering all stakeholders from school level to NPRC (Nyaay Panchayat Resource Coordinator), to Block and to District level. The teachers and school teams which completed the courses were recognised while those who struggled, were provided assistance through Technical Support Group as necessary. The increased comfort with technology resulted in 70% teachers completing the course of their own accord, within the timeline. 

As an effective leader, Mr. Rajesh regularly applies the approach of sense, make sense, learn and improve in order to solve more problems on the ground. Says Rekha Srivastava, District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) Principal from Kanpur division, “I connected with him a year ago and have been impressed by his original thoughts to solve problems. He focuses on initiatives that actually bring change in the ecosystem. Determined to bring improvements, he sets the targets, draws a plan, identifying the stakeholders across all levels and motivates them non stop. ” 

Mr. Rajesh and his team regularly collects feedback from the teachers to understand challenges faced by the teachers. Recently, making sense of the barriers, teachers workshops were held with experts to boost their morale and on how to manage stress. Mr. Rajesh himself motivated teachers during Shiksha Sankul Meetings, to focus on the tasks with gusto.

He motivated the teachers by highlighting that the goal is not the target, but giving their 100%, which automatically achieves the target. 

If you are low on motivation, if you are stuck and want to brainstorm solutions or just want to understand how to motivate the team, Mr. Rajesh is the go-to-leader. Indeed a privilege working with him. 

He says, “संघर्ष किसका कितना है परिणाम बोलेगा, मैं नहीं बोलूँगा मेरा काम बोलेगाthe measure of the struggle is reflected in the results, not the words, but my work exults.”