Deeksha Stem School: A Hub of Excellence in Academic & Ethical Development

Dr. Sridhar G & Lalit Sridhar,   FoundersIn Bengaluru's dynamic educational landscape, STEM schools are increasingly finding wider popular acceptance, thanks to their futuristic outlook and emphasis on developing students' receptiveness to knowledge and intel lectual adaptability.

Deeksha High School and Deeksha STEM, Vidyanagar have carved a niche by devising a student centric, STEM-oriented educational ecosystem that fosters independent thinking, critical and analytical skills, a knack for research, and knowledge application.

Deeksha High School, Bannerghatta Rd and Deeksha STEM, Vidyanagar, have emerged as the trendsetters among CBSE schools with their unique STEM educational methodology. These institutions embrace modern educational trends and lay the pedagogical groundwork necessary to have a competitive advantage in a world in flux.

Deeksha High School, Bannerghatta Rd and Deeksha STEM, Vidyanagar impart its students a distinct academic advantage by integrating STEM pedagogical innovations, advanced technology, personalized instruction, and assessment in its academic culture.

The schools are continually gaining recognition for their enquiry-based experiential learning. The most recent being Deeksha High School getting awarded by the Atal Innovation Mission’s School of the Month Award thrice in 2023.

Dr. Sridhar G, an engineer-turned-educationist and IIT and Johns Hopkins Alumnus; and Lalit Sridhar, a chartered accountant-turned-edupreneur, are the Founders of Deeksha STEM. They are both widely recognized thought leaders known for their innovations and pioneering interventions in the field of education.

In an exclusive interaction with Siliconindia, Dr. Sridhar and Lalit Sridhar shared the thought and intellectual groundwork that underlay the founding of Deeksha STEM schools. They also shared insights into the pedagogical salience of STEM methodology and the future outlook of Deeksha STEM.

How does the Deeksha High School, Bannerghatta Rd and Deeksha STEM, Vidyanagar shape their educational ecosystems and what distinguishes their underlying philosophy, vision, mission, and various educational approaches?

What we intended to achieve by founding Deeksha High School, Bannerghatta Rd and Deeksha STEM, Vidyanagar was to bring a defining shift in the schooling culture, making it more participatory and less didactic. We envisioned institutions that can prepare children for the rapidly evolving world of the 21st century and build in them skills and aptitude to lead the change.

What the world seeks today are innovative appliers of knowledge, people who can learn, unlearn, and relearn. That is exactly what the Deeksha STEM schools like Deeksha High School and Deeksha STEM, Vidyanagar strive to inculcate in their students.

The pedagogy focuses on building critical and analytical thinking, aptitude to enquire
and innovate, and ability to self-research and acquire knowledge within the CBSE’s curricular framework. The learning outcomes at STEM schools are not the ability to cram and reproduce information but the ability to critically interpret, analyze, and apply it in different contexts. That’s futuristic learning.

Through Value Integrated Teaching and Learning (VITAL) we inculcate a robust value system in children.

Can you shed some light on the STEM pedagogical innovations that are driving learning outcomes at Deeksha High School and Deeksha STEM, Vidyanagar?

The pillars of STEM learning are the 4Cs Critical thinking, Communication, Creativity and Content knowledge. We develop these in students through a four-pronged approach resting on Enquiry-Based Learning, Experiential Science Learning, Learning by Design, and Mastering communicative English.

Enquiry Based Learning is a highly participatory pedagogical model where a teacher does not simply state facts but rather engages in a Socratic dialogue with children while exploring the nuances of a topic. Steered by the teacher, the class discusses and deliberates on a topic. The inhibition to ask questions is systematically lowered and students become very expressive of their opinions and learn to interpret and critically evaluate the information being passed on to them.

Experiential Science Learning involves an integrated classroom that enables all children to perform Physics, Chemistry and Biology experiments in class even as they learn. This enables the children to relate to the concepts and learn to test and apply them. This makes learning enduring and student outcomes are enhanced.

Learning by Design is another pedagogical device to complement learning and catalyze creativity and innovation skills in children. There are multiple avenues for children to use their hands and create at Deeksha STEM Schools. There are STEM Labs and Atal Tinkering Lab which are maker spaces where children develop skills by building me chanical, electrical, electronic and software products. From grade 3 onwards, every child makes 4 products every term.

Mastering communicative English is vital to the STEM approach. For the development of Linguistic aptitude and enhanced communication skills in children, besides classroom instruction and a gamut of interactive activities, we have also introduced an AI-driven package that helps them read at home, ask questions, self-assess, and develop diction and comprehension.

The schools’ holistic approach to education integrates values such as gratitude, humility, awareness, and respect into everyday learning experiences, ensuring students develop into well-rounded individuals with strong moral values.

Given its distinct learning outcomes, the STEM pedagogy would require alignment of teachers’ attitudes and abilities, how does Deeksha STEM Schools ensure that?

We have a rigorous recruitment process for teachers. Apart from academic qualification and subject matter expertise, we emphasize the teacher’s ability to connect and communicate and highly value empathy in educators. The teachers at Deeksha High School, Bannerghatta Rd and Deeksha STEM, Vidyanagar, are adept in effectively instrumentalizing the STEM pedagogical tools. They are not just highly qualified and experts in their subject, but they also have a granular understanding of STEM educational methodologies. The teachers here are known for their empathic understanding and for assessing the innate capabilities of each child and nurturing it. That’s the reason one would see several students from every grade excelling concurrently in academics, sports, and artistic activities. Serving as role models, teachers embody empathy, integrity, and a genuine passion for education, nurturing not only academic proficiency but also moral grounding and social responsibility.

What is the roadmap for the future of Deeksha STEM?

Currently, we have 4 schools. In the coming years, Deeksha STEM will incrementally add more schools to its network. 2 CBSE schools are coming up at Mysore Road and Kanakpura Road.

Ours is a process of constant refinement of our approach and we have a robust feedback mechanism along with an R&D division to evaluate the effectiveness of our pedagogical systems and academic delivery modalities. With time, we would love to disseminate our educational approach through a partnership or knowledge-sharing model to make more and more institutions STEM-enabled.

We would like to actively assist institutions and edupreneurs in developing and managing schools on the lines of Deeksha STEM. We envision a wide network of institutions that will lead the root and branch transformation of the educational landscape.