ASMA ‘India’s Top 20 Women Leaders in Education 2020’ Honours Trailblazing Women Leaders in Indian Education

The virtual award ceremony held on 27th November 2020, celebrated the success stories and achievements of women leaders in education

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The ASMA ‘India’s Top 20 Women Leaders in Education 2020, powered by UniApply virtual event was held on 27th November 2020 under the theme The Trailblazing Women Leaders in Indian EducationThe pioneering virtual event and award ceremony celebrated the success stories, contributions and achievements of women leaders in the field of education. The event witnessed over 100 nominations, more than 2000 registrations and participation from over 50 schools and 30 speakers.

Welcoming the speakers and attendees to the event, Rahul Jain, Managing Director of InnoServ Group said, “This special event recognises the women leaders who have dedicated their lives to education and it celebrates their achievements and success stories in the hope to ignite the spark of inspiration in other women alike”.

In her opening remarks, Guest of Honour Anju Sharma, IAS, Principal Secretary, Higher & Technical Education, Government of Gujarat said, “Women are highly valued in the education sector and they have excelled phenomenally in the areas of teaching. It is time to celebrate their contribution to the education sector and society”.

Special Guest, Dr. Neetu Bhagat, Deputy Director, AICTE remarked, “A nation cannot progress without the contribution of 100 per cent of its population. Women do face challenges trying to make their presence felt. Women tend to lose out on leadership roles because of work-life balance, there are also cultural and organisational barriers. Only a visionary woman can become an educational leader”.

There were also three engaging panel discussions featuring stalwarts in education who delved into various topics pertaining to women’s leadership and empowerment and how women leaders have helmed educational institutions driving innovation and change in the sector and the wider society.

The first panel deliberated on the topic ‘Women and Entrepreneurship: The Women Entrepreneurs Leading India’s K-12 Segment’. The panel was moderated by Sapna Sukul, Founder, Edustart; Global Teacher Trainer and comprised of Archana Goenka, Trustee, CP Goenka Group Schools, Sapnu George, Executive Director, TRINS Group of Institutions, Pratima Sinha, CEO, DSR Education Society, Divya Lal, Founder and MD, Fliplearn, Aditi Goradia, MD, Billimoria High School, Panchgani and Dr Kavitha Jain, CEO, MDN Edify Education.

The second panel discussed ‘Challenges & Opportunities for Women Leading Higher Education Institutions in India’. It was moderated by Meenal Arora, Director Shemrock & Shemford Group of Schools and comprised of Sneha Rathor CEO Sanfort Group of Schools, Sunita Jain, CEO & Director, Hello Kids, Preeti Kwatra, Chairperson, Petals Group of Schools and Preeti Tyagi, Founder & Director, Wow Kids Preschool Chain.

The third panel examined ‘Challenges & Opportunities for Women Leading Higher Education Institutions in India. It was moderated by Pallavi Rao Chaturvedi, Executive Vice President, AISECT Group of Universities Governing Body Member, Rabindranath Tagore University and Dr Madhu Chitkara, Pro-Chancellor, Chitkara University, Punjab & Himachal Pradesh, Dr Vidya Yeravdekar, Principal Director, Symbiosis Society; Pro-Chancellor, Symbiosis International University, Pune, Maya Shahani, Chairperson, The Shahani Group, Aruna Katara, President, President of Hope Foundation and Research Centre and Silky Jain, Executive Director, Tula’s Institute, Dehradun.

The Higher Education panel of illustrious speakers touched on several important points pertaining to women’s leadership in higher education.

Dr. Vidya Yeravdekar, Principal Director, Symbiosis Society said, I believe when we segregate men and women that’s when the discrimination begins. It depends on mindsets. It is important to raise children to be their best. It is not about men and women; it is about creating level playing field”.

Dr. Madhu Chitkara opined, “At Chitkara, 67% of all employees are women. A lot depends on circumstances and the ability to turn every challenge into an opportunity. We need to have a lot of capacity building and we must invest in technology”.

Maya Shahani, Chairperson, The Shahani Group commented, “Our prime objective is to provide quality education. Our greatest focus is making the youth employable as per industry needs. Education should be intellectually stimulating rather than having rote learning. The goal of the NEP 2020 should be focused on creating entrepreneurs, scientists and artists”.

The final panel of the day explored ‘How Women Leaders Foster an Atmosphere of Innovation in the Indian Educational Landscape’. It was moderated by Dr Shilpa Kiran Bendale, Director, KCES’s Institute of Management and Research, Jalgaon and featured eminent speakers such as Dr Pankaj Mittal, Secretary-General, Association of Indian University, Rajita Kulkarni, President, Sri Sri University, Cuttack and Dr Kerron G Reddy, CEO, AIMS Institute, Bengaluru. 

Adding her thoughts on the topic, Dr Pankaj Mittal, Secretary-General, Association of Indian University said, “The women breaking the glass ceiling are the ones bringing in innovation. Unless women’s education and leadership are promoted, we cannot achieve the recommendations of the NEP 2020”.

Speaking about how her institution has fostered entrepreneurship among girl students, Rajita Kulkarni, President, Sri Sri University, Cuttack, said, “We are known as a university of start-ups; 40% of the start-ups are of girl students. We are creating an environment among our students to disrupt. We have to be role models to younger girls to break through barriers. As women leaders, we also now have a chance to make women-friendly and gender-neutral policies”.

The virtual event proved to be timely and innovative as it brought together women leaders from across the country and across various sectors of the education industry to discuss relevant issues pertaining to women’s leadership and to celebrate women leaders.

The Education Entrepreneur of the Year 2020 was given to Anamika Anjaria, Founder and Director, Rangoli Group of Institutes, Meenal Arora, Director, SHEMROCK & SHEMFORD Group of Schools and Sneha Rathor, CEO, Sanfort Group of Schools.

The Outstanding Early Childhood Education Leader 2020 award went to Sunita Jain, CEO & Director, Hello Kids, Preeti Kwatra, Founder Director, Petals Group of Schools and Preeti Tyagi, Founder & Director, Wow Kids Preschool Chain.

Archana Goenka, Trustee, CP Goenka Group Schools, Pratima Sinha, CEO, DSR Education Society and Aditi Goradia, MD, Billimoria High School, Panchgani were awarded the Outstanding School Education Leader 2020.

The ‘Outstanding Higher Education Leader 2020’ award was conferred on Maya Shahani, Chairperson, The Shahani Group, Dr Madhu Chitkara, Pro-Chancellor, Chitkara University, Punjab & Himachal Pradesh and Dr Pankaj Mittal, Secretary-General, Association of Indian University.

Pratima Sinha, CEO, DSR Education Society, Rajita Kulkarni, President, Sri Sri University, Cuttack, Dr Vidya Yeravdekar, Principal Director, Symbiosis Society; Pro-Chancellor, Symbiosis and Divya Lal, Founder & MD, Fliplearn bagged the Visionary Leader in Education Award 2020.

Outstanding Director of the Year 2020 was awarded to Dr Shilpa Kiran Bendale, Director, KCES’s Institute of Management and Research, Jalgaon, Dr Indu Sharma, Director ZIMCA & Dean, Strategic Management and Planning, ZES, Pune and Sapnu George, Executive Director, TRINS Group of Institutions.

The Outstanding Principal of the Year 2020 award went to Dr Seema Negi, Principal of Sanjeevani World School and Manju Gupta, Principal, Kothari International School, Noida.

The Excellence in Leadership 2020 award was given to Dr Nidhi Singhal, Director, Global Institute of Technology, Jaipur, Dr Kerron G Reddy, CEO, AIMS Institute, Bengaluru and Srvidya Reddy G, Vice Chairman, G Narayanamma Institute of Technology & Sciences (GNITS), Hyderabad.

The Outstanding Leader in Teaching Innovation 2020 award went to Dr Kavitha Jain, CEO, MDN Edify Education, Pallavi Rao Chaturvedi, Executive Vice President, AISECT Group of Universities Governing Body Member, Rabindranath Tagore University and Aruna Katara, President, President of Hope Foundation and Research Centre.

The Academic Excellence Award 2020 was awarded to Silky Jain, Executive Director, Tula’s Institute, Dehradun, Smt Saroj Khosla, Founder President and Trustee, FLSBM, Shoolini Institute, Shimla and Dr Inderpreet Kaur, Director Engineering and Dean Academics of the Desh Bhagat University, Fatehgarh Sahib.

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