The Polymath School | polymath crew
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polymath crew


At EL Education Schools, the spirit of Crew is one of the most important tenets of organizational culture and character. We are together in this ‘boat’ – all are included and all are needed to reach our destination. A sense of belonging to a purpose larger than oneself is felt and celebrated as we embark on journeys that truly matter to the world.

Introducing the Polymath Crew….

Vaibhav Pandya, Core Academic Team Member

We have read about people who dedicate their lives to a cause; who are in fact consumed by it. Vaibhav is one such person – his entire life revolves around one thing, and one thing only – progressive education. When he is with children, magic happens!!

He has worked for many years at Mirambika, New Delhi, our country’s foremost integral-education school founded on the principles of Sri Aurobindo. Pursuing his keen interest in researching different education systems, he has visited, volunteered or worked with many schools across the country – from a public school at the foothills of the Himalayas, to an NGO-run school in a tribal area, to a free-progress school in the interiors of Telangana. He is the year 2012 winner at EIFI, a body that nurtures and supports the most promising innovations in education in our country.

He holds M.Sc. in Physics from Mithibai College, Mumbai. Both left-brained and right-brained, his interests are varied – from technology to calligraphy, from designing games to writing poetry; he is a true Polymath!!

Sumit Sharma, Core Academic Team Member

Ever since he entered the teaching field, some 12 years ago, Sumit Sir remembers feeling both, an aching need to do more for the cause of education, and frustration at being held back by institutional inertia. At The Polymath School, he feels he has found his life’s calling.

Previously, he has been the academic head at the Druk White Lotus School, Ladakh (the school famously showcased in the movie “3 Idiots”), the founder of a boutique language-school; a senior consultant at PurpleLeap; a curriculum designer; and an English and Social Science teacher. He holds a post-graduate degree in Economics and is pursuing MA in English.

He is one of the rare breed of teachers, who operate more from the heart than from intellect. An ardent follower of Bramhakurmaris and a man of remarkable inner-strength and purity. Blessed to have him on-board.

Sonal Murali, Core Academic Team Member

When Sonal Ma’m heard the renowned philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti for the first time, she was still in her late teens, but it changed the course of her life. Since then, she has spent over 35 years working for the Theosophical Society and at different progressive schools around the country. So besides a wonderful vision of what progressive education should be, she has this incredibly valuable track record of implementing progressive education in myriad settings.

She has been the founding Principal at one of the Anubhuti Schoools and Co-ordinator at another. She has served for almost a decade as a Co-ordinator and teacher at the beautiful Sahyadri School (KFI). She has also worked with and helped several other schools and NGOs, including Humsum, Nachiket KFI, Bodh Shiksha Samiti, Beauty without Cruelty. A recipient of the Jagadguru Shankaracharya National Award (Gold Medal – Best Educator for Creative Methodology), she also holds an M.A. in English Literature (University Gold Medalist).

It is because of people like Sonal Ma’m that we know there is a future for progressive education in our country.

Yashika Chandna, Curriculum Designer

Yashika’s vision of education has been shaped by the writings of John Dewey and Sri Aurobindo and influenced by the social constructivist theory.

She has rich experiences in curriculum development having helped design curricula for the Sri Aurobindo Center for New Education; The National Institute of Open Schooling; Prakrati School, Noida; and Save our Souls, India. She has also worked as a researcher with Eklavya, Drishtee Foundation and the National Multilingual Resource Consortium. She has conducted workshops / done project work on wide-ranging topics – from storytelling, reading & writing, language acquisition to “Using museums as a resource” and “Effects of home environment on learning of English”.

She holds multiple degrees – M.Phil, M.A., M.Ed, B.El.Ed, and is currently pursuing her PhD (she really likes studying!!). She is a JNUite with strong opinions on education (and everything else too). Lovely to have her on-board.

Mihir Pathak, Teacher

“I just couldn’t concentrate in school or college. I loved learning, but now how it was done there. I was sure there would be better ways to learn, so I dropped out of college. I searched for a job or a profession where I could do anything, I could be anything…and I found it”.

We take great pride in introducing to you Mihir Pathak – a brilliant chap, who relinquished mainstream education, and yet more knows more about education than many will in their lifetimes.

He is the founder of Learn Labs – an initiative to build model schools for educating underprivileged children. He runs an on-line learning portal (evidyalay), a science blog (prayogghar), and an open-source project (Bodhi) for educators to share curated content. He has worked as a teaching fellow at Muni Seva Ashram, where he initiated multi-grade learning; project-based learning; and started a maker-lab that is run and managed by kids. He has also taught for two years in a tribal village school near Dharampur Gujarat. He talks about the wonderful pedagogical approach that his team introduced at that school:

“Our teaching methodology was structured around a free learning environment. We organised our space, materials and other resources in such a way that students could explore and meaningfully engage with them in a natural and unforced manner. We had adult mentors to facilitate the process but they would usually intervene only if a student sought guidance or appeared to reach a dead-end. We did not stop students from talking or making mistakes. Rather, the idea was to make them aware of the logical consequences of what they were doing so that they could take informed decisions. Every student had a mentor they could turn to, talk with and discuss their interests, experiences and issues.”

Krinal Haria, Teacher

Krinal feels the biggest limitation of our current education system is assessments. We neither assess critical life-skills (creativity, communication, collaboration, problem solving), nor all-important character traits (perseverance, responsibility). And since these are not assessed, they are not taught either – putting our students at a serious disadvantage in their careers and lives.

Krinal has rich experience at the pre-primary level across different schools and different boards (state, national and international), where she has served as an academic head, as a curriculum designer and as a teacher. She is also a career counsellor – counselling school and college going students, using DMIT and Psychometrics.

She holds multiple diplomas – Early Child Care Education, Early Childhood Counselling, Psychological Counselling; and a Certificate in DMIT Training and Counselling. She is currently studying for the Global Career Counselling Program at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) Extension.

Hardworking, resilient (faces life’s vicissitudes head on) and creative, Krinal is a welcome addition to the Polymath Crew.

Dharini Zaveri, Teacher

Dharini is a brave person who has achieved a lot in life against multiple odds. She feels that one of the biggest limitations of traditional schools is their one-size-fits-all pedagogy. Within a single classroom, there are many different types of learners – visual, auditory, kinesthetic – and she strongly feels that the pedagogy needs to be tailored to meet the needs of every type of learner.

Dharini has assumed many roles in her career – from the Vice Principal of a Pre-K school and a centre head at another, to a marketing manager and even an Au Pair with a family in San Francisco, USA.

She holds an M.A. in World History (Mumbai University) and Certifications in Early Childhood Education, English as Second Language, and Asian American Studies from the City College, San Francisco, USA. An eloquent speaker and a wonderful team player, she is super excited to be part of the Polymath Crew.