The Lead India movement is the very reason and base behind the existence of the National School of Leadership. Lead India takes up cause based initiatives with experts from NSL including mentors, students and volunteers who identify key issues within our reach of resolution and work towards turning around situations. As a part of the Lead India movement, NSLites conduct workshops and training programmes, with the aim of imparting education and working towards turning around businesses and other adversities, mostly related to, but not limited to rural India.
Having started as an unorganized group of students of Delhi University working in imparting education to the children in the slums of Mall Road, Delhi, in 1997, this initiative resulted in the slums going against begging and taking up honest hard work supported by the women who contributed by making incense sticks. Even today, nobody begs in the slums there.
From a humble initiative in the slums, Lead India turned out to be a national movement in nurturing leadership among people through different initiatives taken up over the years.
It is a common perception that Lead India is an initiative started by the National School of Leadership, but the truth is that National School of Leadership sprung up out of the Lead India movement.
We, at NSL Lead India, want every Indian to lead a dignified and peaceful life. We want India to have a respectable place and play a leading role on the world stage.
NSLites believe in giving back. Faculty, students and volunteers of the Lead India movement share their knowledge and expertise for others to benefit from in a selfless manner, be it helping farmers in turning around an agro situation, or conducting leadership workshops for the rural youth, or conducting trainings for Lead India schools or training a police force on leadership skills required to perform their duties better.
The Lead India initiative hinges primarily on well-directed efforts towards the upliftment of societies through the imparting of life skills training and workshops to help enable individuals to leverage on their strengths to build a better future. But the core issue to address before conducting any such programme is to understand the prevalent situations in depth, and to leverage on the talent pool available to NSL in the best way possible. This is where the Mentorship angle comes in. In today’s world, it is widely understood that mentoring, per se, is a bigger and better alternative to mere teaching. While teaching, by itself, would cover the basic precepts of any such initiative, it is only through the right kind of mentoring that any efforts towards developing a society towards betterment will be truly effective.
To that end, the Lead India initiative engages some of the best minds at NSL – including NSL’s own senior mentors from both industry and academia, as well as the students of NSL themselves, each of them bringing a wide-ranging set of perspectives on the issues that society may face, and what would be the best approaches to turn around the prevailing situations into a development-oriented programme that would play a significantly constructive role over a long period of time, be it in terms of training individuals in the requisite skills, or the mentoring and monitoring that needs to follow afterwards to assess whether these individuals are making the right calls, and helping remedy any adverse situations that may arise down the line.
With the committed involvement of mentors, students and volunteers from different walks of life, bringing different experiences and a plethora of knowledge that can help in the all-round development of education among rural and sometimes urban populations, the Lead India initiative is poised to provide the best of its kind training and mentoring towards the upliftment of societies.
The workshops that are conducted under the Lead India banner are designed and structured after substantial study into and reflection upon the prevailing conditions of the society in focus, including a 360 degree view of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that are applicable to the society and the situations they face. This helps in creating a means of understanding the core issues at play, and to build the right kind of delivery model in order to best assist the society or organization being addressed in taking the optimal measures to improve existing situations and turning around any adverse impacts that are being faced.
Referring to a case study, NSL, in 2013, conducted its AXELL workshop for police forces including Agra Police and Delhi Police. The one conducted for Delhi Police was seemingly the largest leadership workshop for a police force with over 1500 police personnel participating over a period of 2 days. By their very nature, police and security organizations – which at their core are formed by the individuals who populate them – are, in this day and age, under immense and constant stress, both with regard to the conduct of their duties, as well as the fallout of their duties into their own lives. At the end of the day, these are committed individuals who are nonetheless human, with the same kind of trials and tribulations that any of us face. To address the levels of stress and compounding of pressures of all kinds, NSL Lead India conducted these two workshops based on the AXELL model as this was adjudged to be the most relevant model of instruction covering the right kind of aspects that would matter to law enforcement professionals.
With the broad range of experience that our mentors, students and other associates bring to the table, NSL has at its disposal a huge spectrum of learnings, experiences and best practices that could be used to turn around situations. Added to this is the collegial nature of the redressal process, wherein the involved parties work together to bring in and combine the range of experiences of each individual during the planning phase, and work out the best means of conducting the requisite programmes as required for the society or organization in focus, and thereafter to impart the learnings through workshops and training programmes with the highest level of participant involvement. This makes for a holistic learning experience with the greatest and most effective takeaways that are designed to redress the circumstances being faced by the trainees, and to give them a broad scope of understanding and learning that would help them become proactive in improving their own situations with the implementation of the right kind of resources.
This is the kind of involvement the NSL Lead India Initiative intends to bring to each and every programme conducted under the banner – with the express intention of understanding the core issues that are of concern to the society or organization being addressed, to define the correct parameters and use the most suitable tools of learning and instruction, to execute these programmes by focusing on addressing these core issues, and to aim for a significantly positive difference on the audience after the execution of such programmes.
No student having qualified for admission has ever had to leave National School of Leadership due to financial problems. The National School of Leadership, being a National mission aimed at nurturing great leaders, organizations and nations, in order to attract meritorious students from the all socio-economic strata of society, NSL attempts to provide as many scholarships as possible through NSL Lead India. However, it is important to note that Lead India Scholarships are available only on the basis of merit, gratitude and economic/mental/physical challenges. NSL does not offer any scholarships on the basis of caste, community or religion.
The Game Changer initiative of Lead India is oriented towards addressing critical issues pertaining to communities, occupations or localities. This is NSL’s way of walking the talk where mentors, students and volunteers of Lead India come together to identify and resolve issues. Although the steps and strategies used for Game Changer initiatives vary frequently based on demands of the situation, here are some of the steps followed commonly:
1. Identify an issue - Mentors, students and/or volunteers of Lead India identify a critical local issue having a significant impact on the population of a locality, community or profession.
Example: An NSLite reads a news article on farmer suicides in a small village in the North Eastern part of India that produces king chillies. In a village with a population of 700 people engaging in producing king chillies which are some of the most expensive chillies in the world, a farmer suicide is very unfortunate.
2. Preliminary Research - A team of researchers do an extensive research on the ground realities of the issue and assess if through honest intent, capable leadership and executable strategy, such suicides can be stopped.
Example continues: The research team at NSL found that these suicides were primarily because of poverty. The farmers sell their products to middle-men for a very small sum of money and these middle-men export such products for a fortune. Also, because of lack of education, ritualistic practices and other desperate situations, they borrow money against the bonding of their own land. On failing to return the money, they lose out on their land and end up working as bonded labourers for life.
3. Gather Resources - Based on the issue identified, the resourcing exercise brings together experts who can provide multi-dimensional leadership in addressing the issue from the relevant field. Such experts are not only confined to NSLites and volunteers alone, but also include thought leaders from the Consortium for Global Leaders organizations who can contribute to the think tank to turn around the situation. Among the volunteers working on ground, a considerable number of volunteers who belong to the local area and speak the local language/dialect are engaged.
Example continues: NSL brings together a team of agro scientists, strategists, leadership mentors, mental well-being professionals and volunteers to work on ground. A leading CGL organization which is a leader in export of agro products also volunteers to contribute.
4. Validation of Preliminary Research and further findings = Identified experts go through the preliminary research and validate the findings. This exercise has been found to be very important since a lot of new findings based on the experts’ expertise and perspectives show up.
Example continues: The identified team goes through the preliminary research report and conducts further research based on it to identify issues that have not been highlighted in the preliminary findings. They identify an area and role for themselves in the process.
5. Leadership Strategy Design - The team works together on a strategy to turn around the situation and divides responsibilities for themselves. They structure a step by step process taking into consideration other elements like execution methods, fall back plan, rollback options, possibilities of further value and long term sustenance.
Example continues: The agro scientist identified for this project finds out the productivity of king chillies in the village can be increased significantly by using appropriate tools and techniques. The CGL organization dealing in exports along with the marketing expert adds to the findings that the middle men needs to be regulated or eliminated and farmers should be empowered to have complete control over the pricing of their products. The health and safety specialist sees that these because of the pungency levels of these chillies, farmers working on taking the seeds off the chillies for the processed version of the product use leaves of trees that either slow down the process of cause significant damage to their skin. However, mentors along with the mental well-being specialist recommend appropriate counselling and trust building among the farmers as a project kick-off workshop for the project to be successful.
5. Execution - Based on the strategy designed, the team starts executing the project with each expert playing their own role. While some volunteers work on ground in changing the situation, others provide their thought leadership from different locations during the execution process.
Example continues: The execution of the project begins with the necessary rapport building with the farmers followed by a leadership workshop focusing primarily on motivation, beliefs and attitude. The workshop also includes other elements. There are also a few counselling sessions done for farmers and their families who gave up on fighting back to change their lives. The agro scientist takes the farmers through an experiential learning process aimed at increasing productivity and improving quality. The marketing experts increase awareness about their products and gave a marketing plan that can be easily executable by the farmers. The health and safety specialist replaces the leaves with gloves that would not only increase the speed of processing but would also help multiple women take up the risky task along with additional health tips for personal hygiene and sanitation. The export experts study the international market, identify potential buyers, regulate/eliminate middlemen and fix minimum selling prices and commissions while empowering the farmers to monitor market situations and demands for their products.
6. Assess Results- On different stages of execution and finally post execution, results are assessed taking into consideration both qualitative and quantitative dimensions and highlights the shortfalls and scope for improvement.
Example continues: The execution of this project leads to a significant leap in the earnings of the farmers and their motivation to produce more and better quality products. There is also a significant rise in their levels of awareness apart from an inspired desire to contribute their thought leadership for the progress of the neighbouring villages. However, the shortfall of the project includes a lack of formal education for the children and existing beliefs and superstitions that may pose a challenge later. Another challenge of upgrading their skills and awareness with time seems likely in spite of them having access to the experts who have helped them turn around the situation.
7. Sustenance- Based on the project results, steps are taken to empower and facilitate people to not only sustain such development, but also continually escalate the growth self-sufficiently.
Example continues: A self-help group (SHG) is formed in the village and a representative elected to coordinate with the experts. Training sessions are conducted for the self-help group (SHG) and appropriate guidance is provided so that they can stay ahead in the process.
8. Future Prospects- Based on the shortcomings of the project, prospective room for improvement, and areas that need attention, as well as to ensure that the project reaches the next level, future prospects are determined. A fresh beginning with the same intent, dedication and excellence leads to another Game Changer initiative for the same community, occupation or locality with a different cause.
Example conclusion: The Lead India team, during the execution of this initiative sees that the children of the village are uneducated since there are no good functional schools in the village. The nearest school is 18 kilometres away and it is not convenient for children to travel that distance every day. However, the villagers confirm that there is a small half-constructed and abandoned building which was meant for a local school but never really got completed. NSLites get back to the drawing board and start working on the Lead India School project.
During a research conducted by the National School of Leadership on the schools and education available for children from remote villages, it was found that most of the schools set up by the government shockingly lacked good teachers, infrastructure and motivation among rural population to take up education. Getting to the ground reality of the issue, it was found that remote villages lacked educated people who had an inclination to teach and the ones who could teach well would migrate to cities that eases out their lives and pays them better. Also, most good teachers from cities are reluctant to move to remote villages to teach. This poses the greatest barrier on the path towards providing quality education in villages.
There was another observation made which showed that a lot of social organizations start schools in villages, but most of these schools close down within the first 5 years, leaving the children stranded either due to lack of funds and high overheads, or due to lack of people who can work on the ground level in executing such projects on a long term mode. Conventional ways of starting schools in villages have not been very successful until now, and leaves room for a lot more to be done to deliver education to a major chunk of the rural population of the country.
In summation, the 3 core factors that limit education in villages are:
1. Lack of motivation to study
2. Lack of good Teachers
3. Lack of infrastructure
Technically, if we invert the situation, a good academic environment for children to study would include motivated students and parents who would want their children to be educated, teachers with excellent teaching capabilities, and the tools that would aid world class learning.
While the basic approach implemented in the Lead India Initiative has stood in good stead so far, NSL understands that simple programmes alone cannot bring in the amount of change which should ideally be the benchmark for bringing in massive scale development in rural populations in India. The basic premise that NSL operates by with respect to the Lead India initiative is that while the right kind of structured training programmes can go a long way in helping rural populations in building a developmental perspective within their societies, true, long-lasting and effective development can come only through the imparting of full-scale education amongst rural populations. Bearing in mind the adage, “Child is the Father of Man”, NSL believes that if the right kind of education is brought to children in rural areas, going forward, this next generation will be far better equipped in terms of knowledge and understanding to bring the right kind of change to their homes and societies.
To counteract the present circumstances, NSL has come up with a concept for Lead India schools that would make these schools technologically more advanced than most urban schools, outflow of funds much lower than even broken schools in villages where even a middle-class individual can sponsor an entire school for a year and provide access to the best teachers available in the country. All that a Lead India school requires is an abandoned school building or a classroom in an existing school and an educated caretaker for this initiative, and with these alone, students can receive a world class education.
To this end, NSL’s Lead India Initiative is undertaking a programme which will be far larger in impact than all that is being done at the moment – with the objective of setting up 10,000+ schools in as many villages across the length and breadth of this nation, in order to ensure that education becomes a basic right in places where most children today take to the fields and become menial labourers at an age when they should be receiving an education. Bearing in mind the current situation in such rural areas, where schools exist only in name, and the concept of education is virtually non-existent, NSL believes that the Lead India Schools initiative is vitally necessary.
NSL’s greatest commitment to this initiative would be to help change the mindset among rural populations, and to help them understand how necessary education truly is. NSL understands that this cannot be done until the current generation of parents and grandparents who are steeped in age-old traditions are made to understand the necessity of sending their children to school, therefore, the Lead India Schools Initiative will include a substantial component of education for adults as well, within the same school premises where children will study during the first half of the day, and there would be evening classes for adults focusing on life-skills trainings, and further education for willing individuals.
Only through the holistic development of the processes of imparting education can an inclination be brought amongst such populations to convince them of the necessity of education. And the Lead India Schools initiative is designed to that end – to bring change in the current lines of thought on the subject in such populations, and to build a strong foundation of education across all ages at the grassroots level. Because only when its villages develop, the nation as a whole would grow by leaps and bounds, and march together into a brighter future.
The Lead India Initiative is very special to NSL, and due to this, we would request you to apply for membership to Lead India with your best intentions and abilities to help and assist on projects that would be of immense benefit to our diverse society. Membership to Lead India has virtually no restrictions – anyone, be it an individual, group or organization can apply to be part of this initiative, and to provide their commitment to working towards building a better India. However, it is important to note that membership to Lead India is completely at the discretion of the Lead India committee and applying for membership does not guarantee acceptance.
To download the membership form, please click here. Fill up the form and send it as an attachment to email@example.com. Do not forget to attach your latest Bio data/CV/Resume, a photograph and your ID proof along with the application form.
It may be surprising to many that the National School of Leadership maintains a pro-ragging stand. Not only senior students, but even Mentors at the National School of Leadership join in ragging new-comers unaware. However, ragging activities at NSL are strategically orchestrated with the help of Mentors with the objective of inspiring psychological and leadership development at an early stage, bonding among new-comers, seniors & mentors and creating an experience that is enjoyable and pleasantly memorable for life by both seniors and new-comers.
However, any ragging activity that is outside the permissible limits as per statutes of the Government of India, including any conduct by any student or students whether by words spoken or written or by an act which has the effect of teasing, treating or handling with rudeness a fresher or any other student, or indulging in rowdy or undisciplined activities by any student or students which causes or is likely to cause annoyance, hardship or psychological harm or to raise fear or apprehension thereof in any fresher or any other student or asking any student to do any act which such student will not in the ordinary course do and which has the effect of causing or generating a sense of shame, or torment or embarrassment so as to adversely affect the physique or psyche of such fresher or any other student, with or without an intent to derive a sadistic pleasure or showing off power, authority or superiority would be treated with 0 tolerance and may lead to immediate termination of the accused student/s and appropriate legal action taken.
The National School of Leadership maintains an open door policy for all students. In case of an emergency including an attempt to ragging outside the permissible limits, any prospective victim can fearlessly walk in to any official of the National School of Leadership including the Chairman, Directors or even a board room while a board meeting is going on. All doors are flung open during such situations and no appointments are required.
It is important to note that the National School of Leadership does not accept any donations for admissions or offer any management-quota seats or engage any individual or organization to accept documentation or fee on behalf of the National School of Leadership unless they are listed on our website. The only way of making it to the National School of Leadership is by merit. NSL maintains a strict 0 tolerance towards any form of corruption. Strict action would be taken against anyone trying to pay a bribe or anyone receiving it at the National School of Leadership.
As a participative member of the United Nations PRME and the United Nations Global Compact, the National School of Leadership and all NSLites including students, mentors, staff and associates conduct themselves responsibly towards the environment. NSLites love the environment and contribute significantly towards keeping it green and clean. NSL maintains an almost paperless office barring mandates where paper work is absolutely necessary and discourage any wastage of power, water or any other resources. Strict action is taken against anyone found to be causing any significant hazard to the environment.
If you come across any instance or inclination towards unfair practices at the National School of Leadership, which is unlikely but we do not rule out the future possibility, please collect as much evidence as possible and report it to the Fellow Support team (firstname.lastname@example.org) at the National School of Leadership. If you feel, the matter is too sensitive, you can directly approach the Chairman of the National School of Leadership at email@example.com.
NSLites, aspirants and well-wishers of the National School of Leadership pledge to keep the National School of Leadership clean and positive, there by, doing their bit in contributing to excellence in nurturing leadership among individuals, organizations and nations.