Madhavi Agrawal, Founder, Cygnus World School, Vadodara

By Madhavi Agrawal, Founder
Madhavi Agrawal,Founder

Madhavi Agrawal


Hailing from Kolkata, Madhavi Agarwal was educated in Delhi. She did her schooling at Modern School, Delhi and took her BA (Hons.) from Delhi's prestigious Shri Ram College of Commerce. She has also done a long-distance course in Child Psychology from UK and summer courses at Harvard. A strong proponent of all-round development, she also acquired a Diploma in Business Finance from ICFAI. During her education, Madhavi represented Delhi state in hockey and was an active participant in athletics, hockey, tennis and horse riding. A fierce debater and an ardent theatre enthusiast, Madhavi instills the same zeal that she has always had towards sports and co-curricular activities into the curriculum of Cygnus World School.

Leading with a Sporting Spirit

Be it, Madhavi Agarwal, her farther Harsh Vardhan Kanoria or her grandfather Basudev Kanoria, the contributions of Kanoria family to the Indian education spectrum are highly applicable. If the prestigious Bhavan's Gangabux Kanoria Vidyamandir in West Bengal was built by the seed fund provided by Basudev Kanoria, then Harsh Vardhan Kanoria through his Jan Priya Trust has helped many underprivileged kids to get a quality education. In 2011, Madhavi entered into mainstream education by establishing Cygnus World School in Vadodara, supported in every way by her father, Harsh Kanoria. However, Cygnus is not her first venture in the education sector.

Madhavi who is now in her late 30s recounts,
"I was married at an age of 21 to a Marwari businessperson based in Baroda. Being a business graduate, I helped my husband with his business for few months. But, I wasn't really happy sitting behind the desk and dealing with those numbers." Madhavi discovered her passion for teaching when she started facilitating a few school kids after their academic hours. She then founded a learning centre named Learning Tree. Madhavi adds, "I started with 10 kids, doing activities that are not done at school. Gradually, with the support of a friend, the Learning Tree thrived to become a playschool and a center of learning and evening activities for children." Simultaneously, Madhavi took up the job of a regular teacher and worked for a couple of years, as she wanted to experience the life of a real teacher before having her own kids at home.

"Believe in yourself as a woman. Be confident and sure about your ideas. One day, if not today, the world will credit you for your contributions" -Madhavi Agarwal

Now, Cygnus World School is in its seventh year of operation. But, the thought of establishing a school came into Madhavi's mind nine years ago. "Though, we didn't actively run our own school, my family has always been a part of the education system. We decided to establish an institution with a new school of thought" shares Madhavi. Before putting the foundation stone of Cygnus, Madhavi and her father traveled around the country, visiting various schools, looking for those tiniest things that would make a difference to their proposed school. "It was a great experience," says Madhavi, "Some schools had interesting designs for their art rooms, and some of them had come up with different methodologies for giving homework. On the surface, every school is the same. But, these small things can make a big difference in the students' life. We wanted to imbibe all the prevalent best practices for Cygnus."

Apparently, the travel helped
and it is evident in the way Cygnus operates now. Spread across 7.3 acres, Cygnus World School is an architectural marvel. It is the only school in Gujarat and a third school in the country to achieve the green building standards required under the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED UK) for India green building rating system. Apart from creating bright young minds, Cygnus also generates 60-kilowatt solar power. The surplus power generated by the school is fed into the Gujarat Electricity Board grid, free of cost, for the benefit of consumers. On the flipside, Cygnus has integrated the best from international and contemporary Indian pedagogical practices and has put in place an innovative, progressive and challenging academic framework.

"At Cygnus, we maintain a high level of professionalism. When I sit on the chair of the Founder-Director of the Cygnus, I give equal preference to each member and the institution always comes first. This is something that I have learnt from being a sportsperson," says Madhavi. When Madhavi decided to consider her love for children as the prime passion, it is true that the sports enthusiast in her took the recreational seat. She adds, "I am a very outdoor person. I still find time to play various sports and I love to be with my kids and family. Without their support, I couldn't have achieved anything." With a lot of enthusiasm, passion, and charisma, Madhavi Agarwal is a woman of special capabilities. She is a born leader. Indeed, every woman in the world is a leader, but some are still waiting for their opportunities to rise.

Her Favourites

Book: Harry Potter Series

Author: Jeffery Archer

Holiday Destination: Switzerland

Movie: Star Wars

Quote: "Imagination is more important than knowledge"
Top 25 Promising Women Leaders in Indian Education Sector 2018