Ordinary People, Extraordinary Teachers

7th November 2020 / 6:30 pm IST /
Zoom & Youtube


The fourth Reading for Change event takes S. Giridhar’s Ordinary People, Extraordinary Teachers as an entry point to SDG 4 Quality Education. Drawing from S. Giridhar’s personal experience with the Azim Premji Foundation, the book tells the stories of government school teachers across India, dedicated to improving the lives of the children in their care.

Join author S. Giridhar and Uma Mahadevan (Principal Secretary, Panchayat Raj to the GoK) in conversation about Ordinary People, Extraordinary Teachers and SDG 4, as they discuss the importance and the challenges of creating a space for quality education. Read the book and join in with your thoughts, reflections and questions.

Purchase the book here and head over to https://tinyurl.com/y67xu5uq to register!

Click here for more information on SDG4.


S. Giridhar

S. Giridhar is the Chief Operating Officer of Azim Premji University. One of the earliest members of Azim Premji Foundation, Giridhar joined the Foundation eighteen years ago after over two decades in business management roles. When the Foundation established the Azim Premji University, he became the first Registrar and COO. He has for many years now, been writing regularly, drawing from his rich experiences and observations on the ground. He recently published ‘Ordinary People, Extraordinary Teachers: The heroes of real India’ (Westland Books), a book that is a tribute to heroic government school teachers. Weaving stories from his field study, where he interacted with over 250 wonderful teachers in 110 schools across five districts, the book has touched the hearts of readers. Giridhar’s other passion is cricket and he has co-authored two acclaimed books on the sport: Midwicket Tales: From Trumper to Tendulkar and From Mumbai to Durban: India’s Greatest Tests.

Uma Mahadevan

Uma Mahadevan is an IAS officer of Karnataka cadre, currently working as Principal Secretary, Panchayat Raj to the Government of Karnataka. She has worked in important sectors in the Central and State Government. She has previously worked as Principal Secretary, Women and Child Development, during which time she steered the launch of several important new policy interventions in the state. She has previously worked in the planning, agriculture, education and health sectors in the state, and the atomic energy sector in the Government of India. She was a member of the working group that produced Karnataka’s first Human Development Report. She writes regularly on culture, policy and development issues. 

Two classrooms in this school double up as a night hostel for students whose parents migrate seasonally so that they do not miss school.’

For a large majority of Indian children, their only chance of an education is the government school. For nearly two decades, S. Giridhar has been crisscrossing the country in the course of his work with the Azim Premji Foundation, travelling to remote corners and observing the public education system. In these years, he has met hundreds of government school teachers—profoundly committed to improving the lives of the children in their care. These are teachers who defy all constraints because of a burning belief that every child can learn.

Ordinary People, Extraordinary Teachers has emerged from Giridhar’s in-depth study of these inspirational teachers and the ecosystem they function in. Innovative and creative, dogged and resourceful, firm and kind—the government school teacher wears many a hat. This book is a tribute to their commitment and resilience.