The Illumining Edupreneur

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Dr Satyabrata Minaketan

You must have heard of the ODM Public School- an institution that has produced some of the legends who have earned their stripes in myriad professions. Yet, the man behind this path-breaking school hardly imagined three decades back on how it could grow into a learning centre of excellence. Dr Satyabrata Minaketan, the founder, is today one of those unsung edupreneurs whose performance and dedication speak louder than a well-oiled publicity apparatus.

Dr. Satyabrata Minaketan

Today, not only does ODM Public School, Bhubaneswar feature among the top schools of India but also is a testimony of the fact that with hard work, dedication and perseverance, no dream is unachievable in life. Dr. Minaketan dons many hats- edupreneur, philanthropist, motivational speaker, writer and green activist. But he prefers to be known as a selfless person rooted to the cause of education and tribal welfare.

Born and raised in Gatanai, a nondescript hamlet in the district of Kendrapada, Dr. Minaketan had a social bent of mind right from his childhood days. At a very young age, he and his friends would often help the needy people, the elderly and initiate cleanliness drives and awareness campaigns in the village. Subsequently, Dr. Minaketan moved to Bhubaneswar and completed his Post Graduation in English Literature from Ravenshaw University, Cuttack.

It was during his college days that Dr. Minaketan once happened to visit the Sikharchandi slum. He was aghast to see the plight of slum children who were not only deprived of basic education but were forced to take up rag-picking due to abject poverty and illiteracy. He decided to stand up for the slum children and using his scholarship amount, he set up three slum schools to educate them. “I remember, I had no funds then. With a lot of difficulty, I bought a few asbestos sheets and with the support of slum people, established the slum schools. Since I had no money to hire teachers, I requested my friends to volunteer and educate the slum children. It was a huge challenge to impart education to slum children who had never seen textbooks in their lives before. But I never gave up,” he reminisces.

Dr. Minaketan’s efforts were hailed from all quarters and he decided to dedicate his entire life to education. In 1989, he set up another school at BDA Colony, Chandrasekharpur, Bhubaneswar and named it ODM Public School. Beginning humbly from rented premises with only three rooms and 10 students, the school imparted education to economically backward children, mostly from the nearby slum areas. He used all his savings and borrowed some money to set up that school, primarily because he wanted to transform the lives of slum children through education. Such was his passion for education that he even gave up a government job to serve those in need. After years of struggle and hardships, he finally set up a CBSE-affiliated secondary school, by the same name (ODM Public School) at Patia in 1996. Since then he has never looked back.

Subsequently, ODM Public School climbed up the ladder of success and grew from strength to strength with each passing year. Today, ODM Public School is a part of ODM Educational Group that houses ODM Kids World (a pre-school chain), ODM School of Advanced Learning (test prep institute), Institute of Human Excellence, (a skill development academy) and Astral Institute of Management (a B-School affiliated to AICTE) among others. The ODM public school is globally known for its unique education pedagogy empowering students with a global and local perspective. Backed by the state-of-the-art infrastructure and experienced teaching and non-teaching professionals, the ODM Educational Group has surged ahead of its competitors within a short span of time. Recently, ODM Public School was ranked Number 1 by The Times of India Schools Survey rankings for Odisha. If that was not enough, the school was awarded as the Best Emerging School of Eastern India and featured among the Top 5 best schools in India as well. Not one to rest on his laurels and achievements, Dr. Minaketan credits the success to the relentless efforts of teachers, students, support of parents and blessings of the Almighty.

ODM Public School, Bhubaneswar

Following in his father’s footsteps, Dr. Minaketan’s son Swoyan Satyendu needs a special mention in this regard. The young and promising entrepreneur, who stepped into the ODM Educational Group a few years ago, introduced a digital learning platform named, DIGICHAMPS, a first for the state that complemented the educational needs of the ODM students.

While the global pandemic hit us all hard, Dr. Minaketan left no stone unturned to make good use of every moment during the testing times. While the school was initially shut down owing to COVID-19 restrictions, Dr. Minaketan and his team worked hard to ensure that the education of their students was not hampered. “We introduced an e-learning platform named ODM@Learning where we uploaded all the study materials ranging from class notes, video tutorials, question banks, etc. that proved to be of great help for the students. Our teachers were constantly on their toes imparting education from their respective homes,” said he.

An avid writer, Dr. Minaketan has a number of publications to his credit which has earned him accolades far and wide. Especially his ‘YOU CAN’ series that focuses on important life skills, the right way of parenting, health and lifestyle among others have put a lasting impact on students, teachers, parents and readers alike. The book series have also been strategically inducted into the syllabus of students to bring them closer to values and ethics in life.

Committed to the cause of tribal community welfare, he started a Tribal school at Bhalunka for the villagers of Bhalunka, Bhutubhuti, Chudanga & Krishna Nagar. After the devastating 1999 Super Cyclone in Odisha, he went ahead and provided food and shelter to the homeless tribal people. Currently, Dr. Minaketan has completely immersed himself in the care and service of elderly tribal men and women living in the tribal pockets in Bhubaneswar to help them live a dignified and respectable life.

Apart from his professional commitments, Dr. Minaketan has carved a niche for himself as a green activist. He not only finds pleasure in spending time in the lap of nature but is committed to protecting trees and creating green jungles as well. He is the founder of ‘Green India Club’ that undertakes various plantation drives and awareness campaigns to save green covers in the wake of rapid industrialization. In a record of sorts, Dr. Minaketan and his team of students and volunteers planted 1,000 saplings in 1 minute at Bhalunka, on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar last year. His love for nature motivated him to come up with a one-of-its-kind multi-facility Nature Cure Centre, named Healthville near the picturesque Bhalunka, on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar. Surrounded by lush greenery, Healthville promotes a drug-less therapy which combines Nature Cure with Yoga. “In the 21st century, human beings have turned into machines. Stress and unhygienic lifestyle have engulfed our lives. Therefore, leading a healthy and peaceful life free of diseases and stress is important. This formed the underlying principle for Healthville which brings human beings closer to nature and helps them maintain a healthy relationship with the environment. We have integrated the ancient concept of Nature cure and yoga with scientific knowledge,” he said adding that the campus is equipped with massive treatment blocks, meditation halls, library, physiotherapy centre, etc. and different nature cure methods are imparted under the guidance of well-experienced Naturopath Doctors, Therapists, Technicians and the administrative staff.

A Rotarian at heart, Dr. Minaketan is closely associated with several philanthropic organizations of the state. He has spearheaded numerous social awareness campaigns for the welfare of the distressed and underprivileged. Notably, when the entire nation was hit hard by the lockdown last year, Dr. Minaketan and his team went ahead and distributed dry ration, essential items and cooked food to several slum families.

Among his numerous ambitious plans, Dr. Minaketan is soon coming up with a global school in Bhubaneswar which will facilitate admission of both international and local students. “There are a few things that I will continue doing till my last breath- continue imparting value based education to students and working for the welfare of tribal communities, slum dwellers and orphans,” he said before signing off.

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