Understanding Theories Through Practices

Work with the people, not for the people,” Varun Sharma, MA Education 2014 – 16, Senior Fellow with the Government of Telangana.

Varun Sharmas photo

Varun, an engineering graduate is passionate about working for the society. He started with teaching a group of adolescents in his native village who drop their studies and migrate to neighbouring states for work. His efforts helped retain 22 out of 25 children in school, but he wanted to explore many questions on education that troubled him. Looking for answers, he joined the M.A. Education programme at Azim Premji University as the curriculum really excited him. 

The University space, faculty and peers helped him deep dive into the fundamental questions surrounding school education and education for the marginalised communities. But Varun felt that the programme was too idealistic, and the learnings may fall flat on ground. To test this, he took a one-year break after this 3rd semester and joined the SBI Youth for India Fellowship. He worked with the Lanjia Saura tribal community in a remote village in Odisha with no network connectivity, road access, electricity and language barrier. This made him realise how the programme had equipped him with navigating the unknown at the grassroots. 

After University, Varun joined the Teach for India Fellowship. He also worked with the Transformation of Aspirational Districts Programme for left-wing extremism affected districts. Working with Lohardaga District Administration, Jharkhand for three years, he built a deep understanding of the public system, its strengths and weaknesses. 

Currently, Varun is a Senior Fellow with the Government of Telangana. He is leading an in-house public policy team of ten Assistant Statistical Officers and Kakatiya Governance Fellows that works across the Finance Department, Mines and Geology Department, Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society (TSWREIS), Telangana Tribal Welfare Residential Educational Society (TTWREIS) and Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) where he oversees their work.