Eikas Foundation

Partner From
- On Going


Supported by: Wipro

Vision and Strategy

Eikas Foundation’s vision is “education for the head, heart, and hands.” Eikas believes that the education system requires “grassroots innovations” and initiatives at the “institutional and system level.” Keeping this in mind, the organization engages with the system at the following different levels.

Level 1: Learning centre/direct work with children – After-school programs that develop self-awareness, social-emotional, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Emphasis on interactive learning, collaborative work, exploratory activities, reflection, and community service projects. The centre also serves as a testbed for teacher training and innovation.

Level 2: Collaborative for teachers and parents – Given the importance of the wisdom gained through practice, a forum for practice sharing among teachers and educators to learn from each other, reach out for support beyond their immediate social groups, and support the agenda of greater research and advocacy in educational practice.

Level 3: School support programs – Enabling schools to support the academic development and overall well-being of children through curriculum design, teaching strategies, classroom management, and the overall school environment.

Level 4: Research – Research projects in collaboration with government, NGOs, and universities.

Level 5: Advisory – Advisory support to other projects and organizations in educational and social change.

The organization is currently focused on the following domains.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM): Develop critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork, and other soft skills through a child-driven process of inquiry, investigation, and discovery using the school curriculum as a vehicle – called the “Guided Discovery” process (click here for illustrative examples). The process of learning is grounded in everyday phenomena to stimulate children’s natural curiosity. The emphasis is on arriving at an understanding of science concepts through the process of teasers, activities, group inquiry, and synthesis. Teacher professional development programs that provide a space for educators to refresh their concepts, experiment, reflect, and share are also offered.

Life skills and social-emotional learning/well-being: Workshops for parents and teachers to enhance their well-being and to help prepare children for success in school and life by developing self- awareness, self-management, critical thinking, relationship skills, and social consciousness. Integration of social-emotional learning activities into STEM programs for students. Multiple modes of development are used to foster these abilities in children, including workshops, classroom discussions, activities, games, arts, and service projects.

We work with Olcott Memorial Higher Secondary School, Chennai on the STEM and well-being programs. With Zilla Parishad High School, Vinjamur (Nellore District, Andhra Pradesh), Puvidham Learning Centre (Nagarkoodal, Tamil Nadu) and a learning centre located in Anna Nagar, Chennai we intervene with our STEM program.

Project updates

STEM Gym programs in school: Based on the “Guided Discovery” approach the STEM Gym program is offered to students and teachers in school. Direct work with children is essential to ensure that the program is grounded, and work with motivated teachers is done to expand reach, broaden impact, and facilitate teaching innovation and systemic change. Currently running at Olcott, ZPH, Puvidham.

STEM Gym summer workshops: Short-term (7- to 10-days) intense engagements for children to help them discover science concepts for themselves. Games and other activities are integrated to help students develop well-being and 21st-century skills. The program offered at Vinjamur in 2022, and in Bengaluru and Karnal Dist. Haryana in 2023.

Science for Sustainability Park: Supporting Puvidham Learning Centre in setting up a regional resource hub that: (a) showcases applications of science for sustainable living and development, (b) model’s exemplar science pedagogy, and (c) supports teacher professional development. Location: Puvidham.

STEM Gym one-on-one/small group paid program: Paid program offered to students with high interest and engagement in science. Currently offered at the Chennai Learning Center.

Well-being workshops (online and in-person): Under the aegis of a grant from the Mind & Life Institute, the Eikas Foundation organizes online and in-person well-being workshops for teachers, NGOs, community workers, and community mental health professionals working with children in low- income settings. In-person workshops are held at Olcott.

Eikas Family Centre: Online programs are organized in collaboration with a parents' support group that addresses issues related to their childrens well-being.

Pandemic experiences survey: Research project in collaboration with Indiana University, USA, and Dream a Dream to assess the effects of sustained school closures due to the COVID-19 crisis on children's well-being across multiple socio-economic segments.

Learnings and challenges over the past year

STEM Gym programs in school

  • High student engagement across locations – rural, urban
  • Students able to grasp and apply grade level and beyond concepts => forex. Grade 7 – 10 students-built projector and microscope – concepts which are usually introduced in Grades 11 & 12.
  • Evidence of high levels of retention => forex. Grade 6 children in Chennai and Vinjamur, could recall series and parallel circuit concepts after 1 month with NO revision.
  • Covered ~approx. 50% of conceptual content in physics and chemistry topics ➪ usually considered “difficult” •
  • Requests for workshops and long-term engagements: (a) Puvidham Learning Center, Nagarkoodal, Tamil Nadu, (b) Disha India Education Foundation, Karnal Dist., Haryana.

STEM Gym Summer workshops

  • Very good opportunity for intense engagement
  • Extends the reach of pedagogy and organization beyond the school and learning center
  • Work with mixed grade level batches •Accelerates module development and field testing.

Science for Sustainability Park

  • Good opportunity to integrate sustainable living with science education and use it to improve lives in local contexts
  • Opened the door for Eikas Foundation to serve as a resource/consulting organization for other education institutions.

STEM Gym one-on-one/small group paid program

  • Demonstrated that parents willing to pay in cities for quality learning and conceptual depth, and for personal time and attention.
  • Considering piloting a hybrid model (online + in-person) for flexible access and broadening student base.

Well-being workshops

  • High interest and positive engagement in online events – 50 to 150 participants per event in 5 events, database of 500+ registrations across India
  • Opened opportunities for (a) connecting with reputed organs.: Tata Trusts, Sattva Consulting, Life Skills Collaborative, Dasra, Teacher Foundation (b) internal capacity building (c) visibility for Eikas Foundation
  • Support from eminent educationists and well-being experts.


  • Given program traction, need to design and implement a diversified fundraising strategy to gradually expand the team
  • Dissemination and communication of learnings and impact
  • Develop and refine organizational processes for long-term sustainability.

Plan for the next 1-3 years

FY 2023-24 Plan – STEM. Eikas Foundation’s STEM Gym program for students and teachers has shown traction and measurable impact. Therefore, this program will continue to be deepened and strengthened in the following ways: (a) organizing summer camps in collaboration with Puvidham Learning Centre and Disha India Educational Foundation in April – May 2023 (b) continuing engagements with Olcott Memorial and ZPH, Vinjamur, (c) collaborate with partner organizations to: (i) broaden and deepen its offerings, (ii) strategically expand operations and knowledge sharing, (iii) provide capacity building programs, and (iv) enable internal capacity building.

FY 2023-24 Plan – Well-being. We will tap from our learnings from the last year to adapt and strengthen our program offerings. In-person workshops will be refined and adapted to (a) broaden and diversify the teacher base and (b) deepen the offering so that participants get a chance to continue conversations beyond the workshop and develop peer groups. We are considering reinitiating online workshops on a limited basis with the program open to all educators across the country. The rationale is that a broader reach can attract committed and experienced individuals who can make valuable contributions to ideas and practice. Based on receptivity, and response, attempt to seed communities of practice both online and in-person.

Over the next three years, based on program response and funding, we intend to increase our footprint in schools to approximately 3 in total, hire 2 staff members at the end of three years, have a formal fundraising strategy and program in place, publish metrics (qualitative or quantitative) related to impact assessment. It is anticipated that in three years the programmatic focus will sharpen and deepen in the STEM and social-emotional learning domains.