My school days – Dr. Devi Shetty

Posted January 8, 2016 8:12 pm by

Dr. Devi Shetty - India School News

Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty, renowned Indian cardiologist, talks to ‘India School News’ about his school days, impact of teacher in student’s life and need of youth in field of medicine.

My school days

I had a good time in my school. I really enjoyed! In my initial days I studied in St. Mary’s School till 6th standard. Later I moved to Bombay High School. It was very close to my place Kinnigoli, Mangalore.  It was fun!  I guess it is mainly because we all went to school which is close to our house. After we used to come back home, nobody asked us to study, we played around for few hours. We used to open the books just before the exams and somehow managed to pass. That was sufficient too. I don’t think it makes that big difference for children to really slog from day in and day out.  I don’t think professionally they do something better than people like us.

Schools – then and now!

I feel kids of that era had wonderful time in schools compared to now.  There was not much pressure on studies. It wasn’t that competitive then! I feel sorry for the students today. They come back from school and start with so much of home work, competitive exams, CET and all kinds of things Stuff. All put together we have made their childhood hell! We don’t need to. Unfortunately we have created so many bottlenecks in the education system that children are always chasing their aspirations. World is not a zero sum game – it is not like if someone gets it then other don’t get it, all of us can get it.

Everyone should be allowed to chase their dream, and education has to be made more interesting. Those days it wasn’t stressful at all! There were hardly any exams. Most of us somehow managed to pass and we also failed many times but that didn’t matter. In the end in the examination of life it really doesn’t matter how times you passed and how many times you failed!

My Teachers

There were lot of teachers in my school who left behind great impression! I was and still I am so found of my drawing teacher Mr. Achutha Acharya. He used to teach me painting and also taught maths. He is one person who is very special in my life!

Teacher’s impact on Student

Teachers can make a huge difference! For me maths was a great challenge! I just couldn’t understand mathematics. As mentioned before my drawing teacher taught me maths. I managed to get decent marks in maths because of his coaching else I would have failed.  I didn’t had a desire to pursue maths. He gave me the confidence saying, “This is not something that you can’t do. You can do it!” Although the moment I finished 10th std, I took biology. So it was physics, chemistry and biology (PCB). Nevertheless have I not with Mr. Acharya I would not have reached that level.

And also it is very important for us to have small successes. I was a very average student in the first few years of my school days. I passed many times, failed few times but when I entered 7th std Mr. Acharya transformed my approach towards difficulties and learning! What happens, when children do not understand certain things, there is no one to guide them to solve it! They feel they can’t do it, they can’t make it and they decide themselves. But my teacher somehow brought me back to main stream. Consequently in 7th std we had district level exams those days, it is not the exam confined to one school and I did extremely well in that exam. That small success came to me because of only one man, Mr. Acharya. It is well showcased in the movie ‘Tare Zameen  Par’, one man  can make a difference to one child! This is really true!

Use of technology in teaching process

Today things can be taught to the children using technology in a phenomenal manner.  It can be made very lively.  It can’t be so boring like in my days but unfortunately those tools are not used in the schools. For example to teach students about how amoeba looks like? All we have is one diagram and we have to explain how it moves with the pseudopodia along with related things. We can actually animate and show it to the students. Once they see they can never forget. All these materials are available but not used. Technology is not expensive, easily accessible yet not put into practice.

Next generation’s interest in science

Definitely yes, we want children to be interested in science, mathematics and basic sciences. These days youth is becoming quite inclined towards B.A, B.Com – where does it lead to in the end?  I am not saying commerce subjects are not interesting but now virtually whole country is becoming B.A, B.Com! Very few of them are getting into mathematics and science. So if they don’t take it up, there will be a problem.

Medicine, an exciting profession

Medical profession is the most exciting profession. It is meant for those teenagers who want to do something with their fingers, who want to touch many people’s life! Youngsters who aspire to do something amazing that nobody has ever thought about then this is the profession! It has room for all, someone interested in software, interested to create some fantastic app then they should become a doctor and start developing things for medical profession. If a boy/girl has mechanical orientation then he/she should take up surgery and also can come up with innovation. Hence for any type of interest, medical profession is the best profession because it is still in an infantile stage, so much need to be done. World is facing lot of problems and most of the problems in healthcare aren’t addressed yet. There is a great excitement for youth to do something new and this is the profession. I would love to get all children to join the medical college!

I would like to wrap up with just one thing, make education enjoyable! Children should enjoy studying. They must look forward to come to school. After finishing school they should say, “Oh! Those were the wonderful days”.  Today I can say that my school days were fantastic.  In medical college it was fun, it was so exciting, I mean studies were not only the thing we did, we did so many other things too.  We became complete human beings! Otherwise I would have done extremely well in medical college and ended up becoming a miserable doctor. 

As told to Kartik Isvarmurti, Managing Editor, India School News


Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty, the most celebrated Indian philanthropist and a cardiac surgeon was born on 8th May 1953 at Kinnigoli village, Dakshina Kannada district, Karnataka, India. He has provided affordable healthcare to his countrymen. He is chairman and Founder, Narayana Health (Narayana Hrudayalaya is now Narayana Health).

He completed his graduate degree in Medicine and post-graduate work in General Surgery from Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore. He went to Guy’s Hospital, United Kingdom to get trained in cardiac surgery. Dr. Shetty became proficient heart specialist and could have continued to practice in foreign countries but he opted to return back to India in 1989 to serve his people. Initially he worked at B.M. Birla Hospital in Kolkata.

Many successful surgeries to complicated heart illness had been performed by Dr. Shetty. First neonatal heart surgery on a 9-day-old baby named “Ronnie” in 1992, operated on Mother Teresa after she had a heart attack are few to name. He has credits of performing over 15,000 heart operations. Later he shifted to Bangalore and started the Manipal Heart Foundation at Manipal Hospitals, Bangalore. 

He strongly believes cost of healthcare can be reduced by 50 % if hospitals adopt the idea of economies of scale. To do so he established a multi-specialty hospital in Bommasandra on the outskirts of Bangalore. He lives with his mission to help the underprivileged and to bring down the cost of healthcare in the country. For his immense contribution to provide inexpensive healthcare he has been felicitated with the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award, in 2004 and the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award, in 2012, by the Government of India.