I joined Gyan lab on 22nd May 2014 with the hope to play a role in changing the current education system. This is a 3.5 years old start-up co-founded by former students of MIT (Manipal) - Priyadeep and Sonali. During these 10 days that I have spent and worked here, I analysed the ways in which this start-up is creating something valuable which can change the way our kids learn, something which can successfully engage students in STEM education through hands on learning.
The Most Innovative Competition for Kids - Kidovators Challenge Grand Finale held on June 1 in Bangalore
Gyan Lab Kidovators Challenge 2013 grand finale was held on 1st June (Sunday) in Bangalore with the All India winners of classes 3 – 8 being declared as Champion Kidovators of India. KD Ambani Vidyamandir, Jamnagar was awarded the Best School Award of Rs 1 Lac.
The competition, presented by State Bank of India and National Payments Corporation of India has been started to promote practice-based learning simulating real life scenarios and foster innovation and creativity in kids across India. The competition has been conceptualized by Gyan Lab, an education start-up operating out of Bangalore and spearheaded by its Co-Founder & COO, Sonali Gupta.
In this inaugural edition, there were two rounds of competition. Round 1 was conducted across 90 cities and towns in 18 states across India in January 2014 with more than 25,000 students from 400+ schools participating in the same. The results of the same were declared in March and top 150 students from various grades (Grades 3 – 8) were invited to participate in the Finals in Bangalore on 1st June. These 150 kids from various towns and cities from 13 states travelled to Bangalore where accommodation, food, transport and all other arrangements were made by the organizers.
In the finals, the kids were given various countries to represent as Heads of States with these countries facing severe problems. For example, students of class 8 had ‘Freedom of Press’ as their problem statement with them representing countries like China, North Korea, Rwanda, Syria, etc. and they had to be a part of a Round Table Conference where had to discuss the problems and take strong resolutions towards solving them. The kids had tremendous fun and a great deal of learning about solving real problems which would groom them to be future leaders in various fields.
The following kids were declared Champion Kidovators of India:
· Class 3: Tejas Shandilya, Millenium School, Mohali
· Class 4: Ribhav Ravindra Sethi, KD Ambani Vidyamandir, Jamnagar
· Class 5: Himanshi, Siddhartha Public School, Rohtak
· Class 6: Samarth Bansal, St. Mary’s School, Morena (MP)
· Class 7: Yash Bansal, BGS National Public School, Bangalore
· Class 8: Moksh Shukla, Resonance, Kota
The Best School award of Rs 1 lac was handed over to K D Ambani Vidyamandir, Jamnagar and the Best Enterprising School award of Rs 1 lac was a tie between SBOA School, Chennai and BGS National Public School, Bangalore.
At the award ceremony, Mr. M Chandrasekaran (Corporate Advisor & Board Member, Manipal Group) was the Chief Guest. Our special guests included Mr. M. N. Rao (ex-MD & CEO, SBI Life), Ms. Shradha Sharma (Founder CEO, Yourstory), Mr. Pulak Kumar Sinha (General Manager, SBI) and R. Chellappa (Deputy General Manager, SBI) were present to give away the top prizes and encourage the kids to think out of box.
At the event, Mr. Chandrasekaran said, “I urge all parents and students present to carry out the message of Gyan Lab to others so that they can also take advantage of the competition.”
Mr. Pulak Sinha said,”It is very exciting and interesting to see kids as young as 8 – 9 years old talking so smartly about global problems and issues. I remember that when I was their age, I had no clue about any of these topics. I am sure the future of this country is very bright.”
Ms. Shradha Sharma said,”All kids present here, irrespective of their ranks, are winners. I ask all of you to keep believing in yourself and your abilities, and keep dreaming. One day, I hope to write your stories about the great work that you would have done.”
Ms. Sonali Gupta also gave an insight about how the whole event was put into shape and the work that happened in the background to make Kidovators happen successfully. She also spoke about the genesis of Gyan Lab and said,” This competition has been conceptualized to reach out to you i.e. the parents and the teachers. Our kids are special and can go way beyond just books. I would urge you to let them be free and do what they want to do. This would be the best for kids, us and a solid future on the foundation of innovation and creativity.”
The sponsors and partners of the entire competition include Alok Industries, Ajanta Pharmaceuticals, Dainik Bhaskar, RuPay, IndiaReads.com, ExamKaFunda & LearnHive.
- Team Gyan Lab
Gyan Lab Kidovators Challenge Grand Finale on 1st June - India's Brightest 150 Kids travelling from 13 States to Participate!
We are pleased to present to you Gyan Lab Kidovators Challenge presented by State Bank of India and National Payments Corporation of India on 1st June 2014. This is the first ever edition of Gyan Lab Kidovators Challenge, a unique national level competition for school kids of ages 8 - 14 (grades 3 - 8) based on practical learning approach promoting holistic learning and creativity among school students.
The competition has been put in two rounds. Round 1 was conducted on 12th January 2014 (East & South India) and 19th January 2014 (North & West India). In this round, 25,184 students had participated from 90 cities & towns in 17 states. This was a written test where we tested the students in four sub-topics.
Following this, the results of Round 1 were declared in March 2014 and All India Ranks 1 - 25 for all the grades (grades 3 - 8) were invited to participate in the finals on 1st June 2014 in Bangalore.
We are happy to say that all the top 150 students (25 from each grade) are travelling from various towns of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to participate in the finals.
The final round is a practical test where each participant has already been provided with a particular problem such as Healthcare, Poverty, etc (based on grade) and a country which they will represent as 'Head of State'. The students will be given complex problems to solve that they will discuss with other countries facing similar issues and present their solutions to these problems. The kids who present the most real-faced optimal solution will win.
This is the first time ever that a competition of this nature is being organized in India and it gives us immense pride to announce that we are giving away prizes of about INR 2 Crores including the following major prizes:
1st Rank (in each class): Prizes worth INR 100,000
2nd Rank (in each class): Prizes worth INR 50,000
3rd Rank (in each class): Prizes worth INR 25,000
4th - 10th Rank (in each class): Prizes worth INR 5000
11th - 25th Rank (in each class): Prizes worth INR 2000
Apart from this two top schools (from over 400 schools that participated) will stand to win the following prizes:
Best School Award: Cash Prize of INR 100,000
Most Enterprising School Award: Cash Prize of INR 100,000
Each participating student has been awarded a gift coupon of Rs 200 along with participation certificate and detailed analysis report based on Gyan Meter testing students on 7 Dimensions of Intellectual Ability.
Location of Event: The Infantry Hotel, Infantry Road, Shivajinagar, Bangalore - 560001
Date & Time: 1st June, 2014
Event - 09:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Prizes Ceremony - 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Top officials from State Bank of India, Manipal Group and other organizations will be present to encourage the kids and give away the prizes at the Award Ceremony.
- Team Gyan Lab
It is extremely difficult a task to figure out which one is the best school in a particular city. There are so many different parameters, different thought processes, different focus points that predicting a rank 1, 2 3, and so on becomes almost impossible.
When we got started with finding our list of Top 30 school in Bangalore in January this year, we had to make sure that we focused on one particular line of thought and stuck our guts to that. So, we decided to focus on parameters and questions that enable us to get answers on the fact whether a child was 'enjoying' school. We fixed our domains as Academic, Co-curricular, Extra curricular and Eco-system and asked questions based on these parameters to parents, students and some teachers as well.
“It's easier to take than to give. It's nobler to give than to take. The thrill of taking lasts a day. The thrill of giving lasts a lifetime.”
― Joan Marques
Everyone in India and the world over is talking about education, they talk about it not being really impactful, they talk about it being unfair to many, many kids, they talk about it like a social epidemic that will devour the world. But all they do is talk, and talk some more. What about actually doing something in improving the system, what about taking those little measures and small steps so that our kids (and future human resources) are not assembly line products like us but really intuitive and creative.
When we started Gyan Lab, our aim was very, very clear. How can we disrupt the current learning structure, how can we make it child-oriented rather than system oriented, how can we make it such that learning is fun and kids do not run away from it anymore. And, in these last 3 years, everyday, we have taken baby steps at realizing our dream. We have enhanced creative and intuitive learning aspects in school kids and continue to do so. It is a good feeling to be able to contribute to the change rather than just talk about it, but we are not at all satisfied. The hunger to do more is growing with every passing day. And, we want to keep growing this hunger...
Now, one man, two people or even five people cannot bring world class funducative learning program to a lot of kids, and even they are able to do so – it is never a quality finish. Only, and only a community approach where a large number of people with the right intent work together to make a dream possible can actually bring the change in right magnitude.
So, here we are at the infliction point where we have the capacity to empower a greater number of kids. But, we need your help, your commitment to not only our dream but also your dream. If you have the drive and the passion with a firm belief that education structure needs to change, you must join us in our mission.
Here’s Gyan Lab Summer Fellowship! A structured but flexible program that asks you to work with kids and facilitate learning with fun. If you have ever felt that classroom learning is not for you, if you have felt that it should not only be the teacher talking and you listening, if you have ever felt that the exams have been unjust to your capabilities, here is your opportunity to stop the younger generation from feeling the same agony. Join us in making quality learning possible for these kids.
You can be one of those who just keep talking, or be the change-maker. The choice is yours. Are you game?
Looking for: Young Indian between ages 17 – 25 years old
During: April-May 2014 (but, if you want to come onboard earlier, we do not have a problem)
For: Working with kids and impact them through experiential learning
Work Location: Bangalore
Education Qualifications: Ability to un-learn the ordinary regular moribund things
Qualities: Crazy, Believer, Intent to Challenge the Status-Quo
What will You Get: SATISFACTION! And, we have also kept a small stipend of Rs 5000/month and a Certificate of Salutation for your commitment to the cause
How to Apply: Just Click Here
Written by: Sonali
Co-Founder, COO & Director of Technology at ADD-on-GYAN | Entrepreneur | Educator | Co-Creator of Gyan Lab
Everyone is talking about the PISA 2009+ Test and everyone knows that India performed dismally. It was in all the newspapers and we did read that Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh (chosen to represent India) finished 72nd and 73rd from 74 participating regions/economies. But, what is the deeper meaning of this? How does i all matter has not been spoken of properly.
So, I made this presentation (shown below) in order for all of to really understand what the PISA 2009+ results mean and the deeper reason behind why India refused to participate with the Government saying that most kids chosen to write the PISA Test from India in 2009 were from Government schools and under-prepared to write such an international test. Can you believe it???
Infact, the PISA 2009+ test also mentioned that an Indian eighth grader was equivalent to a Taiwanese third grader when it came to application skills in Reading, Mathematics and Scientific Literacies.
Also, I have mentioned five points to ponder on. Things that will lead to a solid introspection which might enable us to find real solutions to our education woes that just beating around the bush and leading to no significant change in quality of education.
Education is very, very important for a large developing nation like ours and we cannot screw around with it as we have been doing in the past 67 years since independence.
Let me know your viewpoint. What do you think?
Written by: Priyadeep (PD)
Founder and CEO of ADD-on-GYAN | Entrepreneur | Educator | Creator of Gyan Lab
Q: How does it feel to be finally at the Gyan Lab Head Office?
A: It is the most satisfying feeling! Working at the grass root level and getting your hands dirty is what I like the most. Every day is a blend of different emotions flowing around. In fact, no two hours are the same. The thrill, excitement and drama makes the office a happening place. :-)
On a serious note I am looking forward to working full time now. While in Manipal, there were 100 different things to do at the same time. I can put my undivided attention to work after moving to Bangalore.
Q: How does it feel to be nearly over with engineering? Is it more relaxed for you now having only work to focus on?
A: I have been looking forward to this. Definitely the focus is just on working now. Earlier I could only put in 6 - 8 hours every day but now I have ample time at my disposal. Moreover, working in a start-up is much more relaxed as you can work whenever you want to and you love what you do. It avoids the feeling of boredom to creep in (I can get bored easily).
Q: You were just 18 years old when you co-founded this company. How has the learning experience been? Do you feel wiser than back in 2011?
A: I have learnt more than what I could imagine. When I look back to the days when I just joined college, I can’t relate to that kid anymore. My eagerness to learn and do the extraordinary was something that transformed my life. I rarely wasted my time doing unimportant things. There are plenty distractions for a college student and so were for me. But, once I found my path I never fell back. I knew this is something which is going to change me forever. Gyan Lab has given me the confidence to do big things in life even though I am still 21. :-)
Q: What is your top priority for Gyan Lab now? Which departments are you overlooking?
A: Right now the topmost priority is the Kidovators Challenge project. There are so many challenges like logistics, man power, timing, customer service etc. I am taking more than 100 calls every day just addressing the queries of parents, students and schools. We have to make sure that the logistics reach the school at the right time. And this is just the 1st Round.
Apart from this I am working on the Gyan Meter which is a project close to our heart. It is an evaluation system which will show the child’s progressive learning.
Q: How has the transition been from Manipal to Bangalore?
A: This is an interesting question. Manipal is a town which is 2 km in radius. Bangalore is humongous. It is expensive and the travel is a pain in the ass. Moreover it is my 1st metropolitan experience after Europe. I am sure I will be able to adjust to the city. Manipal has taught me a lot and it has provided me with the platform to think big! And as they say in Manipal: Inspired by Life.
It all began with a dream. A dream to revolutionize and funducate the education system. We all at Gyan Lab understand and have faced the problems laid down by this centuries old system. This forces us to work towards bringing a change in a difficult environment surrounding us. Priyadeep once acknowledged, “There is always resistance to change, it unsettles people”. It is surely true when I see the problems while working here at Gyan Lab.
“Brick walls are there for a reason. They let us prove how badly we want something. Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.”
I go back to the Last Lecture by Randy Pausch many times in my life. It is just so inspiring. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave--"Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams"--wasn't about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because "time is all you have...and you may find one day that you have less than you think").
We have stepped into 2014. We will struggle, fail and succeed. It is an endless cycle. But, what I would expect us to do is grow with every opportunity. We are a small organization right now and there are billion ways for everyone to do something big. In an official capacity, yes, you have to keep doing what your role ask you to do. On a personal level let us make some goals for ourselves. What is that life which is lived without any aim? What is that day which is not different?
We all are capable to go get jobs in big companies. Some of us have worked there and drawn big salaries. Then why work here? Why are you putting yourself through more pain and struggle? Because we all are thriving for something thrilling and exciting. What separates Gyan Lab is the opportunity to learn. Let us make change permanent in our life. :-)
Another year just flew past for all of us at Gyan Lab. It was only yesterday that we were contemplating on how to plan Gyan Lab’s expansion, till 2012 end all our work was confined to Manipal – Mangalore area in Karnataka and we were focused on having our presence in more locations. We knew what to do but we had no clue how!
This became our stepping stone in 2013. We made our gradual move from Manipal by taking up a place in January 2013 in Yelahanka New Town in far northern Bangalore. In hindsight, it was a stupid decision and cost us four months of extra rent but it atleast made us firm about the move to Bangalore. Come May, we found our perfect little office – neatly tucked in the quiet HSR Layout with nice gardens and wide free roads. Today, our office in Manipal is 20 days away from being permanently being closed and all core operations including R&D are taking place in the 2000 sq. ft. HSR Office. We had a bit of a run of bad luck when our towering Gyan Lab Board fell due to torrential winds. All in all, we were able to do what we had planned to – not in the smoothest manner but with some very serious learning.
While office was an easy task, we had to grow in other cities. We began the year by bagging a contract to work with Pearson Schools. It was a very exciting and challenging task for a company based in Manipal and having just three full-time people. We started planning our expansion. I travelled to various locations including Bangalore, Pune and Hyderabad to start knowing the schools we would be working with. It was extremely challenging at times especially keeping in mind that our funds were always short in supply. Come April, we also started working on a strategy to start operations further north of Pune with Kota being our first such centre of operations. Kota was a very wise choice for us given its importance as an education hub and dire need to change education from the monotonous coaching to a more holistic type. It was also much further away from us than we would have been comfortable, but we took the risk. And, all our efforts paid off. We started our operations in Bangalore, Pune and Hyderabad along with Pearson Schools with a bang. We made our presence deeper and stronger in Manipal and Mangalore. We also took up a presence in a school in rural areas of Kundapura and started our Kota centre with partnerships with St. Joseph Group of Schools and Resonance PCCP.
A third challenge for us at the beginning of the year was logistics. Till 2012, we were having our manufacturing done in India only. Now, we had a need to ramp us the overall quality of the product in order to stand firm ground against the competition. A lot of deep research and dialogues with over 50 manufacturers across countries such as China, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and USA led us to some of the best manufacturers and vendors in this space. In a span of a couple of months, we had a world class product at our disposal which needed to be tested and adjusted to be put up into use in context of Indian Education. We carried off this work beautifully with over 300 completely pictorial manuals prepared in a time span of the next three months which were exactly suited for kids in India. We mapped the curriculum to not only CCE but few other curriculums and curriculum standards from across the globe making the program truly world class. And, then we launched Kidovators Challenge across the Indian sub-continent with an intention to reward innovation among school kids. All this with a bare minimum team was something of a wonder and I am glad all of you had great roles to play in the same.
This brings me to the team. It was very challenging for us to find the right team. Yet, we never had to go out of way to find the people we needed, they always came to us which makes this organization a very special and well knit unit. Srishti and Umanath joined our team at the beginning of the year in administrative and academic capacities at the beginning of the year. I kept juggling between offices in Manipal and Bangalore while everyone else did what they could do best with Sonali completely managing the development work at the Manipal office. Later in the year, Ann joined us in Hyderabad, Ruchira joined us in Pune, and Vinuth joined in Bangalore office. We were also graced with Kriti's and Abhash's presence for Kidovators. We are a complete team and it makes me proud.
Those were our mega challenges in 2013. As we enter 2014, newer challenges are going to come our way. These will make the challenges of 2013 look like tiny dots, but we have to be ready to face them. I want all of us to grow – at a personal and professional level. Each one of us must be a better person today than we were yesterday. That is when the real growth is going to unfold.
Can we make better use of ourselves? Can we beat all odds? Can we be more focussed? We can be all of it given the right intent is there.
I would like to close this letter with a lesson I have adopted in my life and work, and would like you to do the same as well. This is a story by Prof. Sunil Handa of IIM Ahmedabad (if you do not who this person is, look up the internet). I am re-wording it to shorten it. At work, if you are asked to do something say calling up a prospective client. You call him but he does not receive the call. You come back to me and say it did not work out as he did not receive the call. Imagine another situation where your mother is seriously ill (I pray it never happens) and needs some medicine urgently and it is 11:30 PM. You go to a medical store and find it closed. What do you do? Do you come back saying the medicine cannot be availed at this hour? Or, do you go to another medical store? Then another? You find it all closed but do you stop there? You find the house of one of the med store guys and go and wake him up. Won’t you do this? Won’t you go to the world’s end if you had to for this? Then, why not for your work? Your work is your identity, it is who you are and what you do. If you willing to work as if your life depended on it, you will be very successful at Gyan Lab because you will be valued beyond any measure. If not, you will only be a fading memory to us. And, it is my job to ensure that never happens. And you know what is yours.
Let us make the year ahead full of positive memories, good health and an impactful start-up called Gyan Lab. HAPPY NEW YEAR 2014!!!
As a hardware start-up in the education space, life is much more difficult than one would imagine. But, we did not choose to work in this space because it would be easy. We chose this so that we can dent the current structure (education system) to a point where it would be redundant and eventually retired. Now, that is not at all an easy goal given that education system in India is very fragmented. While the whole volume to deal with is smaller in higher education, making regulations comparatively easier to put forward and manage (I am not saying it is easy, it is absolutely not), school education segment is way too humungous to manage. To put perspective to the volume being spoken of, there are 1.4 million (14 lakh) schools in India! It is highly unregulated and, as I said earlier, fragmented. A majority of these schools (close to 85% are Government schools and another 6 – 7% are Government-aided which leaves around 7% as Private.
Now, ADD-on-GYAN was started by a bunch of college kids who are not from affluent families, do not have family businesses or have no experience in running a business. But, we are all middle class kids with decent lifestyles, good education (as prescribed by society, I will touch upon this topic later in this blog) and mega aspirations. We were not rich but have had comfortable lives till the point of starting up. How were we to ever understand what the system needs, how should it change and what were the right steps to bring about that change? We started up with a small capital of Rs 1.5 lakh and in due course of time have invested and a sizeable amount of money into our plan of action for which we are grateful to the incubator, our parents and advisors. The big question back when we started up was what to do and now that has changed to how do we take our values and practices across the length and breadth of this country, where irrespective of the age, gender, economic conditions, a child is able to learn and grow with Gyan Lab.
Life would have been much easier, had we been invested in. But, given the nature of this industry and more bad stories than the good ones (no RedBus in this segment), there is quite low interest among investors. And you cannot really blame them. Traditionally, hardware-based auxiliary product and services companies in education sector need a lot of money and considerable time to actually start scaling up. While this trend can be disputed in words, we have not seen much action which disputes this trend. Hence, the total lack of interest. Moreover, if you are for-profit initiative and not explicitly working for BoP segment in education, you are disqualified as a social initiative which I feel is quite ridiculous. But, this is changing and I have proof. I was recently contacted by one of the larger Social Venture Capital firms who wanted to learn more about what Gyan Lab does and they truly believe that we are social irrespective of the fact that we are for-profit or not-for-profit.
At this point in this, we are at the most special place for the start-up than we have been before. Gyan Lab is functional in schools across four states, we have a retail model coming up, we have worked with close to 1000 underprivileged kids in the last few months and have launched a national level innovation challenge for school kids across 100+ cities. We are gaining momentum, the question is how to keep the momentum growing at an accelerated rate. It is hard to believe that we are just six people in the administrative department pulling off so many things in one go.
A question keeps roving around my head – how to be honest, service-oriented and customer-oriented in an industry which is ridiculously money-oriented. Can we do it? Will we survive if we do so? The answers are clouded and will only come forth as time progresses. But, we have a mandate to be honest, service and customer oriented. Many a times I feel our customers (parents and students) are gullible. They are unable to fight for how true education should be (a lion in a cage does not actually realize its power in the jungle). Sometimes, our partners/prospective-partners (schools/learning centres) are trying very hard to bring innovation to education but are unable to do so due to the heavy bureaucracy and administrative challenges. And, this entire ruckus is keeping some people happy - those who are taking advantage of this situation for personal benefits.
This is what helped us in drafting our grand plan. We will be HONEST and TRUE to our duties as educationists. We will not let money guide our path, we will be guided by MORALITY and indulge in providing the most fantastic SERVICES to students and schools. We will work towards EMPOWERING parents and make them realise the difference between being literate and educated so that their kids can grow up to become good human beings. We will be resisted, we will fail multiple times but every failure will take us one step ahead in our journey. I have already filled myself with a lifetime of inspiration for myself and our team. I always take pride in stating that I am not solving problems that only someone else is facing but problems that I have faced as well. Facing problems first-hand gives us a much wider and deeper perspective. Recently, you must have read an article in a business magazine about an educational services company being reduced to a fraction of its past glory. And, if I not wrong, you will hear more such stories in coming times. This industry is unforgiving to people who are here for the wrong reasons.
To you who is reading this post, I would sincerely request you to support us in any way that you deem fit because without your support we are nothing and would go nowhere close to doing what we have taken up as a task!
On the occasion of Children’s Day, Community Gyan Lab spent a day with underprivileged school-going kids from the slum areas around LR Nagar in Bangalore. Over hundred kids aged between eight and twelve years gathered at Sacred Heart Boys’ High School along with six volunteers from Global Concerns, an NGO based in Viveknagar. They were led commendably by Mrs. Brinda, Mrs. Zeena and Mrs. Maria.
Overall, it was a day of fun and learning for the kids as well for our folks from Community Gyan Lab. “The enthusiasm shown by the kids was very encouraging. But the image I’ll never forget is probably the expressions of delight on the kids’ faces when their models worked”, says Srishti Punja, Senior Manager at Gyan Lab. Indeed, the energy and excitement displayed by the kids raised the morale of our staff to new heights.
All in all, we gave away fifty kits that covered DIY activities for kids from third to seventh grades, including the spectacular ‘Make Your Own Volcano’ and informative ‘Electricity from Solar Energy’ kits. We also gave away a special gift – a DIY Remote Control Car and Battle Tank – to Global Concerns for being such an enterprising NGO. We also distributed juice and snacks among the kids as well as sponsored their travel as a moral obligation.
With events like these, Community Gyan Lab hopes to ignite the spark of curiosity in students of low-income schools which will drive towards excellence and enable them to do well for themselves as they progress through school.
I think we just need a tad bit of unstructured imagination to come up with the most amazing works of our lives. For the last ten years, I have dreamed of building an education empire which would make learning an experience that everyone would want and desire, not ridicule and detest. For the last three years, I have been working with a very talented bunch of people to make that dream a reality. We are indeed making fun-ducation a reality which is a really wonderful experience for an education company such as ours.
Today, I am happy to announce that we have launched the Gyan Lab Kidovators Challenge. As it is rightly said, every child is a genius. We, at Gyan Lab, also believe very firmly that every kid is an innovator. If you are a parent, you would remember all the praises that you had for your little kid with a glitter in your eyes about his/her walking style, weirdly intelligent questions, significant interest in everything in the surrounding and an attempt to try everything they possibly could see and understand. We are trying our level best to keep the innovator in your child absolutely intact so that you can always, always have that glitter.
As we grow, the system gets to us. It is not the schools fault, it is not the teachers’ fault, it is not the child’s fault, and it is not your fault. It is the system which is at fault and we cannot change it unless we work together making sure that its deep rooted nexus is uprooted right from the foundation.
Kidovators Challenge has been designed for and dedicated to the future champions of India. This is why the tagline runs as ‘The Challenge for Innovators of Tomorrow’. Kidovators Challenge is the most unique and interesting challenge for school kids till date. We have a written test based on topics such as Communication Skills, Quantitative Aptitude, Current Affairs and General Knowledge, and Mental Ability and Scientific Aptitude. So, we are not testing how well o they learn their subjects but how creative, innovative and imaginative are they in their though process. In the second round, it gets even better where you kids have to participate in a tech race involving optimization of resources, time and credits (that will be initially given to them). This is so exciting! It is almost like they are solving real life problems. And I have a belief that every kid is atleast 10 times as intelligent and innovative as adults which means that the final round will be a blaster.
This competition is going to be held across 60+ cities in India with over 5000+ schools participating. In case, your child's school in not participating, you can register directly at our website! At present, we are only taking payment by cheque and DD but within a few days online payment would very much possible as well.
We have attracted some of the best corporates as the sponsors at this mega-challenge including a couple of public sector organizations, few educational ventures and a number of quality media houses which would be soon added to our website. This is just a testimony that there is a lot of belief in our cause and it drives us to keep working hard and making sure that there is a true impact.
Another factor that will ensure a good time for everyone is our team. The core team comprises of people having prior experience in Goldman Sachs, IAESTE Austria, Infosys, Hero MotoCorp, BYJU and IndiaReads. With this kind of diversity, you know this team will deliver a super show. And, we are getting so much of love from so many people who are getting associated with us through the Kidovators City Ambassadors Program which just shows how committed these people are to bringing about this positive change in the education sector.
I hope you and your kids have a great time at the Gyan Lab Kidovators Challenge – you must remember every kid is an innovator. Here is the link to the challenge again – http://kidovators.gyanlab.com
Written by: Priyadeep (PD)
Founder and CEO of ADD-on-GYAN | Entrepreneur | Educator | Creator of Gyan Lab
I am taking a lot of effort after a long, long time to write this piece which is something we have been working on and testing for quite sometime – fun-ducation. My motivation to do so comes from the fact that I am seeing everyone give their 'expert opinion' on how best education can take place. Some of it would go on to become real disruptions and some of it real disturbance - whatever be the case. But one just cannot deny that there is this wave going on throughout the world as we all sense education to be the 'Next Big Thing'.
Who am I to speak on this? Not that I am an expert myself, but I know one thing for sure - the exact pain point of the consumer. I completed schooling in 2007 and under-grad studies in 2011. I think I have some perspective from the consumer side which is what really matters to me and the vision of Gyan Lab.
As a student, all I desired my education to be was something that was 'fun to do', something that 'I wanted to do'. I think to make a real impact this is more important than anything else. If I am enjoying my education for real, I would want to do it. And do it well. Once there is true desire, true education will take place. Instead of taking such a simple point through and implementing it, we made it a very, very complicated affair. You cannot only blame schools or policy makers for today's condition of education in the Indian subcontinent. Every single stake holder including parents are responsible for the same.
Just for the sake of an example, here is something that has become very common these days and some people can totally relate to this. You wanted a school for your child which you could boast of in front of your friends. Some people built such schools. You paid hefty donations (called admission fees, development fees, etc.) and massive fees and got your child enrolled to satisfy your ego. They gave you promises of some stuff like swimming, golf, tennis, horse-riding, etc. But, there comes a time when you feel the school is ripping you off and charging more money uselessly. So, there is no trust between you (as a parent) and the school. Sounds familiar? Then you are one of the 'urban modern rich folks' who have so much of collective value to change the way in which education takes place yet you believe in satisfying personal ego over everything else.
That is just one case. There are many more. You see hypocrisy everywhere in the education field. This added with the fact that it is massively fragmented makes it look one hell of a task to make actual dents possible. However, in the last three years that we have been working in the education field, we have seen real interests from school administrations, parents and educators to bring about the much talked about change. There is this huge wave of democratizing education taking place and we are really happy to be right in the middle of the action.
Bringing fun-ducation is not a very hard task to fulfil actually. It is only a matter of some solid brainstorming and, innate and accurate implementation. Our effort at Gyan Lab has been to make fun-ducation the mainstay of the learning process. It is really amazing as to what kids (especially in early and middle school) can do when given the full reign of their own learning process and pattern.
The first step to introduce fun-ducation is to involve kids in the decision making process for anything that concerns with them. As I have seen as a child and now, kids are treated to be naive, idiots and creatures who are not supposed to be involved in the decision making process about anything including themselves. This needs to change in order to make them responsible. There is also another side where parents just leave the kids to decide what they want without any discussion. This case is also a problem as free things have no value in our lives. Start off with basic responsibilities, keep making them more complex with time and definitely praise your kids for any job done well. This process must start as early as 5 years of age so that kids can feel responsible and be judicious. My parents always made sure that I was involved in the decision making process of my life and this made me responsible for whatever happened in my life including choosing to study mechanical engineering and starting-up right in college.
A very vital step is to ensure that nothing is taken for granted. I have had hundreds of parents coming to me for counselling for their kids saying that they do not value the hard-earned money and are very stubborn when asking for a lot of things. This is the first of lessons that a child must learn in life – nothing comes for free. I think this is a very sensitive issue and something that parents must take care of early in a child’s life. How about having a fair barter system? And, saying that you will gift your child an XBOX 360 for a 95% marks in an exam is not fair! And, it is not fair to you because you will not give such a deal to an outsider, will you? But saying that you will tip your child well if he/she helps you at the green grocer’s market is a good proposition. Letting them be entrepreneurs in their own rights is also a great way (say garage sales) to help your kids understand value of everything.
It is at this points, after getting used to the above two points can we introduce them to fun-ducation. Fun-ducation will ensure that while they have fun learning, they understand the cost of education and make the most of it. They also seriously start thinking of their life and career (their favourite career may change every six months but atleast they are giving enough thought to it should please any parent). If they alternate modes of education that are being tried to be introduced to kids are introduced without preparing them, then the education does not happen and the whole activity just is pure fun. This is definitely not our intention, nor of any other organization working in this direction.
The change is inevitable but it can definitely be accelerated, and it needs to be accelerated. We do want Fun-ducation to become the successor of the moribund and archaic Education in India. Do you?
And, here is the most important one for us:
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
- Albert Einstein