Present day education in India has more of a status symbol than anything else. If I am a graduate of the coveted IITs or IIMs, I am considered to be the best in my league, whether I am actually good or bad is absolutely out of contention. The fact that someone would be able to get into a coveted institute solidifies the fact that he or she is a great student or learner. How does it ever symbolize that he or she would be a great manager or worker or person?
Education has become a branding play. Even the school market has not been left alone in this play. The fact that I did my schooling at some of the Top 100 schools in India (what makes these ranking even legitimate is beyond my comprehension) raises many eyebrows and makes people think I would definitely be a superstar in my life. Again, how do people draw such ridiculous summaries is beyond me.
All this made me think hard and I wanted to give my meaning of ‘education’. To be precise, I want to focus on school education when I speak about education – primarily because, in my opinion, whatever we learn till Grade 10 in school carries a long way in life. Most concepts that we learn in school are applied in our real life, knowingly or unknowingly, and if you are a grade 12 passed person, you know enough to live a happy and comfortable life.
When I see school kids today, I initially feel a little jealous; they are born with flair in technology. They have means of education which was unthinkable when I was in school. Also, they have the most powerful tool in education – internet all around them! Yet, I have a doubt that these tools would be of much benefit to them.
My thoughts wander around the fact that even at this pace of development, marks and scores remain the major crux of education today. What this essentially does is that it makes people believe that if their kids are scoring well in school, they would surely excel in life. Such a hollow promise!
I believe that along with cognitive skills (which is all we bother about), schooling must emphasize on non-cognitive skills as well. What I mean is that emotional values must also be carefully induced in kids instead of blatantly focusing on marks. Having some personal experience in seeing kids suffer without empathy, I am hurt by the way in which we deal with kids.
I had a good friend in school who would never score well (never more than 60% in science topics) and his father would always be worried which would culminate into a nice thrashing for him. But he was more than just marks – the boy was a genius in calculations and management without any formal training. And when he was put in the commerce stream, which his parents reluctantly did, it was the wisest decision they could take. Today, my buddy is a CA – cleared in the 1st attempt!
At Gyan Lab, I came in contact with a boy with the kindest heart and clearest mind – but he was too poor and forgetful in his school lessons. I saw him in school on a number of occasions either being scolded by his teachers, parents and thwarted by his classmates. Yet, at Gyan Lab, he would do wonders and ask questions that had the ability to even embarrass me (I created Gyan Lab in the 1st place!).
I believe that kids must be given the freedom to take up courses that they enjoy – be it arts, humanities, sciences or commercial studies.
I love the movie ‘Tare Zameen Par’, not because the child was differently able and he did well, but because someone took the responsibility of honing him in a different way and showing people close to him values that they would have never discovered in the child.
Let us all take the mantle up to ensure that every kid is able to get ways to learn and enjoy that he or she is comfortable in. Let us give them measured doses of cognitive and non-cognitive learning (not a overdose of examination) and let them learn in conditions devoid of stress and pain.
We adults find it difficult to cope up with pressure in life, how have these kids wronged us that we put the entire world’s stress and pressure on their little shoulders.
Such thoughts always remind me of a statement by Nobel Laureate Albert Eintein, “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."
Please let us not do so to kids, let us not over-burden them beyond a limit from where there is no return.
Written by: Priyadeep Sinha (CEO & Co-Founder of ADD-on-GYAN; Creator of Gyan Lab; Entrepreneur in Making; Mech engineer by education only; Makes and builds school experiments for a living)
I still remember that online ADD-on-GYAN form that I stumbled upon while I was aimlessly surfing the internet. Start-up in those days (which seem a thing of the past now) was an unexplored and frightening territory for me. I had read about the pros and cons of it but stepping inside the pool of entrepreneurship looked far less inviting.
With much trepidation and lot of homework on ADD-on-GYAN, I filled out the form and waited patiently for my interview call. The interview held in a small conference room in the ground floor of Innovation Centre went well and there I was, a small part of the first start-up of Manipal University. I was an acquaintance with Priyadeep Sinha, the CEO of ADD-on-GYAN and I was aware of his laurels which made the desire to perform even more strong.
AOGES in those days was still expanding and much of the work remained cluttered and untested for. I still remember those meeting in the hostel rooms, the Plan Bs for emergencies and the hurried discussions about the new products. The obstacles were immense and things fell out of the way too soon, but amidst all the chaos the desire to excel was and is still not lost. Those pilot models in Madhav Kripa on Saturday mornings may have taken a chunk of my attendance but it has taught me lessons which won’t be there in any classroom. The constant iterations and the endless mending of faults only seemed to make the resolve to make a constructive change even more firm.
Today, ADD-on-GYAN is expanding rapidly in leaps and bounds. A plush and new office in the Innovation Centre, huge increase in client base and a rapid growth, all seem to indicate that it is here to stay. The work has become organized and the start-up has come out of its embryo. Recognition are coming in fast and plenty and I am sure many more are on its way.
As I see the transformation over a period of a year in front of me, a sense of satisfaction creeps over me. This satisfaction is partly because of the sense of pride in being a part of the start-up and more because of giving me a chance to make a difference to the society.
Thank you AOGES for all that you have taught me!
Written by Rajarshi Saha (Technical Team Member, ADD-on-GYAN). Raj has completed over a year at ADD-on-GYAN observing, reflecting and working on all the changes that the company has been through. His experience in a year is what he writes in this post.
The Newer Dynamic Logo
“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. “– E.B. White
And I rose one morning and decided to be the part of AOGES, Adding the much needed GYAN to the lives of kids. Our dream was clear but the path was less taken by.
As I stroll back in time, I see so many fallen leaves, so many footprints that left their impression and so many things that have changed. AOGES is growing every day like a kid. I still remember those days when a group of 20 like-minded, confused and scared people held several meetings in the college mess. There was no other place to go! Discussing new ideas, evaluating work, making new policies all on those four or five tables joined together surrounded by a bunch of college students who had just one question deep inside their hearts, will this work?
Our workstation was a small cubicle where planning and execution was put into effect. Adjusting your schedule, working endlessly, standing for hours at a Xerox shop to get outstation letters printed, early morning wake up calls for work on Sundays, hostel rooms filled with inventory, rushing for placing orders, buying material, pheww! AOGES has shown us from real hectic to tensed days. Work has never been boring. Some believed, some left, some are still toiling hard to make it work.
And today, after almost a year and a half, we have a nice decent office space where morning starts at 7 and the day ends at 8. The entire day is the same old routine with hustle, bustle everywhere. Things keep moving faster, faster and faster with every passing day and you keep falling behind your schedule trying to catch up.
There has not been a single day when I left office without learning something new. AOGES has taught me that there is no substitute for hard work. I LEARNED THE VALUE OF HARD WORK!
As they say ‘No one has ever drowned in sweat.’
Written by: Sonali Gupta (Vice-President of ADD-on-GYAN and a student entrepreneur today, studying in 3rd Year of Computer Science Engg., Daft and Quick in Execution, Top Notch Thinker)