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Disruptive innovators and design thinkers

Disruptive innovators and design thinkers

New Delhi, Nov 26 : India will not have jobs in the numbers we need, says Vineet Nayar, stressing on the need to educate children the skills of an entrepreneur starting at an early age.
"I'm convinced that India is not going to have jobs for our children in the numbers we need. So we need people who can create their own jobs," said Nayar, former Chief Executive Officer of HCL Technologies and founder of Sampark Foundation which aims at providing "transformative learning through frugal innovation in government schools" in rural India and improving learning outcome.

The foundation with the involvement of state governments provides Sampark Smart Shala (SSS) program under which a school is given a rechargeable audio device, 3-D TLMS, board games, multimedia workbooks, and Sampark mobile app to help children learn Maths and English. It also provides training to teachers to help them deliver lessons in the classroom using innovative tools. "We see ourselves as disruptive innovators and design thinkers who can create large scale social changes," says Nayar.

SSS has reached 76,000 rural schools and touches the lives of 70 lakh children in the six states -- Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana -- along with 2,00,000 teachers.

The foundation will soon roll out a program to teach children entrepreneurship.

"We are now thinking of a program to teach our children to build stuff from nothing. It is called the 'Beyond school program'. Once they understand building stuff than their mental skills will be developed to think outside the box. And if we can help them think outside the box than they will be entrepreneurs," Nayar, who has written the book "Employees First Customer Second", tells IANSlife.

The organization recently released the impact report 2018-19 which shows a noticeable increase in the percentage of children who answered grade level questions in Maths and English in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Haryana. In Chattisgarh, there was a 39 percent year-on-year growth, Jharkhand 36 percent and Haryana 47 percent.

But reaching and impacting so many lives is not a very easy task. Underlining the three major challenges, Nayar shares "The first is when the state government changes from one party to another. The second government which comes in has to be convinced all over again. So you go through the cycle of convincing all over again.

"The second big challenge is working in rural India -- it is a very difficult place to live and work. Therefore, to find passionate people who are willing to not talk about the problem but actually roll up the sleeves and work to conquer in the rural sector is very difficult. So it's a systematic process of changing mindsets and beginning of the excitement. And this is something that has not been attempted in any other environment. There's no toilets, their disinterested teachers and when people ask how will you solve the problem? Solving the unsolved problem is what we're focused on.

"The third challenge is innovation. Innovation is a constant process, it's not what you innovated in the past. So we use artificial intelligence, data analytics, a lot of technology tools to come up with new innovations. We have to come up with disruptive innovative ideas every year and for that you need people. You need thinkers who think differently, you will need risk-takers, you need young people who are willing to go beyond the obvious. Fortunately, we've been able to overcome all three of them," shares Nayar.

The whole program costs less than USD1 per child per and is the lowest cost intervention in education across the world and that makes a massive difference, notes Nayar.

The organization plans to take the SSS program in two more states and touch the lives of 2 crore children, and also include science as a subject.(Puja Gupta can be contacted at puja.g@ians.in)

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Disruptive innovators and design thinkers

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