Archive for the 'india' Category

Are we raising a generation of literate fools?

Every day I meet students I come face to face with the sinister power of today’s education system.

Children who are taught to weigh their worth in the marks/grades they get in exams.

Children who learn very quickly they have to obey so as to not get into trouble with the system.

Children who learn that there is a single right answer to questions.

Children who feel that they learning means mugging up content.

Children who learn to keep math, science, language, art, music, sports as separate silos in their head.

Children who don’t understand what it means to master language, music, art or math.

This is the reality of the literate India that we are raising with a lot of hard work.

This is how all the schools are right? How does this make them fools?

It makes them fools because it does not push them hard enough. It does not respect or work on developing their potential, it does not set high expectations of him.

Imagine working with a sports coach who teaches you tips and tricks to complete your practice session but does not really make you a better athlete or work on your strengths or pushes you to dream big? You wouldn’t send your child to such a sports coach right? Then why choose a school for your child that treats education and learning as a short-term game?

This increases my resolve to work towards reimagining how learning should be for our children every day.

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Too small an order…

…a refrain I’ve heard so often that I’m beginning to wonder whether I’m thinking too small or it is just a sales gimmick in India? It seems to be everywhere if you are the one trying to manufacture or make something- electronic toys, wooden toys, cardboard boxes, plastic games or toys. No one seems to be interested in creating a proof with you to move you to the next level, everyone wants the straight cut 10k piece order. The ones who are willing to do cut lots of corners on quality!

Is our manufacturing sector so bottom line stingy that it does not take ANY risks? How will we create a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship on such an ecosystem and mindset?

Less Ad(d) More News

Recently, as I was flipping through channels, I came across a Kannada channel where there was news highlights going on and on the left hand side there was a large photo of Akshay Kumar taking almost 40% of the space. For a moment I was confused whether the news was about him. When I looked closer, I realized it was an Ad within the news flashlights.

We continue to sink to new lows day in and day out….

A new journey – Sparkling Mindz

It’s been a while since I posted out here…life has been hectic, life has been venturesome!

About a year ago, an idea struck me that simply summed up as –  the only thing that can make you stand out in the crowd is how you think, learning to think should be taught at a much younger age than it is taught today and that, it should be fun while you are at it! So, I started Sparkling Mindz along with a group of like-minded individuals, who have been a pillar of support in the growth of this organization.

You may be wondering what Sparkling Mindz is? It is an after school program that provides children an opportunity to grasp thinking skills in a fun way!

It is exciting to see the children’s eyes light up they feel empowered to think, generate ideas and then apply it in their day-to-day lives! They learn to transform into confident, thinking individuals…

You can read more about the programs and about us on our website www.sparklingmindz.in and view pictures from the workshop at our facebook page. Do help by spreading the word and becoming a fan on our facebook page!

More on the journey soon….but do write in with your thoughts and comments. Most importantly, help us reach out as far and wide as possible by spreading the word around to those who can benefit and help us make an impact on millions of lives.

Mega Mart Shopping Bag!

I was typing something furiously away at my computer and looked away for a second when my eyes fell on this Mega Mart shopping bag. It read “Women, Men, Kids, Youth, Accessories, Footwear, Luggage, Home”. All in the same breath. All in the same color. All in the same font! I can’t stop smiling…coz a thought had struck…

What if…? Could we…? Someday…? go to a mart to buy – Women, Men, Kids, Youth and a Home – made to order? Really? Is it possible? Is it far away? Is it close enough? Are we headed that way?

What do you think?

IIT heads complain of plunge in quality

Today I read a news article in Times of India titled, “IIT heads echo NRN on plunge in quality”. The whole article goes on to talk about how the seats in IITs today are getting filled by students who are fatigued by years of coaching and in the larger scheme of things, don’t even want to be an engineer. It is sad state of affairs, indeed. But to hear the heads of the institutes complain, instead of do something about it, is sadder. This could have been easily seen coming and here are some thoughts of mine

1. If you set up an exam that is hard to achieve and pass through and prevent people with interest from joining unless they can showcase aptitude 2x the current level of education system. This kind of ‘fatigue’ is bound to happen. We, as Indians, are proud to pass through tests that are seemingly insurmountable and that give you a certain kind of ‘elitist’ status over others! Take the civil services, for example. Most people taking the exam don’t even know what they will be doing post the selection! It is the same with students who are getting coached to get into IITs (and to a large extent the CAT fever too! – they are being taught how to beat the system!!!) – while it will take you across the threshold, it will not get you inspired and motivated to become an excellent engineer or an excellent manager (or a good anything)

2. Next, what have the IITs themselves done to inspire the students joining to wake up out of fatigue and create interest? Is there an emphasis on innovation, creativity or even applying the skills being learnt beyond the basics? If so, where is it being showcased? It is a chicken and egg story and only if you focus on inspiring students will they get inspired and motivated – the other way round is an ideal dream, but can you make it a reality by just cribbing about it?

3. Now, lets look at the industry. These children who join the IITs are very smart and the smartness flows to where they money is. If money is in engineering, they will continue being engineers, if it is in pharma/FMCG/ITES companies, they will get trained to become sales people for Pharma/FMCG/consultants, as the requirement might be. Look at it from their point of view and the society’s point of view, if you are the best of brains and you are not earning the best of salaries, you are a loser! There is no premium on thinking, being different, being unique or standing up for what you are passionate about (let alone sometimes even figure out what is it that you are really passionate about!) and then what about the self-fulfilling prophecy of these large institutes that the most successful people come from there?

4. That brings us to the story of change. What should change to make this better? The mantra is – Innovation and Creativity to create a “thinking generation” of students! The institutes needs to innovate at a much faster rate and create a new form of entry criteria, a new way of working with the corporate world, a new wave of innovation from their labs and that will create enough inspiration and motivation even in the most fatigued or uninterested child to beat and excel the system (where the system is aligned and focused in the right direction)

The seeds of change lie in you, if you are unwilling to lay them in the ground, don’t fret over lousy results!!!

PS: On second thoughts, whatever has been written above is a law of averages and I’ve seen enough inspired, motivated and self-aware IITians over my work life to be impressed by their smartness, hard work, dedication and motivation. So, please don’t take this as a personal note on anyone. I’m just responding to the system’s response on its own intake quality!

Designing better road signs for Bangalore

The more I drive around Bangalore roads, the more amused I get as to what the road authority choose to write on road signs.

1. From afar I can’t make out the difference between a “no free left turn” and “no left turn” – seriously!

2. The city internal directions are marked as if they were highways. When I’m on hebbal flyover, one of the exit signs reads – “Whitefield, Hosur Road and MG Road” (whereas, all I want to know is which exit to take to get to outer ring road vs. ending up on Bellary Road or the New Airport Road)

3. If you are on Sankey Road and trying to figure out which direction to go to get to Mekhri circle – hard luck! The road signs tell you only how to get to Vidhan Souda – no, seriously!

4. If you are on the outer ring road, there are a few signals you can’t make a right at, at certain times of the day & night. It is written in 6 point font and is readable only with a microscope.

5. There are one ways where the symbol is placed at the entrance of the one way rather that at the signal before where you make a turn into the road – you are supposed to know before hand, even if you are not from the area that the road is a one way (not to mention roads where it is not mentioned at all). I had a traffic policeman glaring at me when I stopped short of going the wrong way once but ended up confusing the traffic behind me – simply because I saw the sign only when I started to turn the wrong way!

It is a pet peeve of mine and I can go on and on. Do you have any such interesting anecdotes to share about Bangalore and its road signs? Please do, eager to hear from you!

It is a pet peeve of mine, given that I’m really bad with directions (and being forced to get better at it, with the confusing directions and symbols)


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