Many years ago, I was traveling to my hometown, Sasaram in Purushottam Express. As a habit, when I was nearing Sasaram, I went near the gate and started seeing outside. I never knew some of the young co passengers were watching me. One out of them came forward and asked, “Uncle, What are looking for?” ” Every time I pass through this area, I expect a change in the overall view- some prosperity, some factories, some other constructions going on. But I never find any.”
Those were the students from XLRI, Jamshedpur. Once I came to know I asked, ” Can’t you take the rural issues in your management project?” They kept mum.
I have found my dream getting materialized. Many highly educated young men and women are trying to go away from the traditional route and doing some unique things for the society.
Have you heard of Educational Initiatives’ ASSET, Pratham, iDiscoveries, AID India, Eklavya, and Uttarakhand Seva Nidhi (USN)? Educational Initiatives’ ASSET is a set of diagnostic tests developed to probe how for schoolchildren are learning concepts rather than just parroting them. Pratham focuses on improving learning outcomes in government schools. iDiscoveries is an innovative teachers training programme. AID India carries out science teaching and primary school programmes in Tamil Nadu. USN has developed environment as an examinable subject on the mainstream curriculum. And there must be many more that I am not aware of.
And who are people manning these organization? Sridhar Rajagopalan, an IIM-Ahmedabad alumnus and former IBM Tata with two others are behind Educational Initiatives, and running it as a profitable business. Aditya Natraj, an MBA from the world famous French management school, INSEAD and a chartered accountant with seven years experience is working for Pratham. Himanshu Joshi an IIM-graduate and an employee of Glaxo SmithKline has joined iDiscoveries. Balaji Sampath, an IIT graduate with a doctorate in electrical engineering from US runs AID India. And hardware engineer Chandra Anil, software engineer Smita Kalyani, and Ravi Shankar an ex-IITian with a doctorate in computer and electronic engineering are with Sampath. IIT and MIT-trained engineer Lalit Pande has started USN. The list of the new category of social soldiers would have been much bigger, if I had known about them,
All the institutions mentioned above are working to improve the quality of education and teaching, and making it more useful to the society. All the persons named are highly educated and dedicated in the service of the society they belong to.
I only wish many more join them, if not full time at least by their moral and financial support with smaller goals. I wish, some 1,00,000 Indian engineers and other professionals (including IITians) that are working abroad and are well off form a group that ensure that no one of the kids of India will go without education because of the paucity of finance from the family. Each one can take care of a primary school in any part of India and the quality of education that its teachers impart.