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Changing The Way Of Learning In India – Curiositi: Exclusive Interview

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‘Curiositi' is an initiative to build a generation of curious minds. Observing the lack of imagination and practical learning in the current education system, ‘Curiositi' was established to change the way children learn in India. The following is an exclusive interview with the founders of 'Curiositi' - Manoj Thandessary and Vinod Abraham.

Changing The Way Of Learning In India – Curiositi

1. Where is the education system in India heading?
The current Indian education system is inclined towards theoretical learning and exams. Though the Government has been promoting Activity Based Learning (ABL) in The National Curriculum Framework (NCF 2005) guidelines that schools aim to follow, not much has changed in the education system. The core classroom experience is still very rigid and boring. Education is synonyms with exams, homework, tuitions, extra classes and marks. Thus, the students fear it rather than being fond of it. The elements of fun, learning, growing and experimenting are absent in the present system. But the Indian Education system has started experimenting now. It is expected to evolve in the coming years.

2. What are the major changes that can be brought in the Indian education system?
An Education system's primary aim should be to infuse love towards learning in students. There is a lot of room for improvement and growth in the current education system in India. It's essential to increase the involvement of students and get fun back to education. Including activities, role plays, games and challenges as a part of teaching process will definitely help in enhancing the core classroom experience. The theoretical education in India can be supplemented with practical activities that will help the students understand the concepts and not just memorise them under exam pressure.

3. What is the need for innovation in education?
Education should evolve with time and need. If it doesn't evolve, it won't be relevant. Learning about things that can't be put to use in life will create a lifeless education system. Thus, it's necessary to keep on experimenting and innovating with education. Restricting a set pattern of learning encourages limitations.

Moreover, innovating in education fulfils the basic purpose of education- to create love towards leaning. Students develop an interest towards academics only when studies are interesting, fun and challenging.

Changing The Way Of Learning In India – Curiositi

4. Practical Education over Theoretical Education. What are its benefits?
Students who practice what they're learning in a hands-on environment can retain three and half times as much as opposed to just sitting in a lecture room and listening intently. This is the best way to teach kinesthetic learners, who learn best by example. It is often hard to properly understand something you have never directly seen or experienced. Hands on learning helps connect abstract concepts to the real world while achieving desired educational outcomes. Practical education encourages the students to think, interpret the topic on their own and reduces the pressure to absorb things and memorise. Above all, it creates love towards learning that stays with the students for their life and not just for the purpose of exams. When asked o review the Curiositi kits and its effect on student's academics, 92 % teachers reported an increased interest in studies and improve in grades.

5. Education for life and not just for exams. Is it possible to implement this in today's scenario? What are the steps to be taken to make such a system function in our country?
This is the best time to implement the philosophy, "Education for life and not just exams". Unique and innovative career options are accepted and encouraged today. Thus it's a good time to create an education system that will help cater to these unique and innovative careers and not just traditional career options. Education should essentially give an open mind and impart confidence in students to approach any subject/ career/ field of their choice. A strong educational base can create bright minds that will succeed in all facets of life.

Changing The Way Of Learning In India – Curiositi

6. Teaching Science without labs. This is in contrast to your "Need for innovation in education: Practical education over theoretical". How do you justify this?
"Teaching Science without Labs" concept is relevant for schools that cannot afford the infrastructure required for labs. The Curiositi kits contain small samples and tools that can help the children perform science experiments without labs. The Curiositi kits are completely based on hands on learning (learning by doing) and are a good substitute to science labs at under resourced schools.

7. Activity based Syllabus Boxes and Educational Toys Industry, two new concepts. Give us a brief introduction.
Activity based syllabus kits are a great way to give practical experience to children and bring fun back to education. Children often lose interest in academics after studies get technical and boring. They start memorising concepts and tend to ignore the understanding, logic and relevance behind the concept. Syllabus based Activity kits help them understand the concept from its core and help them create interest in the respective subject.

8. What can parents do to play an active role in their child's education?
Parents should firstly understand that education is beyond homework, exams, tuitions, submissions and grades. Their attitude towards studies influences the child's interest and participation in academics to a large extent. Thus, they should emphasis on the quality of educational experience that their child is getting.

Parents bonding with children over studies help children to develop an interest in academics and also boost their confidence. At times children fear studies and school, knowing that their parents are there to support them helps them get rid of this fear. Besides this, it also strengthens the Parent child bond. Encouraging the child in the right manner can affect his/her progress tremendously.

With an objective to make academics fun and help parents bond over studies, Curiositi has entered the consumer market. This was a natural evolution for us as parents, educators, and children started demanding direct access to our activity kits at home. Children can directly order Curiositi kits online and do the activities at home with their parents. This is a great way for parents to bond with their child and spend some quality time. Since the Consumer line has started, 500 parents have ordered the Curiositi kits. We have received an amazing response for this initiative.

About Curiositi:
‘Curiositi' is an initiative to build a generation of curious minds. Observing the lack of imagination and practical learning in the current education system, ‘Curiositi' was established to change the way children learn in India. Curiositi offers World's first syllabus based Activity kits. The activity kits are designed after studying the school syllabus and understanding the message that should be taught through them. Every month three activities that are integrated with what the children are learning at school are delivered home. Slowly but surely, Curiositi has started changing the way kids learn in India. Till date, Curiositi has reached 20,000 kids. As a natural evolution and with many parents and educators demanding a direct access to the activity kits, Curiositi is now evolving its business from a school-centric model to add a consumer model, where kids could receive activity kits directly every month.

About Manoj Thandessary:
A strong desire to change the face of education in India made Manoj Thandassery establish Curiositi with Vinod Abraham. He realised that the current education pattern prepared kids just for exams; there was no tangible take away from this education system. With an objective to bring fun back to learning and bridging the gap between education and application, he initiated a movement of practical learning through Curiositi.

About Vinod Abraham:
Vinod always wanted to do something which would have a social impact. His vision is to make education come alive in the young minds of India and to evoke the characteristic of Curiositi in every child. Realizing the importance of evoking the basic human characteristic of curiosity in young impressionable minds, Vinod Abraham with Manoj Thandassery founded Curiositi in July, 2013. This led him to envision a transformation of core classroom experience across the country.

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