Project DEFY (Design Education for Yourself) is a school without teachers, at village Banjarapalya, on the outskirts of Bengaluru. The school is based on the cooperative learning or pier to pier learning model, where students learn by interacting themselves and online training. The main element is the education reform happening at the grass root level.
In our country there had always been a shortage of efficient teachers due to the high student ratio. Also, the subjects which are required to be studied at different levels are lesser interesting for many students.
This model is now becoming popular in the Bengaluru area and is expanding exponentially. Abhijit Sinha founder of this organization have a different view on what education means. He said “Traditional academia is top down, where you are taught what someone else thinks you should learn. True education is where the person goes out and teaches himself the things he or she really wants to learn, where they take responsibility for their own education and have fun with it. These kids love learning in this space and hate going to school, a fact that has put the local headmaster’s nose out of joint.”
Mr. Sinha is just 24 and he achieved a break-through in imparting the education to the rural children by his innovative step. Despite being an Engineering Graduate the real knowledge he himself gathered from MOOCs (Massive open online courses) and other such platforms. This instinct led him to the formation of Project DEFY.
How does it work?
First the students are set free to take up any project in any stream they like to pursue. These students then watch videos online understanding the different aspect of making the project and then they create the models by the available resources in their vicinity. These videos and projects are uploaded for mass. It is really amazing to see the creativity of the younger ones.
This was started as a pilot project after 1.5 years of experimentation it has gained a great momentum. People from every stream be it intellectuals from MIT or the common Bengaluru people are supporting the task.
Some work by students of Project DEFY students:
Kushal, Centre manager of Banjarapalya who is also a student there, took out battery cells and in less than a day, with his brilliant self-learned concepts in electronics and soldering skills, he came up with this power bank for charging mobile phones.
A nine-year-old boy who had never coded before he entered this space, created a game on Scratch, a programming language; other ‘projects’ included an aquaponics system, as well as a toy boat that measured pollution in a lake.
The Logical Indian Team congratulates such endeavor in Education Transformation. Wishing all the luck and success to team Project DEFY so that they may achieve the required support. This motivates youth of the country to give our bit in enhancing the quality of education which is the demand of hour.
Even at 76, Pradip Burman, the zestful chairman of Mobius Foundation radiates a contagious enthusiasm when he is talking about sustainability. The environmental crusader, better known to many as the great-grandson of Dabur founder Dr S.K.Burman, has devoted substantial attention towards promoting the concept of sustainability in all aspects of life. He refuses to conform to the convenience and comfort in today’s world which ultimately adds on to the adverse effects of climate change.
Talking to The Logical Indian, Burman emphasised why sustainability as a concept is indispensable for us. “We ought to be aware of what lies ahead of us. Soon we will finish the oil, iron, tin, and coal, and our next generations will be left with nothing. Recycling, banning plastics, stop felling trees for paper… This should become a part of everyone’s lifestyle,” he urges.
Traditional wisdom and modern research
A mechanical engineer from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, Burman had always nurtured a keen interest in helping the society, as evident from his graduation project of designing a sonic aid for the visually challenged, which detected obstacles in the way using ultrasonic wave signals.
As an executive for the nature-centric company Dabur, Burman has always opted for natural alternatives to solve his everyday problems like taking Ayurvedic medicine to cure his Arthritis. He later launched the veterinary wing for Dabur – Ayurvet – which provides nature-friendly solutions for animal health care.
A patron of the ancient scientific wisdom of India, Burman always hailed the confluence of “traditional knowledge and modern research”, which he advocated as the Ayurvet motto.
As part of the CSR initiative of Dabur, Pradip Burman founded SUNDESH (Sustainable Development Society) which has been tirelessly working for last 25 years in remote villages for uplifting the rural communities in an environmentally sustainable way.
An advocate of sustainability
Burman believes that sustainability is the indispensable mantra for the world at present. Due to uncontrolled utilisation of the planet’s resources by human beings, the world today stands at a juncture of destabilisation. Today the human race has reached the pinnacle of progress but the advancement is happening in a very unsustainable manner.
Through energy-efficient use of everyday essentials like transport, communication, altered habits of diet, clothing and daily living, some crusaders of sustainability try to reduce their carbon footprint. Pradip Burman’s Mobius Foundation is one of the forerunners toward sustainability goals.
Mobius Foundation aims to change the sustainability dynamics
In 2015, Burman paved the way for the start of Mobius Foundation, focused on sustainability. Named after 18th-century German mathematician August Ferdinand Mobius, the famous Mobius strip has an important philosophical significance. The extraordinary shape symbolises balance and union.
Similar is the essence of Mobius Foundation which wishes to enhance the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” principle to a widespread basis in India, helping generations to come.
Founder Pradip Burman wishes to achieve notable development in education, population stabilisation and renewable energy projects.
A dream school in the making
At Coorg, Pradip Burman’s Mobius Foundation is constructing the World Environment School, Coorg (WESc) where the curriculum will surpass the boundaries of books and classrooms, with a special focus on hands-on learning in close collaboration with the environment. Amidst the pristine natural beauty of Coorg, the school will nurture young minds to grow up into future green leaders. As of now, the school will be open to teenagers, welcoming students from standards 6 to 12.
Needless to say, World Environment School will be the first-of-its-kind not only in India but also in entire South Asia. The school is expected to start from March 2020.
The school promises to nurture the responsible behaviour of citizens of our future.
The Sustainability Conference of 2019
In 2019, the Mobius Foundation has planned an international conference, on the lines of the celebrated earth summits over the past decade. The 2019 International Conference on Sustainability Education (ICSE 2019) aims to bring together environmental activists, practitioners of sustainable development as well as climate change experts to help develop a sustainability-focused curriculum.
It is surmised that the conference will give a platform to innovative concepts of Sustainability Education including an essential change in the existing education system ensuring a wholesome personal development for a student.
The Sustainability crusader
The Mobius founder strongly believes that it is high time to sprout sustainability awareness among a society drowning in consumerism and unknowingly doing irreparable harm to the planet, every second. The best way to achieve this goal is through education which is available to all. At present, the education system is predominantly career-oriented, making the learners a victim of materialism, and thus, their dreams are also outlined in those colours.
Living beyond the limits
When asked about his wish to attain the age of hundred, he strongly asserts that more than becoming a centurion, he wishes his life and work continue to better the society even in his absence. “I have lived my life. I wish that whatever I start before I go, will continue – for the betterment of my country,” says Mr Pradip Burman.
He is also a trustee of the Climate Reality Project – India (affiliated to Mr. Al Gore of the Climate Reality Project Foundation, USA). Climate Reality Project, India, has been actively engaged igniting the spark and spreading the message of climate change amongst educators, policy makers and civil society. The India branch looks after more than 500 trained Climate Leaders, and more than 900 volunteers spread all over the country.
In his journey, Pradip Burman has been a beacon of hope for millions, motivating many to join the movement for sustainability. We wish he continues his tireless efforts for promoting sustainability awareness and inspire generations to come.