Laying the foundation: Education for innovation


Laying the foundation:  Education for innovation


Large scale reforms are currently being tried in the educational sector.  Despite the current decade being a ‘decade of innovation’, nothing much seems to be happening to rethink the school curriculum to make it more conducive for promotion of creative and innovative minds. The awards recently announced by NIF under IGNITE ’10 demonstrate enormous potential for making innovative thinking as the fulcrum of entire educational process.  Last week, I shared the innovations by students upto class 10.  Let me share now the innovations recognized by Honey Bee Network from the students in class 11 & 12.


These ideas also reveal the way young minds are thinking about societal needs and personal preferences.  Shruti Tyagi, class 11 from DAV School, Jalandhar, Punjab conceived a wall mounted calendar with a reminder facility so that nobody gets late for the meetings or other important engagements.  She also suggested a push button based stand for two wheelers and a voice activated remote control for television or other appliances.    Masha Nazeem, class 12, Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu has designed a mechanical porter for lifting heavy objects and transporting them on a kitchen shelf, car boot or a bus etc.   Ashok Aasrani, class 12, Jaipur, Rajasthan had observed several problems with the existing physiotherapy devices.  He designed low cost exercising devices, some of which have been installed in the physiotherapy centres getting a very positive feedback.


Parth Vaidya, class 12, Indore, Madhya Preadesh is another young innovator who not only developed a waste disposal system but also persuaded municipal corporation in his city to install the same in the new residential colonies.  Some private sector large companies are also reported to have installed similar systems.  While it speaks a lot about Parth’s creativity, it also says something about the responsiveness of formal system which has boosted the confidence of a young innovator.


Hetal Vaishnav, class 12, Rajkot, Gujarat started inventing new things right from class 7.  She had made a particle board from cotton stalk. This time, she has developed a composite material from multilayer plastic waste.   She had observed some rag pickers who picked up water pouches but did not pick up multilayered plastic waste.  When she asked them the reason, she learnt that the resale value of such waste was very low.  She went to the packaging units using such materials along with her father and found out the chemicals used.  She collected the material and made a new composite in her father’s factory.  She also got it tested in different labs but her regret is that labs charged her the same amount that they would have charged a commercial entity.   So much so, that if she wanted the report same day, she would have had to pay three times the charges.  She wonders why can’t charges for students be lesser, if not free.  She has also filed a patent.  The question she has raised should really bother the policy makers who probably by not expecting children to invent and innovate are not creating an appropriate eco system.  It is time that every municipality and Zillah Parishad spends at least one day a month on discussing the changes required in the current systems and institutional design to make it responsive to the aspirations and expectations of creative children.


Mayank Walia, class 12, Jalandhar, Punjab conceived a device which can scan a normal text in a book and convert it into voice.  One wouldn’t need to constrain the choices of blind people to only braile books.  They will be able to read any book anywhere.   Manibhushan Prsad, class 12, Dhanbad, Jharkhand realized that lot of noise pollution takes place because of sound of the horn.  He has devised a signaling system by which the driver in the trailing vehicle can trigger a small horn or light on the on the dashboard without creating noise pollution.


All those who want to meet these kids must come to IIMA on Nov 8, 2010 at 5 pm when Dr.Kalam will give away the awards.  I hope the city and rural authorities will take initiative to crate community innovation centres about which I will write next so that children in and out of the school can explore their creative ideas in these centres and shape the destiny of the country, environment and community relationships.

Anil K Gupta