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Wise Wednesday

Here’s an excerpt from our talks with a man who is wise, ingenious and so much more! Education has so many aspects to it and Anansh Prasad talks about some of it that will strike a chord with each guardian.

1. Tell us a few lines about how your journey started, what was that one reason behind SkillSphere.

I was an active public speaker, debater and quizzer right from the times that I was in school. During my college times, I began conducting voluntary workshops at schools to train students in the art of debating, public speaking and the art of participation in Model UN conferences. At the same point in time, I was also pursuing internships with different content and education curriculum development companies. These experiences made me realize my love for teaching and curriculum dissemination. I decided to formally start SkillSphere post-college. I took 6 months to develop the curriculum for our first programme and pilot it. Thereafter, I began conducting it in some schools as a weekend job! As luck would have it, people really took to SkillSphere’s workshops and loved them. I guess the rest has been history since then! We have been in operation for over 8 years and now conduct our programmes for over 60000 students in over 140 institutes pan India!

The one reason behind founding SkillSphere was the fact that I saw so many individuals around me who were academically brilliant, but lacked the ability to express themselves openly. Due to their inhibitions, a lot of people were unable to emerge. I realized the importance of soft skill development for future success and progress, and the void that existed in India with regard to this. SkillSphere was hence founded with the objective of ‘Refining Skills. Defining Futures…’

2. Could you tell us a positive and a negative (improvement area) in today’s education system?

A big positive about India’s current education scenario is the tremendous exposure that students get to different opportunities. These include soft skills development, sports, performing arts, and even foreign exchange programmes. Indian educationists acknowledge the importance of holistic development.

A negative is the still conventional perception of education among parents of today’s school-going generation. Major focus on academic prowess often at the cost of other aspects of development is still prevalent. Indian education needs to move away from the excessive importance given to board exams and marks. While this is happening, it is a work in progress at the moment.

3. In today’s generation, what is the one skill that you see is missing and one promising attribute that they have? 

A very promising attribute that most students of this generation have is their ability to adapt to different environments. The grasping abilities of students especially with respect to the use of technology are excellent. They seem to be quick learners!

A major skill that is still missing in a lot of youth today is the ability to develop an educated opinion and express themselves. Basic global awareness can also be a lot better if they start reading more about what is happening in the world and around them.

4.  One revolutionary change you want to bring to our education system.

A revolutionary change that I want to bring to our education system is integrated learning. I want to work towards ensuring that schools have courses not for mathematics or history separately. But courses which blend all these subjects and essential soft skill development together. My work in this regard is in progress!

5. According to you, one challenge that students face and how can they overcome it.

Stage fright (even in small groups) is a major fear of a lot of students today. They can overcome this by doing what I called ‘jumping into the pool’. They have to realize that the worst-case scenario is not all that bad – at the most, they will forget their lines or fumble on stage but people will laugh at them. In the long run, none of these really matter. So they must realize that they do not have much to lose, and hence back themselves to give it a shot. Once they start, they will realize that everyone is a public speaker and that this is not all that difficult.

6. Your views on the impact of technology on education? 

Technology has brought about a rapid and disruptive transformation to the field of education – both positive and negative. Positive because of the ease of access to information today. Students now have e-libraries and research sources. The negative is the other side of the coin. Technology has brought about a lot of distractions for students and has made the role of parents and educators a lot more challenging. Depending on how adults monitor and channelize the use of technology, it can be extremely good or extremely bad for children.

7. Before we wind up our chat, tell us one magic spell that you wish to share with kids of today. 

I think the magic spell with children of today is a few lines penned by me when I was a young 13-year-old student, and which are my biggest source of motivation even today:-

One day my nation is sure to fly,

With these wings which at present dormant lie.

And whether anyone else is there or not.

We shall be there to see it off……

A little bit about our expert today

Anansh Prasad is a Gold Medalist Chemical Engineer from Mumbai University. He is also a graduate from Cornell University, Ithaca, USA, an Ivy League University and one of the premier institutions in the world has received a Masters degree in Energy  Economics and Engineering from the institution.

As SkillSphere Education continues to spread its wings, his team is working towards ensuring that more students across the country are able to gain various skills and hereby fulfill SkillSphere Education’s underlying objective – ‘Refining Skills, Defining Futures…’. Anansh is also an avid guitarist, content developer, karate instructor, and a squash player.

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