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Volume 1

Children must be taught how to think, not what to think

Issue 6 January 2017 IGNITING MINDS

Margaret Mead

STRAIGHT

TALK Education vs. Learning: Which of the two are we imparting? Dr. Sanjay Parva

PRINTED AND PUBLISHED by Ravi Santlani on behalf of EduPulse Media Pvt. Ltd

Editor Dr. Sanjay Parva Assistant Editor Neha Jain Reporter Ashima Sharma, Anuj Kr. Website Team Vaibhav Ramchandani, Pranav Sharma, Ojas Godatwar, Gaurang Mandhana Art Direction Rexsu Cherry Design CP Sharma Editorial Advisor Shobhita Rajgopal, Meenakshi Uberoi, Neeta Bali

CEO & Co-Founder Ravi Santlani Vice President Vanya Bhandari Asst Manager Sales Jaspreet Kaur

EDITORIAL OFFICE EduPulse Media Pvt Ltd, J-3, Jhalana Institutional Area, Second Floor, Jaipur 302004 India Email: editor@scoonews.com FOR ALL SALES QUERIES Jaspreet Kaur: +91-9784447860 sales@scoonews.com FOR SUBSCRIPTION +91-9784447860 subscribe@scoonews.com PRINTED AT Navpack & Print, Dainik Navajyoti Building, Amrapali Circle, Vaishali Nagar, Jaipur 302021 India, www.navpacknprint.com and PUBLISHED AT EduPulse Media Pvt Ltd, J-3, Jhalana Institutional Area, Second Floor, Jaipur 302004 India Published for the month of January 2017 Total number of pages 100, including Covers

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ducation is what people do to you. Learning is what you do for yourself”— Koichi Ito, popularly known as Joi Ito, has said that. Ito is the director of the prestigious MIT Media Lab. Ito's maxim is a question too if we look deeper into it. It is, are we, in thousands of schools in India, providing education or imparting learning. But then Ito says learning can't be imparted, because that is something that you (we can read a child for that) do to yourself. So that means we are imparting education, but that is something a child might not necessarily want to do to himself. Aren't we turning the system too complicated for a child to use and us to abuse? Sample this: we are providing a child with a small table and a chair as parents fondly admit him to the preschool. The chair and the table becomes slightly bigger as he grows into kindergarten, then Grade 1 to 7, then these years of puberty, which changes the very physical and psychological existence of the child whom we had given a table and chair on admission. The child’s need change, for us only his classes do! Much changes in the life of a child (with each passing month and then each year), but the table and the chair remain the same. We assume the child needs it. We assume it once and forget it throughout his lifespan in the school and then the college. The assumption is almost similar to what we assume on education for him. We are giving him what we think he needs, not what he needs in reality. Consequently, we end up producing all of them the same way, whereas their individual needs are different. Each child is unique. How can we provide fit-for-all solutions? These needs arise from their quest for learning, and not for getting educated. Education comes for a price for them, learning is nearly free. The child gets least of what can come free and actually in abundance but gets a load of what comes for a price. We thrust him with the former and deprive of the latter. Eventually in life, and especially given the way lives are moving now, learning is a driving force than education wall-mounted in degrees. Keeping in view such anomalies, this month we decided to inform you about the school education system in Finland which has been, by far, acknowledged as the best in the world. Let's not be critical of our own system, but it will be wise to do some introspection after seven decades of independence. After seven decades of independence you are not a young nation; you have actually become old. So the onus now to reform Indian education system lies solely on educators and thought leaders of the country and not the political class which is neither too learned nor too educated. The straight talk is that the former have only messed up with it.

FIND US ON

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CONTENTS

14 COVER

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Why is Finland Education System the best in the world?

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JUST BLOGGING : Road to be the ‘Skill Capital’ of the World

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FEATURE : Alternative Schools in India unschooling is the best way to school

22 COVER STORY: The school of the future has opened in Finland

EVENT WRAP UP : ScooNews brings you some of the happiest moments from Educarnival 2016 and interviews with a few notable thought leaders from the field of education

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Tiina Malste

PRINCIPALS ON BOARD Dear principals, your views matter to us. Do write in. Is holiday homework necessary for students? In what ways can children be engaged during the summer vacation? How do you think children should spend their holidays? Principals can send 150-200 word responses to editor@scoonews.com, along with their photographs. They should also mention their name, school, address and contact details.

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YOURS TRULY THANKS FOR STANDING UP! With reference to impressive articles in your magazine, it’s a great honour to see someone stand up for the causes relevant to students and teachers alike. Your endeavour will surely encourage Indian schools and the government to make a note. The mindset of parents and schools are changing towards several issues related to school education, including sports, but it’s useless without the legitimate support of a magazine like yours to highlight the issues and suggest solutions. At the same time, I would like to draw the attention of the readers and you towards an important cause behind sports education lacking in India. Besides academic excellence, parents as well as children give an exaggerated importance to online games and social media that consumes their considerable time. Striking the right balance between outdoor sports, academics, and technical know-how will surely make our future generations ready to face any challenge in their life. Deepika Parmar

EVOLUTION OF EDUCATION I admire the evolution of education system as highlighted by you in this ‘Schooled with care’ story.

In this regard I would like to mention about Kerala, where I live, a state that has been highlighted as the first state that walks hand in hands with the government policies regarding Indian education system. With the advent of technology, schools in Kerala have adopted an IT enabled education system that imparts technical knowledge to the students’ right from class 8. A beautiful endeavour to motivate other Indian schools for transforming the education system and follow Kerala’s suit. Just highlighting the problems and solutions in Indian education system doesn’t serve any purpose. However, when one sees an example of others beginning to transform, they get influenced and readily take part in the process of transformation. Sam Sadanadan

CELEBRITY INTERVIEWS I would like to applaud the celebrity interviews that you have carried in the last edition, particularly that of Dr Pankaj Prabhat. I would also like to request you to highlight some flaws in the Indian education system. Besides highlighting the flaws in the education system, which every other Indian is aware of, you can pick up issues of concern. I must mention U.S. in this regard. The special content on how collaboration between American universities and Indian teacher training institutes can be the fundamental highlight. Increasing the expenditure on education and working on availability of resources in remote areas would not be complete without the presence of efficient teachers to impart education. Unless the teachers involved in the act of teaching are well versed in technology, how could they impart their knowledge to the students? Therefore, making the teachers capable in modern teaching methods is of fundamental importance.

Our Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi is working successfully in this direction. Let’s see how this collaboration bears fruits for the Indian education system? Swati Mukherjee

COMMENDABLE CONTRIBUTION I recently visited an event in Bangalore, where everybody was discussing about a popular NGO. Out of curiosity, I approached the media personnel and asked him about this discussion. He directed me to read your magazine which highlighted some of the relevant questions that I had on my mind. It is a commendable contribution, indeed. Moreover, stressing on incorporating creativity and new methods of teaching discussed in one of your articles would surely give a makeover to the Indian education system. Your way of conducting the study regarding significance of creativity in one’s life through personal interviews adds credibility to the content. Young Star Awards in this direction is a commendable act. Keep up the efforts please. Rupa Malpani

IMPACT OF DEMONETISATION Your story on Impact of Demonetisation was an eye-opener. I request you to carry out a story on school dropouts in India and what leads to this. You can discuss this story in the light of Right to Education Act. Though the figures are shocking and shameful for the Indian government, the reasons for failure need to be highlighted in the context. Is only the lack of infrastructure completely responsible for the situation? Analysing the situation in our country, it can be concluded that besides infrastructure, other reasons also play a part in children dropping out of schools. Roshan Rajpurohit

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TRENDING ‘Society that is free of caste and creed could be achieved by educating people’

Dr. Manmohan Singh's views on improving education standards in India

Dr.Manmohan Singh's views on improving education standard in IndiaIn the 17th annual conference of the Indian Association of Social Sciences Institutions at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) held recently, the former PM Dr. Manmohan Singh while addressing the gathering, emphasized on the need to reduce the gap in quality of education that exists between “the haves and have-nots”. He suggested that it could be achieved by imparting “universally accepted secular education” and by improving the infrastructure in government schools. He even offered a workable way of achieving it by urging the nation to spend 6 per cent of its GDP on education through public funding. Mr.

A six year old lad, Hashim Mansoor from Bandipora district in Jammu and Kashmir has won a gold medal in the Asian Karate Championship held recently at Talkatora stadium in New Delhi. He has achieved this feat in the sub-junior category (below 25 Kg) by defeating his Sri Lankan opponent in the finals. With this win Mansoor is now qualified for the World Championship to be held in September next year. After the win, an ecstatic Mansoor explained to the media about the vigorous practice he had been undergoing for the past one year. His coach applauded Mansoor's effort and reemphasized the fact that it is a huge win considering the least amount of resources available in Kashmir for sports. This victory follows close on the heels of the victory of another Kashmiri girl, Tajamul Islam (8 yrs) who went on to clinch gold in the sub-junior category of World Kickboxing Championship. Kashmiri sports enthusiasts now have lots to rejoice.

A promising young star

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Singh asserted his view that by imparting the universally accepted secular education, individuals will be enriched with human values which in turn might lead to a culturally and socially harmonious society. He reiterated the fact that a society that is free of caste and creed divisions could be achieved by educating people about the basis of independence struggle. Mr. Singh also touched upon the point that currently 24 per cent rural households have no literate adult above 25 years and the dropout rate is very high in rural students. Dr Singh also emphasised the need to increase Gross Enrollment Ratio in higher education from 24.3 per cent in 2014-15. Incidentally in developed countries, it is around 50 per cent.


The Jammu and Kashmir government with the aim to encourage enrolment of girl students in the schools issued an order to waive off the school fees of the girl students up to the higher secondary level in all the state run educational institutions. This step was taken to fulfill the PDP-BJP led government's commitment in the State budget that was presented this year. In the order issued by the Commissioner Secretary of Education Department, it was stated that the school fees for girls were waived off to further incentivize their education and that it would be effective in all state-run schools immediately. Given the current scenario of girl's education in our country, this move by the J& K government is a great step in the right direction towards the empowerment of girl children.

Disney's 'Hour of code' campaign in India The Disney has launched the 'Hour of Code' campaign in India to teach computer programming to school children through online tutorials. This learning meets fun activity is facilitated by Disney using the Disney movie characters from the movie 'Moana'. The entertainment giant has launched its campaign in India by teaching coding to school children in states like Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra through its free online tutorial. This novel move by Disney aims to help kids imbibe technological skills at an early age. As a third edition globally, Disney's programme in India caters to students aged 8 years and teaches them the basics of coding. This programme By Disney in India is run in partnership with Next Education.

David Guetta announces charity event in India

Charity has become an essential part of star-lifes. Dance music’s heavyweights cannot help but join this helping people trend. French superstar DJ David Guetta is the latest artist to give back, as he teams up with Sunburn Festival and Percept Live for a massive show in Bengaluru, India on January 12th, 2017. Christmas is almost here, and David Guetta decided to give back to a country that showed so much love over the past few years, however, it won’t be a typical arena show. Rather than collecting appearance payments, all proceeds of the concert will go towards educating Indian students in partnership with Sunburn Festival. Guetta shared his underlying drive behind the event, explaining that “India is a magical place. The energy that I get from the country and the fans creatively inspires me. Music can change lives.”

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TRENDING CBSE is all set to promote financial literacy, e wallets and smart cards in schools from the next quarter (from January ) by making cashless transaction as the way for all CBSE affiliated schools. As a first step the board had decided to make payment of teacher's salary and school fees cashless. This will help them to do away with the challan way of payment and embrace the credit/debit/netbanking mode of payment. The board has further hinted that, as a way to promote financial literacy, payments in canteens and tuck shop would be through smartcards. Also the board has a proposal to bring in e-wallets like SBI Buddy and Paytm for its competitive exams. The board has already conducted meetings with 350 nodal schools on Dec 7, to sensitize them regarding the move following which the board immediately implemented non cash payments for teacher's salary payment and fees collection. In the meeting the board urged schools to sensitize students about the merits of cashless transactions and also to notify them about the ways to do it safely. The board believes that involving students would make cashless transfers much easier. In adherence to the CBSE move the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sanganathan has decided to employ the services of scouts and Guides to train teachers and students and has also brought in expert help from local banks/financial institutions and postgraduate teachers in computers, commerce and economics to serve the cause. The parents are also pulled into the ambit by sensitizing them through interactive sessions.

CBSE to promote cashless transactions in schools

Chhattisgarh shows the way planting trees as fees

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First Transgender boarding school in India one of its kind Santa has arrived in style for the transgenders. In a one of its kind move, indeed a huge step for our country, the first transgender school is to be launched in Kochi. The Sahaj International School, India's first residential transgender school will be inaugurated on December 30, in Kochi. The first batch would have 10 transgenders who would study under the National Open School system. The school would be inaugurated by the famous Transgender rights activist and artist Kalki Subramaniam .The faculty comprises of six transgenders from the TransIndia Foundation , representing different sections of the society. The group would be a mix of students across the sections including differently abled and migrants. Vijayaraja Mallika , the brain behind the school said that they do have sponsors to initially back them and they are planning to seek financial help from government after proving its worthiness. She further added optimistically that many Christian organisation and the National Open School have extended their support, and teachers and social workers have volunteered to hold classes in the school. Another towering feature is though the school will have X and XII equivalent educations and exams, their curriculum will also include skill development program which would help the beneficiaries in the long run.

In a novel way, 'Shiksha Kuteer’ a school in Chhattisgarh’s Bargai village in Ambikapur asks its parents to plant trees in lieu of school fee of their wards. In this unique initiative the school which provides primary education to students who belong to the lower income group, asks the parents of students who cannot afford to pay fees to provide a meager payment of planting a tree sapling as fee. The school at present has at least 35 students in the age group of four to five. 'Shiksha Kuteer' is an initiative by a group of local professionals and businessmen of Chhattisgarh. The school requests the students’ guardians to plant a sapling each and to personally care for it. The school is opened in the village that has only poor students who cannot afford to pay fees. In this scenario, the school has received an overwhelming response from the local villagers who are elated that their children are getting quality English medium education at no cost. In case of the plant dying, the parents are required to plant another one in its place. At least 700 saplings have been planted across the village over the last year.


RELEASE

Estrade EDUCATION AWARDS 2017 Announced The awards provide an international forum for Indian education and skill development sector

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fter the successful hosting of the Estrade Real Estate Awards and Estrade BUILT Awards on 21st October 2016 in Singapore, Estrade Media Pte. Ltd, Singapore is hosting the Estrade Education Awards 2017, on 28th January 2017 in Singapore – at the Hotel Grand Copthorne, Waterfront, Singapore. The Awards will be inaugurated by the Chief Guest, Shri Basavaraj Rayareddi Ji, Hon’ble Minister for Higher Education & Chairman, Karnataka State Higher Education Council. Estrade (www.estrade.in) rewards the excellence in education at an international forum where the best of India’s Education and Skill Development industry will be present. Estrade

Education Awards provide an international thought leadership platform to bring on board, all stake holders associated with imparting education and skill development, and in the process, create a learning ecosystem for an exchange of ideas and best practices. Furthermore, to join hands over issues and challenges faced by India’s education sector and connect to create more opportunities.

ready educated. Estrade Education Awards – Singapore are aimed at recognizing those companies, corporate entities, educational establishments, and individuals, who are at the forefront of arming the next generation of Indian professionals through ground breaking learning methodologies in education and skill development.

According to a Government of India report, around 119 million additional skilled work force will be required in 24 sectors – Real Estate, Commercial property, Infrastructure development, retail, transportation logistics, automobile, and textiles, etc., by 2022.World’s fastest growing economy has a huge demand for skill

The awards night will also be holding a panel discussion focusing on the education and skills development sectors. The discussion brings most interesting facts about the industry and a don’t-miss event of the program. It brings in view points of professionals from India, US and Singapore.

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JUST BLOGGING

Road to be the ‘SKILL CAPITAL’ of the World

Shrutidhar Paliwal

India is poised to become the world’s youngest country by 2020, with an average age of 29 years, and will account for around 28% of the world’s workforce.

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Vocational training institutes as a fraternity must strive to create a positive perception about vocational training.

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he ‘Skill India Mission’ has set an ambitious target of skilling over 400 million people by 2022. So far, the development of skills has primarily been driven by the requirements of the market. Although substantial progress has been made with considerable help from the private sector, it clearly continues to be a supply driven system. The need of the hour is to shift focus to the industry. The system should be demand driven and bridge the skills gap. India is poised to become the world’s youngest country by 2020, with an average age of 29 years, and will account for around 28% of the world’s workforce. In the following decade, the country’s population, in the 15-64 years age bracket will swell, thereby increasing the working age population from approximately 761 million to 869 million between 2011 and 2020.

January 2017

Consequently, until 2020, India will be experiencing a period of “demographic bonus”, where the growth rate of the working population would surpass that of the total population. These favourable demographics position India to fill the void created by countries with an ageing population, and become a major player in global business. The manner in which India uses this opportunity will determine whether it will reap its demographic dividend or not. Apart from tackling spatial challenges arising from a remarkable disparity in the demographics of its states, India will have to address the critical issues of creating jobs and preparing its youth to participate in its economic growth. The Skill India mission aims to reap this much-talked about ‘demographic dividend’ by creating skilled manpower and increasing employability of the working population.


Over the past couple of years, India has witnessed significant developments in the skill development landscape. Various organisations have been set up at national and state levels to scale-up skill development efforts being undertaken across the country. A number of agencies — around 17 ministries, 2 national-level agencies (NSDA and NSDC), several sector skill councils (SSCs), 35 state skill development missions, and several trade and industry bodies are working in tandem to strengthen the national skill development agenda.

Is it enough? It is a well-established fact that vocational training plays a pivotal role in helping to bridge the industryacademia gap. All stakeholders in the skill development agenda, however, must understand that galvanizingthe Skill India mission into action requires consideration of multiple socio-cultural factors. It is only when these factors are embedded in the essence of the application process can we expect the mission to be a true success. One of the factors that must be addressed is the public perception toward vocational training. Skill development through vocational training is yet to achieve acceptance as a feasible alternative to formal education. It has always been considered by students and parents as the career choice for the less academically-qualified. The impression still persists that vocational training is for school dropouts, rather trained skilled workers.Hence, these courses are perceived as lacking credibility as students do not have adequate evidence of people receiving jobs after completing vocational training. This results in excessive attention and resources being given to academic rather than vocational education. Lack of awareness on the part of the students and parents also affects the adoption of vocational training. Students do not have sufficient information about industry requirements and vocational courses available to

meet such requirements. In addition to that, they are unaware of how vocational courses can improve their career prospects. Lastly and most importantly, the low prestige associated with vocational streams or blue collar jobs prevents youth from taking vocational education. There is limited integration between formal and vocational education systems, and people with such skills are not compensated sufficiently. These elements create a skewed picture of vocational education and create hurdles in the acceptance of these courses. It is evident that the success of skill initiatives is highly dependent on awareness generation programmes targeted at the youth. These programmes could play an important role by creating awareness about existing skill development courses and their relevance among prospective students through a spectrum of media such as websites, newspapers and magazines. This would increase student mobilisation and also lend credibility to skill institutes, thereby giving a boost to the overall vocational system in the country.

India, through DGE&T, conducts All India Skill Competition for Craftsmen every year to offer recognition to trainees and foster a healthy spirit of competition among the trainees of ITIs/ITCs. Apart from this, it sends participants for the WorldSkills Competition, which is held every two years and symbolizes the peak of excellence in vocational training. There is need for more such opportunities to be created. Thus, vocational training institutes as a fraternity must strive to create a positive perception about vocational training. There must be a consistent and emphatic push towards creating awareness about fields that extend beyond traditional, mainstream careers, such as beauty, banking and aviation and hospitality. As a nation our mission is to transcend employment problems and create a generation of entrepreneurs. We need to work towards the goal of transforming India as a nation of employed to a nation of employers. The writer is Vice President & Head of Corporate Brand Communications for Aptech Ltd. The views are personal.

In this regard, the Government of

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TRENDING COVER STORY

Why is Finland

Education System the

BEST in the

world?

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January 2017


Education is not the learning of facts but the training of mind to think" Albert Einstein

Excellence is a continuous process, not an accident" Dr. APJ.

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COVER STORY One of the basic principles of Finnish education is that all people must have equal access to high-quality education and training.

Dr Sanjay Parva

editor@scoonews.com

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hese are the quotes every one of us would have read some or the other time. We might even have stopped for a while and pondered for a moment. But the saddest part is that the moment fades out into oblivion without making any impact on us. And when something goes wrong in the way we have been teaching, we suddenly wonder what is it that took Finland, such a small country, not to fail. For the past few years Finland has become synonymous with quality education in the global arena. From the time, 40 years ago, it has implemented the education reforms as a part of their Economy Recovery Program, Finland school system has consistently featured among the top 10 slots in Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) rankings, which is a standardized test given to 15-year-olds in more than 40 global venues. No other country has been able to shake Finland from the charts. There must be something that the Finns have and the rest don’t! That brings us to the people living in Sweden, Kingdom of Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland in Northern Europe, who are continuously topping the international league in literacy and numeracy, so much so that they are making politicians and educationist to run in tizzy to the Mecca of School education Helsinki, hoping to identify and replicate the secrets. Secrets or not, it is actually the sheer strength of the thought that

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has worked wonders for school education in this region, especially Finland. Yet, one might ask the question ‘is there really any complex, closely guarded mantra that they secretly follow?’ Does their curriculum have more content crammed into it? Do they hold repeated tests? Do they implement a novel teaching methodology? Have they devised any better ways to push teachers and students harder and higher? The answer, when decoded, is simple and stunning. Their driving point is "Less is More" instead of " Work till you drop" that we all blindly follow. It costs us a fortune too – something that needs no explanation. This profound success of Finland in delivering educational excellence and equity to its children is due to the amalgamation of the nation's love of childhood, a profound respect for teachers as trusted professionals, and a deep understanding of how children learn best. They focus on teaching students how to learn instead of how to score. Elsewhere, including India, it is just the reverse. Finland is a country in Northern Europe with a sparse population of 5.4 million. One of the basic principles of Finnish education is that all people must have equal access to high-quality education and training. They make sure that the same opportunities to education are available to all citizens irrespective of their ethnic origin, age, wealth and location of residence. They make sure that the emotional climate of the typical classroom is warm, safe, respectful and highly supportive. Instead of control, competition, stress, standardized testing,

screen-based schools and loosened teacher qualifications; they implement warmth, collaboration, and highly professionalised teacher-led encouragement and assessment

How they reached where they are? Concepts that took them to the top Stress free formal schooling Finland has an informal, formal schooling. Though it sounds like an oxymoron, it’s exactly what they follow. They believe in letting children be children and that they learn better by playing and exploring. Finland schools are publicly funded. All students in Finland receive free education from school till university. During their educational journey all pupils receive free school meals, resources and materials, transport and support services. The Nordics ensure that there is school in every locality. There is absolutely no comparison or competition between students or schools or regions. Every school has the same national goal and employs teachers for the same pool of University teachers. The differences between strong and weak students are very minimal in Finland, Equality being the all encompassing word. Student healthcare is free. Not only this, there are some other salient features too, which, in Indian case, are just the reverse again. The schooling in Finland starts exactly by 7 years, the age when they are developmentally ready to learn and focus. This optional one year is followed by nine years of compulsory schooling. Maths, science, art, craft, and music are introduced in play way method.

Language is introduced only around 11 years of age. When the children reach the ninth grade at the age of 16, again it becomes optional. They can choose Upper Secondary School that prepares students for matriculation test and then to move to university or vocational education that trains students for various occupations with an option of taking or leaving tests and Tertiary Education (Applied sciences and Traditional Universities). No child is left behind, with all classes having a mixture of all ability level pupils, aided with two or more teachers who focus on those children needing additional support.

Finnish Curriculum They follow the concept of least number of class hours with more breaks and schools start only after 9 am; keeping in mind that adolescents need quality sleep in the. Each class has several breaks in between, thus allowing them adequate rest and be receptive to new things. The teachers are given more time to plan and discuss the curriculum. Elementary students in Finland often have the same teacher for 6 years, with the student-teacher ratio at the most 1 teacher for 15 to 20 students. In this scenario each teacher understands children well and is able to devise specific teaching methodology that would be effective for each student. The teachers have the freedom to work at their own pace and don't feel the pressure. This system not only helps the children as it gives them the consistency,

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COVER STORY care and individualised attention but also helps the teachers to understand the curriculum in a holistic and linear way. The curriculum gives more emphasis for outdoor, practical-based learning opportunities and healthrelated physical activity sessions to ensure healthy mind and body. Their curriculum has lesser topics and they practice lesser and there is no homework concept. The students diligently work in the classroom and there is absolutely no concept of external educational support. As a country the Finnish also follow gender equality which reflects in their schooling pattern also. Most mothers in Finland are working and highly qualified, acting as a positive influence on the young girls.

The best of the lot as teachers In Finland teaching is a prestigious career. Children aspire to be teachers, doctors, lawyers, and scientists. They are respected and appreciated and are highly and job selection is a tough process with only best candidates bagging the posts. The elementary education department accepts only 10% of applications and they place huge trust on their

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teachers. They don't look for the brightest or smartest to become primary teacher but ones with the gift and passion for teaching. The teachers should have obtained a masters degree. The Finnish system has a great amount of trust placed on their highly qualified teachers and they also reciprocate with their dedication and passion. The teachers are also given adequate rest and refreshing facilities to enable them to work fresher.

Finnish testing system It is not mandatory for students in Finland to sit for exams until the age of 17-19. Until sixth grade the children are not allowed to take up districtbased exams. Even if taken, the results are not published. Schools uses only teacher-based assessments and monitor progress but these are not graded, scored or compared; instead they are descriptive enough to be utilised in a formative manner to inform feedback and assessment for learning. Finnish believe teacher-based assessments are more effective than any grading assessment. As the teacher is more trusted they have the freedom to

January 2017

test new things, make curriculum more exciting, interesting and engaging and prepare the children to face the world successfully.

Trust is the key word Trust is the key word in whole Finnish system. Finnish schools enjoy full autonomy, with the head teachers and other teachers framing their own individual curriculum to suit their needs. The pedagogical freedom that the teachers enjoy brings in greater creativity, pro-activity and innovation. The greater emphasis based on individual emotional well-being helps to foster a positive learning; shaping the minds of teachers and pupil alike. The Finland's Ministry of Education's trust their professionals, parents and communities to guide their own policy and absolutely no businessmen or politician can interfere in any aspects of teaching. Thus the political and personal agenda is effectively deflected and with high amount of trust that exists in society, teachers, students and parents there emerges an impressive education system that makes the nation proud. The teaching and professional learning occurs in a collaborative


manner. The absence of corrosive competition and an egalitarian ethos inherent in the Finnish culture has surely played a role in shaping this very impressive system. Their motivation comes from within.

Current Educational Scenario in Finland The Finnish people are not the lots who become complacent on reaching the top. They still continue to evolve and innovate ways to update their children to the changing scenario in the world. They implement changes in curriculum that are necessary for modern society and across all spheres of life and work. The National Curriculum Framework (2016) has brought in these revolutionary changes to provide tools to students to face the world confidently today and tomorrow. Also, as the world is marching fast towards the digital arena, the Finnish are trying to test out digital inclusion in their curriculum. The pre-school sector is embracing an innovative project called 'Playful Learning Centre' that tries to derive inputs from computer gaming industries. Besides, the Finns have already phased out subject-based lessons and brought in teaching by topic concept phenomenon. This system is introduced for senior students, around the age of 16. The general idea is to enable the students to choose for themselves which topic or phenomenon they want to study, bearing in mind their ambitions for the future and their capabilities. The phenomenon teaching allows students to think on multiple points of views, with the observation not restricted to one subject. This gives them a holistic approach of education on a particular topic from different perspectives. In this approach the students initiate the learning process by asking questions leading to deeper and natural knowledge. This type of learning makes the children inquisitive and urges them to think and ponder. Here the students do away with learning theories and concepts by rote and the assessment are also not based on their ability to memorize concepts

and reproduce them on paper. In phenomenon-based learning, children have to apply a variety of skills, brainstorm and think, ponder and understand the concepts better. It also helps them to relate to a variety of problems seen in real-life situations; thus making the phenomenon real and practical to understand.. The phenomenon-based approach helps increase the authenticity of learning significantly and looks beyond the predictive text. In such learning, understanding and studying the phenomenon go hand in hand, adding value to all types of learning situations. This type of learning makes learning an organic, inquisitive and interesting phenomenon. More than 70% of teachers have already undergone training in line with the new system of presenting information with the incentive of increased pay scale. As India’s late president Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam has remarked," Learning gives creativity, creativity leads to thinking, thinking provides knowledge, knowledge makes you great", the time has come for us to take a stock of our educational system as this is the field that's going to nourish the future generations. Majority of nations in the world are obsessed with text books and are outcome-based, depending on myriad exams to assess the students. In a scenario fuelled by competition, students are missing out on several relevant pools of knowledge that are academically considered to be of no value. With only marks and exams as the only perspective present, students are unable to connect to various concepts losing out the holistic outlook. They are inordinately struck in the rat race to score marks. Change is the only thing that doesn't change and change is the end result of learning. Obsolete old methods are to be shed and new time-appropriate methods are to be embraced in education to equip our children with better tools to face tomorrow. For a better future, education has to be correctly understood today, keeping in mind what the educational reformer John Dewey has stated: "Education is not preparation for life but it's the life itself". Children deserve life rather than preparation for it.

"W

hat other countries can learn from the Finnish education system is that each student can learn in his or her unique way and that the teaching supports the development of every student individually. This helps them to reach their highest potential in life. This overall focus on building on individual strengths of each and every child is for me what makes Finnish education great. Instead of a focus on purely academic performance, our system and society is based on leveraging the skills of each individual. And it is that same idea of individual learning that form the core of all the schools we operate." "My children go to school in Finland. Every day I watch them being eager to go to school and coming back home telling me what they have done and learned. The school feeds the natural curiosity of children, so instead of them trying to memorise and remember, they become researchers solving problems and making sense of the surrounding world. That feeling of joy of seeing your child excel and enjoy school is what I want to bring to all the parents whose children join our schools." "I have been glad to see how more and more people realize that education as it is can never be exported from one country to another. Education is always tied to the culture surrounding it. That does not mean that we could not take practices and methods from top education countries like Finland and make them available in other parts of the world. That is more than possible, but it can only be achieved through partnerships with local actors. The collaboration we do at KOULU Group –a Finlandbased provider of educational solutionswith our partners in different countries is the success formula bringing top quality education available to more students."

The writer, Satu Järvinen is Partner & Director, Education Services at KOULU Education Group, an expert organisation that provides first-class and comprehensive education solutions for learning and development based on the best educational expertise from Finland.

January 2017

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COVER STORY

Top 10 Books on Finnish Education ScooNews brings you list of top 10 books on Finnish education that educators across the world use to understand Finnish school education system.

Finnish Lessons 2.0 What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland? (Series on School Reform) by Diane Ravitch and Andy Hargreaves

On Top of the World How the Finns Educate Their Children by Maria Kouta

The Smartest Kids in the World And How They Got That Way by Amanda Ripley

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January 2017

Early Child Care and Education Early Child Care and Education in Finland by Kaarina Määttä and Satu Uusiautti

Creating Innovators The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World by Tony Wagner


Finnish Lessons What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland? (Series on School Reform) by Andy Hargreaves and Pasi Sahlberg

The School System Comparison Between the United States and Finland What Are the Differences? Why Finns Score Higher in International Tests? Why the ... Apply Their Knowledge in Real Life Situation by Anna Fielding

Finland Education System and Policy Handbook 1 (World Business and Investment Library) by USA International Business Publications

Collector's Edition Why Finland Has the Best Education in the World-Collector's Edition by Chen Zhi Huar

Constructing Reformatory Identity Girls' Reform School Education in Finland, 18931923 by Kaisa Vehkalahti

January 2017

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COVER STORY

The school of the future has opened in

FINLAND

Finnish school education system is considered as the best in the world, and is evolving further. Here are the schools of future that children simply love to be in!

C

hild psychologists have long argued that changing the approach we take to education would help many children learn to love school rather than hate it. We’ve all heard preschoolers talk about how they can’t wait to sit at their school desk and run to their next lesson with their rucksack over their shoulder. In fact, we probably remember that feeling of excitement ourselves the first time we went. But right from the first days of school, many children feel a huge sense of disappointment with what they encounter. At the Saunalahti school in the city of Espoo, Finland, they’ve found a brilliant way to overcome this problem. Starting just with the school building itself, you’d look at it and never think it was a school. Instead, it’s more a like modern art museum — wonderfully light and airy. Experts from VERSTAS Architects made sure they moved well away from the typical dour design for a public school which we all can’t stand:

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January 2017

The school’s open spaces have been carefully connected up with the internal hallways and areas provided to each age group. At the same time, all areas of the school form part of a connected whole. The designers believe that any fence or barrier will just encourage the children to rebel against restrictions; therefore, the whole place is open. There are video cameras, but the security measures in general are unobtrusive.


Child psychologists have long argued that changing the approach we take to education would help many children learn to love school rather than hate it. We’ve all heard pre-schoolers talk about how they can’t wait to sit at their school desk and run to their next lesson with their rucksack over their shoulder. In fact, we probably remember that feeling of excitement ourselves the first time we went. But right from the first days of school, many children feel a huge sense of disappointment with what they encounter

The school’s large windows facing onto the street give the sense of a connection with the outside world. Places for the children to sit are located right by the windows, so the children don’t feel locked behind four walls.

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COVER STORY The pupils are allowed to move around the classroom on their miniature office chairs (remember how much your teachers used to tell you off for that?) If they want, they can lie on a sofa with a computer placed on a stool in front of them. Laptop computers, in fact, are this school’s version of the school blackboard. Most of the children’s lessons are built around the concept of team projects

The cafeteria is where both students and teachers meet as part of the learning process. There’s also a stage there — the dining hall doubles as a useful venue for performances, meetings and celebrations

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COVER STORY The school’s open areas are specially designed to give the children space to walk around. It’s divided into different areas for primary and secondary school pupils

Across its 10,500 square metres, there’s a primary school, a secondary school, a kindergarten, a youth club, theatre, cafeteria, library, gym and many other things. Teaching takes place in a relaxed atmosphere: children are allowed to sit where and in whatever position they want, and discussion between them in class is even encouraged. Source: The Bright Side

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FEATURE

ALTERNATIVE SCHOOLS IN INDIA

UNSCHOOLING

is the best way to school

Parents have witnessed the dark side of formal education; the increasing suicides, booming rates of violence amongst kids, and multiplying failure rate, the scavengers of their confidence and self worth.

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January 2017


ScooNews Correspondent

writeback@scoonews.com

“L

iteracy in itself is no education. Literacy is not the end or even the beginning of education. By education, I mean an all-round drawing out the best in the child and man – body, mind and spirit,” said Mahatma Gandhi.

Kunskapsskolan Eduventures, Gurgaon

Gone are the days when education was basically reading, writing and arithmetic. Today, in our technologybased societies, an education must encompass every facet of life. It must do so, in fact, for the mankind to exist. The current education system that places an emphasis on marks and grades scored by the children is way backward to be considered as education in real sense. The ambiguity, as realised by many parents across the globe; who feel that regular schools fail to cater to the demands of modern time provokes the need for an alternate. No doubt, the young angels of today are gifted exceptionally with varied talent and skills. However, their parents have lost faith in the ability of regular schools to nurture this talent and do justice with them. Similar feelings are aroused amongst parents of children with learning disabilities. Education has now stopped being fun and a medium for children to learn, grow, and be better citizens of the country. It is now limited to providing clearance in school exams and a financially profitable career. Expressing her views on the current scenario, Rebecca, author of children’s books feels that the environment at school is very unnatural. Sitting at their desks continually for hours is stressful and tiresome for children. All the more, the importance of playing games is undermined by the school authorities. As said, such education doesn’t serve its purpose where children are just fed with the knowledge of text books. The changing times lay down great challenges in front of our little ones, says the pedagogical counsellor Manas Chakrabarty. If they aren’t prepared to face them, it would lead to inimical consequences in future. However, an ability to face these changes arises from an ability to learn and not just attending lectures at school. The problem of “climate change”

“Parents want the best for their wards and even after all these years, admissions to colleges are driven by scores and grades. Parents whose children are in traditional schools are frustrated because students are loaded with work and are guided by a strict structure that aims at preparing students for exams and very little beyond. The teaching methodologies are quite traditional and teacher-driven, giving students very little exposure to skill-based or experiential learning. The desire to see their children admitted to the leading colleges that are guided by the marks, lead parents to traditional schools as they believe that only such schools can fetch marks.”

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FEATURE alone indicates this, the need to do better. There is a need to educate our children better in the appreciation of this world; in the ways to protect our environment and, thus, protect ourselves from the ravages of pollution, loss of animal life, onset of unknown diseases and all the other ways the climate change threatens our very existence. This was just a single instance to exemplify the need for change; to change for the better of the mankind and our future generation.

Aarambh Waldorf School

Therefore, alternative education provides an answer to this problem. Because it is comprehensive, it is also an answer to the critical problems of today’s world. Alternative education is a system that can be easily invoked and must be pushed forward, not only for our precious Indian students, but for the betterment of India and also the world we live in. Alternative schools are the result of an age-long battle people have fought to break free from the manacles of ‘formal schooling’. The freedom from fear and redundant pressure of school authorities lure students towards this alternative education; that provides each child with an opportunity to explore and learn things their own way. Parents have witnessed the dark side of formal education; the increasing suicides, booming rates of violence amongst kids, and multiplying failure rate, ultimately the scavengers of children’s confidence and self worth. Reasons why educationists like Manish Jain launched the Shikshantar Andolan long back in 1990s to release education from the clutches of “artificial and oppressive” school environment. His diligence to make education better led him to establish an institution in the year 2010, Swaraj University, to promote self directed learning. All parents want their children to have a better life than they themselves had .Life is much more than doing “better than our parents did.” When posed with a question: “Why are you a Hindu?” “Why are you a Muslim?” “Why are you a Christian?” majority reply with a nod, “Because our parents were and that’s how they taught us.” Not a good answer, indeed. Isn’t there a need to learn about our religion and other religions? Will it change your religion? No, not at all, but it will educate you on the “Why? This would apply not only to religion, but to everything else that pertains to

Traditional schools follow the curriculum and in most schools the individual becomes lost in the group. Academics and marks become the main aim and the race to get ahead leaves the child's happiness and childhood behind. When we think about what we want for our child, words like happiness, contributing to society, responsibility, good human being come to mind but when we think about schools we think about marks, colleges and careers. The higher the track record of the school in terms of a good percentage the more we want to put our child in it. But do high marks and good careers translate into happiness and all the other things that we believe make a good human being?

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FEATURE

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life. As with all things in life, children must be educated, must read, must be taught, and seek out knowledge wherever they can find it. They must use their personal talents God has given them for self development and their families, for community in general. And, in doing so, they reach out to the broader world in many positive ways by teaching others what they have learned through education and experience.

Ukti Waldorf

Therein, lies the necessity for not only an academic education, but an education that involves many more avenues to greater and higher learning. This is where “Alternative Education” comes in and fills the void in a learner’s educational experience. Alternative education offers a much broader sense of not only individualism, but a sense of the real world and our role in that world. It gives that awareness of what a child, individually and together, could accomplish giving him a sense of fulfilment and pride; thus, promoting better social, mental and physical health in daily lives. The idea of alternative education is a relatively new concept, but not without proven merits. It allows the child to select particular subjects of study pertaining to his interest and in conjunction with the required subjects, to develop both his personal talents and/or interests along with learning necessary subjects. Alternative education provides a wide scope through which the child can learn and develop at his own rate of comprehension without the fear of “bad grades” or “tough exams.” This relaxes the mind and enables the child to really focus on his learning. Unlike formal schools that are adult centric and do not pay heed to the child’s desires and capabilities to learn, alternative schools are at par with them by allowing children to learn at their own pace; learning by helping each other, from each other, and working with each other. Emphasis is not laid on grades, but on strong understanding of the subject. Free from the stress of examination, children participate in the learning process joyfully. To provide a stress free educative experience is what Maya Mohan, a well known educationist and ex-principal of Chinmaya Vidyalaya intends to do. An intention that materialised in the form of “Tattwa Centre Of

At Ukti, children are allowed to be children and not hurried to become adults before their time. They are allowed to learn what they wish to learn at their own pace. Academics is presented in a well-rounded manner by inviting the head, heart, and hands of the child. Broadening the focus beyond the intellect, children learn with their full selves, engaging their thoughts, feelings and movement. This holistic approach ensures that every child develops a lifelong love for learning without compromising their physical and mental health and well-being.

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FEATURE Tagore believed that every person is a genius; all students may not bloom at the same time, however, if given their space would grow to amazing heights. So, he devised a new system of learning in his university, Visva-Bharati, where students and teachers bonded in a healthy relationship. Teaching here is not limited to imparting lessons based on what the teacher intends, but what the student demands. The courses are continued till both the student and his teacher are satisfied. His ideas and outlook towards education has been adopted by these alternative schools, which are now receiving recognition from parents worldwide. Most parents now prefer to admit their children in these alternative schools that follow Montessori or Waldorf system of education. Montessori system of education was developed in 1897 by an Italian physician, Maria Montessori who firmly believed that independence and respect for the child’s psychological, physical, and social development are crucial to educate him. A child can’t be taught by direct instructions, rather by providing him an environment to interact whereby he engages himself in his psychological development. An environment is designed in accordance with the child’s interest to facilitate his understanding and learning capacity spontaneously. An ideal education system must be based on this principle, as observed by Montessori during her extensive research on the domain.

Learning” in Kochi, where students are taught mass communication, spoken English and yoga in addition to their regular subjects. The centre not only caters to their interests, but also designs internship programmes for their benefit. Though not completely exempt from assessment, these schools, evaluate the child’s performance only to know his level of learning and not passing remarks or judgement on his capability to learn. It’s only the child who matters to them. All the activities in these schools, the curriculum, the learning material, even the timelines for completing the syllabus are formulat-

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ed in accordance with the child’s pace of learning. Discouraging the rote method of learning currently in vogue, alternative schools offer an approach that breaks free from the shackles of textbooks. The curriculum is built and modified in view of the needs and contexts of students learnings. The idea of alternative education has gained momentum in the last few years, but, the foundation was laid back early in 20th century by Shri Rabindranath Tagore. He said, "I do not remember what I was taught, I only remember what I learnt", justifying what Gandhiji had said about education.

January 2017

iBambini pre-school in Gurgaon and Panchatanta are few schools that have set examples by adopting the Montessori principles of teaching that respects the individuality of each child. Even though the flaws of formal schooling and its impact on child’s psychology have been realised recently, the seeds of alternate method of teaching had started flourishing in 19th century itself. Yet another alternative system gaining momentum is the Waldorf system, preached by Rudolf Steiner, who says “Where is the book in which the teacher can read about what teaching is? The children themselves are this book. We should not learn to teach out of any book other than the one lying open before us and consisting of the children themselves.” He strongly condemned the idea of child assessment through standard-


ized exams, which he maintained must be preserved for admission in colleges. He based his educational philosophy pertaining to the three developmental stages of childhood. What is the ultimate purpose of education? The only goal is to develop free, morally responsible, and integrated individuals equipped with a high degree of social competence.

Inodai Waldorf School

A goal which can only be accomplished by breaking free from the stereotype mentality of looking at education as a means of survival and not thriving. The first Waldorf School was inaugurated in Germany with others like Gurukula, Sloka, Aarambh, Ukti and many others following the trail. Certain parents however, take their own path and prefer to teach their kids at home. The reasons for shifting to this alternative method of education may vary amongst parents, but, one thing which is common is dissatisfaction with the current mode of education and an endeavour to give their kids the best. Questioning the routine practice by parents who prefer putting their child in pre-nursery classes to prepare him or herr for school interviews, Ruchi Kaushik, a doctor didn’t follow the parade. Instead, she opted to teach her son, Saras at home, more so when she realised his intellectual sharpness. Vidya Shanker in Chennai has a different story to narrate. Her son was frequently humiliated by the teachers for his bad hand-writing. This prompted her to take off her son from school and teach him at home. Her experience prompted her to join hands with others faced with a similar situation and set up “a learning space” for home-schooled children in Chennai. Schools nowadays are not schools, they are prisons, says Vidya Shanker. Ann Manning, one of the first home schoolers in Mumbai wanted to raise her children with the values of charity and compassion, not cut- throat competitions encouraged in schools. Mathew Peedikayil, another homeschooler in Mumbai, feels that the lessons taught at school are just mugged up by children to pass an examination; they don’t get an opportunity to interact with peers of different age. Nevertheless, real life is not mugging,

True, number of alternative schools is indeed a drop in the ocean. Why? It is the mindset of the people. The need to change even if it is felt by many, the courage to enter into such schools is lacking. People doubt whether an alternative system of schooling will make their children capable of dealing with the world. This is due to lack of understanding of WHAT is the True Task of Education? Though I say that it is difficult for alternative schools to bridge this huge gap of numbers, it is heartening to see that more and more people today are searching for alternative schooling. We have lost our roots of the traditional Indian system and have blindly held on to the conventional British education. And moreover the post-independence Government maintained the status quo rather than bringing in the system that enabled young minds to make life meaningful.

January 2017

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FEATURE it’s more about interacting socially with different people of different age groups; the reality overlooked by schools today.

aptly named “unschoolers”, believe that travelling provides the right kind of stimulus and material for selfdirected learning in children.

because she always felt that their creativity, freedom, and risk taking ability would not find a parallel match in schools.

Namita Iyer, Bangalore, chose to teach her 3 year old at home, motivated by the incompetence of formal schools in dealing with exceptionally bright or below average students. Formal schooling is for those who fit in the dome, but for those who want to explore their talent, polish their skills and learn to be independent, they are unrewarding and useless.

The underlying thesis of all these methodologies is that children are natural learners, and if given the right resources, they will pick up skills and abilities with minimal interference. Traditional homeschooling generally follows the same structured curriculum taught in schools, but from the comfort of their homes, and at their own pace. This does not provide the complete benefits of alternative education.

Ask about her children’s future and how “unschooling” has affected them, she proudly claims her daughter Sahya to be one of the three trained Eurythmists (an art form developed by Rudolf Steiner) in the country.

However, by opting to teach their child at home, the parents ensure that they do not drift apart from the main stream. They either follow the CBSE curriculum or the one designed by the state board. For quantitative assessment, they prefer to appear for IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary education) or NIOS (National Institute of Open Learning). Ranked under these homeschoolers, on another end, we have parents that have completely given up schooling as a mode of learning for their kids. They break free from the rigid curriculum followed in schools or at home for teaching; rather adopt a different technique whereby children learn through travelling and trekking across the globe. Though not completely shoving off academics, these home-schoolers,

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Expressing these views about traditional home- schooling, Urmila Samson who runs a network of homeschoolers in Pune, says that many families in the network have a very academic focus. They would outline the activities of the day for the child and make him undergo rigorous tests. Then, what’s the difference between formal schools and home-schooling, if you revert to their methods at home, asks Samson. In direct contrast, there are parents who decide to homeschool their children and make them learn through travel. Maintaining absolute confidence in her approach towards child education, she never sent her 3 children, Sahya, Ryan, and Niom to school

January 2017

She was accepted for admission to the course in UK despite being a non attendant at school and never ever appearing for any examination.Her son Ryan would be appearing for IGCSE exams (equivalent to class 10), his first exam so far and Niom would attend a self-designed course at Swaraj University. Rita Wig, a tutor in Delhi, however, defends the necessity of school environment for the personal development of children. She says “Schools offer social adjustment” and all the more, have begun to shift from conventional and rote methods of learning to healthier relations between teachers and students; acknowledging the role of internet in teaching and learning. “Schools are a monoculture” replies Samson to clear the doubt regarding efficacy of home-schooling. Children need an environment where they can interact freely with their peers, a secluded environment in the lap of


nature to completely.

learn

and

flourish

Formal schooling doesn’t serve this purpose, limits their learning and doesn’t prepare them to face the uncertainties in the world. She declines the commonly held notion about home-schooled children being ill-mannered and having limited career opportunities. Talking about career, she believes, “Life is moving at a fast pace, so much so, that about 70% jobs in the year 2030 haven’t been invented yet.” Indeed, a philosophical and an optimistic quote by Samson.

Samarth School Jaipur

In agreement with Samson, Ayushi Pandey, a 14 year old from New Delhi proudly boasts of her achievements; those that have been achieved through home-schooling. A jazz dancer, self taught sketch artist, guitarist, swimmer, and blogging are the skills you can attribute to her. Above all, she is a young author of a science fiction novel ‘Okozbo’. She owes all her achievements to her parents who decided to play a risk with home-schooling rather than conventional schools. Learning through travelling has an added advantage of learning amidst nature, as maintained by our education philosophers. Most schools preaching the alternative mode of education are surrounded by an extensive cover of greenery and rivers. This alternative school located in the Palani hills of Tamil Nadu portrays itself as ‘a centre for holistic learning’. One of its kind, the school focuses on education and teaching students about wildlife, carpentry, farming, and sustainable energy. Learning in the lap of nature provides an environment for the holistic development of the child, whereby he learns to respect the natural resources and how to utilise them for the benefit of humanity. This is especially important in today’s world when we are facing turmoil in our surrounding environment, to teach our future generations to be a saviour and not misuse the natural resources.

“Alternative schools celebrate the uniqueness of a child. They want uniformity. It should be celebrated instead of moulding everyone in the same mould. Parents are frustrated. Lot of hard work goes into everything still no guarantees. Schools feel they have failed. The same structure extends from Ist to 12th. How is it possible both have same needs.? “

Besides, the best part is the recognition of home-schooling as legal under the Right to Education Act by the Ministry of Education. The resurgence of home-schooling can be predicted by a growing community of home-schoolers in India says Navin Pangti, who manages Swashikshan, the website of the Indian Association of Home-schoolers. The numbers have grown in the past five-seven years and would continue to grow.

January 2017

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EVENT WRAP UP ScooNews brings you some of the happiest moments from Educarnival 2016 and interviews with a few notable thought leaders from the field of education

EDUCARNIVAL

2016

Vanya Bhandari Lodha

writeback@scoonews.com

A

week before Educarnival 2016, Ravi - my boss entered my cabin and gave me the news that ScooNews team has to go to Delhi on 8th of December to attend and cover a three day conference in IIT Delhi as media partners. I was super excited. Then the day came and we loaded the car boot with cartons of ScooNews magazines and all packed to go. Three hours to Gurugram followed by another two and half to IITDelhi. Phew… It was 9th Dec and Educarnival 2016 was to begin. Sharp on time we reached the venue. I was nervous and didn’t know what to expect out of the conference, but to my astonishment, these three days blew me away with an unforgettable experience. The entire team was given the itinerary booklet and was delegated their individual tasks. Mine was to attend various seminars and pen down the keynotes from every speaker and later take one-on-one interview of the few selected. We shortlisted the sessions that we wanted to attend. Inaugural

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speech had to be delivered by Dr. Harish Chaudhary. We met him briefly, over dinner the previous night. He seemed like an ordinary man, like any other professor at IIT would be. Not that I had met too many before that I can judge or comment. But when he started his speech, I was mesmerised. With his real life examples, anecdotes and analogies the audience seemed extremely engaged. Amazing, I thought to myself and reassured the faith that there is no doubt that IIT-ians are extraordinary. When my parents wanted me to get married and asked my opinion of my life-partner, my only perquisite was that he should be from IIT, though I ended up marrying a graduate! Well, let bygones be bygones. Coming back to Dr. Chaudhary, I was waiting for his next session to begin and was very excited about hearing him once again. I was behaving childlike to get a picture with him, to be able to speak to him and lastly to get away with my nervousness of interviewing him. He spoke about education-without-value and the need of the hour, which according to him was an overall holistic approach through education for today’s generation. Another

January 2017

remark was on how the joint families played an important role in the child’s development? I highlighted all his sessions with a marker so that I don’t miss on any. Besides Dr Chaudhary there were Matthew Raggett, Tiina Malste and Rick Smith whose sessions I shortlisted to attend. Rick is from US - the land of opportunities. He spoke about the two-by-ten strategy and explained it saying that it is all about how a notorious kid who drives the teacher nuts should be spoken to, daily for 2 minutes for a period of ten days. A personal conversation which forms an ongoing connection between the two, in turn will help the child to focus better. He even drew our focus on how the volume, tone and posture of the teacher matters in a classroom? At this point I thought, “Are the teachers in India listening?” He ended on the importance of VISUALS when dealing with or teaching children as opposed to, or in exchange of repeating something to deaf ears. This can be assisted with fun activities and productivity, resulting in increased focus. Matthew Raggett is the head master of The Doon School. After his seminar, the


W first thing which struck me was that in spite of being the headmaster of one of the most prestigious boarding schools of India, how could he be so humble? His thought provoking session was an eye-opener. He said, “Anyone can build a school but school is not just a building with rooms and furniture because these act more as barriers. Teachers and their relationship with students is what make these buildings a school. Schools are made-up of the support of the principal/ headmaster at the bottom and not, in considering themselves the head which can be shown or done by being available, accessible, seen in the corridors as the very first thing in the morning and arriving before the teachers and students. He added that the teachers are the most important resource but how often are they learning or evolving? Resolving this, at The Doon School we have introduced a ninety minute session for teachers on every Wednesday from April onwards.” Finnish children don’t go to school till the age of 7 and school starts at 9 am. They don’t have assessments until grade 12th. “Is Finland a part of this world?” I thought to myself. Tiina Malste spoke about the amazing Finnish system of education, where the children learn for life.

My take away from this event I always dreamt of an egalitarian society. There was a constant conflict between my choice of an IGCSE program and CBSE program for my son. I as a mother of an 11 year old have a lot of doubts and questions on the Indian education system, where society expects all 40 children to perform well academically, making them machines of sorts. What will happen if they do not get admission in a reputed college which will not be possible because of an insane level of cut off ? What will happen if they do not get a job in an MNC with an envious package? It’s a vicious cycle, when 30 children out of a class get an average result, they are meant to believe they are incompetent. We all need to ask, is education leading to a society with insecure individuals? Suicides have become daily news in India. We really need to restructure the education system in India. I hope the events like Educarnival can be a medium for change in Indian education system. I caught up with many thought leaders in the field of education to have a tête-à-tête. I reproduce all my conversations here and bring you some of the happiest moments from the venue.

e were pleased to be a part of Educarnival 2016 held at IIT Delhi as media partners to the event. Educarnival, as usual a muchawaited annual event had an exciting start with an eloquent account of the challenges being faced by today's teachers. The event discussed a number of issues facing the schools, teaching and learning. While some speakers talked about the very pertinent issue of decreased attention span, others laid emphasis on using more visuals, short content and videos as part of the teaching strategy.

Dr Harish Chaudhary, asst. professor of management studies at IIT Delhi and a key person behind Educarnival 2016 said in his inimitable humorous style that today's education is one without value. ScooNews caught up with him and many more thought leaders in the field of education to have a tête-à-tête. We reproduce all here and bring you some of the happiest moments from the venue and interviews with a few notable thought leaders from the field of education.

The writer is Vice President at ScooNews.

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EVENT WRAP UP

Group photo of school leaders

January 2017

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Happy faces at Educarnival Rick Smith

Tiina Malste at a session

January 2017

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EVENT WRAP UP

(L-R) Dr Harish Chaudhary, Matthew Raggett, Debashis Chatterjee

Research Scholars at IIT-Delhi

Selfie Time!

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Lucky Draw Winners!

January 2017


8 questions with Manish Sisodia

Dr Kunal Kala in a parallel session

From Kabir in Pandav Nagar to Right to Information to meeting Arvind Kejriwal and finally Deputy Chief Minister - this is an amazing transition. Do you feel you will be able to bring about such a transition to education ever? Yes the change is inevitable. People’s way of thinking is changing. Children are beginning to think afresh. Would I be around or not, the transition would definitely come. You have been a journalist too. Looking at the education scenario in India, what do you feel ails it and who can mend it? We don't consider education as education. We consider education as human resource. If we plot a graph on crimes happening around the globe, we would see that crimes are committed more by educated than uneducated class. This also applies to terrorism. There are more educated terrorists than uneducated ones. We are working towards the upliftment of education, but we have to look into it as a nation and as a society. What are your plans on education, say in Delhi schools, for the next one year on primary, secondary and tertiary levels and what has been achieved so far? Plan, infrastructure, management have been our achievable areas. We have brought about a transformation in maintenance of school infrastructure. We want quality education and we have seen perceptible changes in school principals. So that means you are changing infrastructure first; then you will change education? You can't talk of education without proper infrastructure. It will be asking a person standing in mud to educate himself. You recently said principals of government-run schools can appoint retired teachers whereas recruitment of teachers is government's job - isn't this passing the buck. No, this is not passing the buck. We have simply empowered principals. Now principal-teacher relationship will not be government-dependent. Can principals hire retired teachers? Yes. So what about thousands of BEd and TET Qualified people already waiting for jobs in Delhi? No, principals can’t yet take them as resource persons. What will be the effect of demonetisation on education? Demonetisation is destroying the country.

Rick Smith

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INTERVIEW

Tiina Malste

Lead Expert, Educluster, Finland

Tell us something about yourself? How far do you want me to go? (Smiles) So what do you do? Currently I am working for EduCluster, Finland, which is a company owned by three major public educational institutions in my city. The Jyväskylä Educational Consortium, the expertise of this organisation, is behind us. We are developing education, with partners, throughout the world. We believe in partnerships. We help our partners, whether they are public schools or nations. I am a lead expert, I collaborate with partners. We want to utilise the Finnish expertise in education to help them develop their educational aids. It is my first time in India. Finnish education system is dubbed as unorthodox, does that mean it is unlike the traditional one which is prevalent everywhere else. Yes, we are doing educational things quite differently from the rest of the world, of course there are some similarities, between some education systems, but the basis of our system is quite different. What major differences have you felt between Indian and Finnish education system? Just doing my workshop today, although I mentioned at least 2 things and that is

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we are quite far from each other. Firstly, the position of the teacher in Finland. In Finland, a teacher is considered as the most important success factor, highly qualified and educated, same as in India, but not under control or surveillance. Instead, there is full trust and freedom to work in classrooms. Teachers are autonomous and are free to make decisions. Another big difference is assessment. The assessment system differs quite heavily and is different from the rest of the world. We have a test only in the end of year 12, that too, regulated by schools and teachers, no national assessment until then. The teachers know how to find out the outcome of learning. So there are no exams? No, our students are not learning for tests but learning for life. Do you feel there are certain gaps in Indian education system that need to be looked into urgently? What I am hearing here, though I don’t know the Indian education system well enough in order to give a sweeping statement, but lot has to be done about. Teachers are not committed to stay, also it is to be seen how motivated they are. The teachers are ready, if offered a slightly better salary, they will move.

January 2017

How many different models of education were tried before the present one became successful? Our comprehensive school was introduced in early 1970s. For forty years now we have been, developing the present system which is one school for all. Before that we had parallel systems. From early 1970s we are sticking to the same system. We have a very strong belief, we are in the right path and we are evolving. Satisfaction is the killer of development Children in Finland do not begin school until age 7, why is it so and how does it help? Children should be allowed to be children, allowed to play, no academics, no reading and writing skills. The important way to learn is through playful activities. Actually there has been international pressure for redefining the age but we have not felt the need to change. How was your experience at the Educarnival? I have been to many countries in Asia and conferences too, but this one has surprised me. Firstly the topics and the understanding is very similar, just implementing them is different. The professional attitude is delightful. The participants are eager, hungry to change, it is delightful. Willingness to learn is amazing. Will keep coming to India.


Himanshu Srivastava

Chief Executive Officer, Eduexcellence

Matthew Raggett Headmaster, The Doon School

What brings you to India? I have worked in several countries and I am fascinated to learn about people in places and as my children were getting older, we were looking for a bit interesting place. I wanted the craziness. The complexity that India offers is a beautiful blend. Also it would be a change in culture. Some schools in India are for profit making schools, so it had to be the right school. Then Doon came up and I took the offer. Since you have worked in different countries, where do you think they have built better schools? There are so many examples. There are great schools here too. But I think Germany where I worked for 7 years has very good schools; like we heard in Finland schools are good too. I have worked in Singapore for 4 years, there are some great schools but memory testing and rote learning is prevalent and there is a culture of competition, which is not very attractive. Like we are dropping the ICSE board and taking Cambridge, as it invites the children to think. Speaking in Indian context, is it important to build better schools in urban or rural India? I think in this country it really starts from teacher training. Who cares where you built school, if you are not showing how to equip teachers which is the key to maintaining democracy. Then you built schools and put great teachers in them, it is the biggest investment that matters –as in the biggest investment should be in the teachers not the structure etc. What in your opinion is an ideal 21st century school? To work collaboratively with students, well trained teachers, enough to be trusted. The notion of competing and reaching university should not be the aim. I have great deal of respect for the liberal art colleges which find the link between the potential of a student and the college.

Did the conference go as planned? Well the conference is going well. We have around 800 people coming here, there are two parallel conferences going on. We have speakers coming from 4 countries and various states and cities of India and the participants have come from across the country. So the exchange of ideas has not been just one way, there have been a lot of group discussions. We are getting ideas from the Practitioners themselves. From the stakeholders, from the people who are on the ground. So the ideas which we are getting are from all sides. Is there an increase in the participants every year? Well we have a linear graph till now. We started at around 700 and this time we have 800 so the good thing is that it hasn’t dipped. The people who are coming are learning. We’re getting a lot of feedbacks. We change the structure of the conference every year so that the learning increases. There are a lot of parallel workshops where people can have intimate one to one discussions. We’ll also come up with a book, which will have all the ideas that we’ve generated here, not just the papers we received before the conference but also the ideas which were conceived here. When will be the book out? It’ll be around 4 months from now. What plans for the next conference? The next one will be in IIT Madras and then we’re planning one in Mumbai as well around July

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INTERVIEW

Rick Smith

Author & Teacher Trainer, California, USA

Teachers are meant to teach, right? So, why should they be taught? That’s funny! It’s kind of like doctors have to do professional development otherwise they’ll be like dentists who would be pulling teeth by putting a string on the tooth . Teachers are professionals and they need to continue to grow and learn. When teachers are talking to each other, they are learning from each other and sharing. And also changing the needs of the children? Yes, and even if certain things don’t change over time, some things do, but even if they didn’t change, teachers would still need to learn, constantly brushing up and getting inspired and trying out new strategies and sharing their successes. It’s a complex profession and it requires a lot of passion and input, over time. You’ve lectured teachers of different countries, who do you feel are most receptive to your strategies of change? Ha Ha Ha Ha. Everybody! Um, well, I was just trying to sum up earlier that when I was beginning as a teacher, I struggled in classroom management, and so in a certain sense, my classroom management strategies were written and designed for beginning teachers, and they’re the ones who struggle the most in management and some other ones benefit the most. I get lots of feedback from foreign teachers saying that I wish I had this years ago, but if you were to pick a category, it’s the beginning teachers across the world, that will benefit the most, and geographically, honestly I keep being delightfully shocked; whenever I go to new countries, people seem to really like the strategy and I’m learning. There are millions of different details that matter and change but the essence of it is behaviour and how to hold your ground and it’s the way it invites cooperation and it seems to get across the world. What have been your experiences with Indian teachers so far? How many times have you been here? It is my second time and I was in Chennai six months ago. My experi-

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ence of Indian teachers is that I haven’t seen classrooms. I’ve never been to a classroom so I don’t know how they teach but from the conferences my experience is that the teachers are very hungry for the good stuff that works and they’re appreciable when they get stuff that works. I love teaching here; I really enjoyed the both workshops I’ve done. The response, the receptiveness, the goodwill is extraordinary. I might get the same in the United States occasionally, but this is like large groups of people, and so happy you’re here kind of thing. You know, it feels great! It really, really is making a difference. And that’s very exciting. And I thing that’s the magic of working with Indian teachers is that there’s something, some respect and some appreciation that I’m really noticing. Like you said that we’ve been changing our education system, like the boards, the examination and the assessments, so what do you think, the teachers are ready at this point to change and put this in action? I think that, regardless of what culture you’re from, if what is shared works and is easy to implement, the teachers are ready. There are a couple things here. One is that if you’re asking teachers to make quick changes, it’s not realistic. Because teachers are pouring out 100% of their energy, so very small changes, over time actually accelerates the changes radically. I always tell teachers, look, we’re going to try something new, we’re going to teach you secondary, try for one class, your favourite class, one thing, see how it works, work it out then try with other classesand then try something new. That’s the first thing, it is the implementation that if it’s overwhelming, it’s not gonna work. The second thing is that I have a particular passion that I didn’t express in the workshop. It’s that I want to see the lectures be shorter, and I want to see teachers pausing and giving kids a chance to engage actively with the material. So, as an example, when we’re done with this interview, I could ask you what do you remember from what I just said Yeah, presentation skills, it’s like you see when I speak and I think it really matters, as much as for the show, it engages the learner and I would love to see that all across the world. And I didn’t know if I would be controversial but when I say that it’s our job as teachers to step back and be the mature one, and give the students a chance to say at face, you know, you don’t need to do that. We’re not going to have our power diminished. It’s the opposite.

January 2017


You are trained in TQM. Does or should TQM also apply to school teachers and principals? YES. TQM as a philosophy is as applicable to schools as to any other activity. The basis of TQM is process control rather than the quality assessment of the finished product. Evaluating the finished product (say, board exams) is a postmortem with little or no feedback/suggestions for improvement. If we keep on improving and perfecting the teachinglearning process, the outcomes are bound to improve. What is just that one thing related to behavior which Indian school teachers and/ or principals have to seriously work on? The principals need to pro-actively reduce the power-distance between themselves and the teachers. They must have an open door policy with the teachers, have their cup of tea in the staff room and empower teachers. The teachers must interact more with the parents and work as a team with the parents for the child's welfare. You can do substantial research on values and quality in education. What have you found - does Indian education system qualify on one or both by any means? It would be erroneous to generalize. Whereas we may see the Indian education system as a whole in terms of legal structures, India is a very, very diverse nation. There is a huge rural-urban divide, there is a huge chasm between the haves and the have -nots, so perhaps it would be appropriate to see India in segments. The educational objectives of each of these segments would significantly differ from each other. Perhaps, the most important segment from a nation building perspective is the set of schools that cater to the 'aspiring middle class', typically the mid-range English medium private schools. My understanding of the schooling system is also largely limited to these schools. In general, there is an intent to provide quality education as well as inculcate values in children, but they are often caught in the processes, curriculum and administrative issues. There is a crying need to convert the intention into practices and focus on quality and values. What does the success of a school largely depend on and how do we measure success in the first place? The success of the school depends on the school principal. The ability of the principal to enrol the management, have a vision, set goals, inspire teachers and involve the parents determines the school's success. The short term measure of the success of a school is the degree of happiness and achievement of the children. The long term measure is alumni performance. Many parents complain that Indian school education system has turned abusive. Do you agree? No. I do not agree with this statement. Such parents need to put more faith in the teachers. How much should parental involvement in schools be or not be? Parents must be involved in the school system. Every parent wants their child to succeed and the school must acknowledge their intent. We must differentiate between involvement and interference. Who in your opinion is a good student, a good teacher and a good principal? A good student is one who disagrees with the teacher. A good teacher is one who permits disagreement in the class and a good principal is one who is sensitive to the child, teacher and parents.

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Dr. Harish Chaudhary Asst. Professor , IIT-Delhi


TAKE2 Problem When you can solve a problem, why should you worry? When you cannot solve a problem, just ignore and don’t worry.

Vanilla Did you know, 80 percent of vanilla flavoured food (including the ice cream and essence) is made artificially, because natural vanilla beans are very expensive.

Kangaroo Did you know, Kangaroos cannot walk backwards!

Potato Did you know, potato, the delicious and favourite veggie of children is the staple food in many countries and is the most cultivated vegetable across the globe.

Venus Venus is the only planet in the solar system that rotates clockwise, whereas all other planets rotate anti-clock wise.

Lipsticks Lighter Did you know; the lighter was invented long back before the matchbox and matchsticks were invented.

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Lipsticks are not vegan cosmetics! More than 95 percent of lipsticks contain fish scales!

January 2017


Rabbits and Parrots

Hands and Feet Bones Hands and feet have more than half of the bones in the human body.

Did you know that rabbits and parrots can see what is behind them without turning their heads.

Volcanoes Did you know that Australia is the only continent in the world that has no volcanoes.

Honey Did you know that there is no expiry date to honey! The edible food remains good forever until used otherwise, like using a wet spoon!

Dolphin Names Did you know that just like us, Dolphins have unique names. What could be their language? The study is published in the National Academy of Sciences Proceedings.

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TAKE2 READ Danny McGee Drinks the Sea by Andy Stanton Hardcover. Kindle Publication: 03 November, 2016 Andy Stanton, that maestro of absurdity, teams up with Neal Layton, an illustrator who also has a direct line to preposterousness, to create a picture book that takes a simple idea and follows it to a superbly irrational logical conclusion. Brother and sister Danny and Frannie are enjoying a day by the sea when, inspired by its sparkly blue vastness, Danny decides he’ll drink it. Challenged by Frannie he does, and then he goes on to swallow more and more things – trees, mountains, the author of the book (you can see him writing away inside Danny’s stomach), America - until there’s no more to see. But then he makes his mistake. If you need a moral, it’s probably never underestimate your siblings, but best enjoy it as a glorious, liberating exploration of the ludicrous!

The Giant's Necklace by By Michael Morpurgo Harcover, 80 pages Former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo’s short story is a small gem. Part adventure, part ghost story it slips easily between past and present as a little girl, determined to collect all the shells she needs for a giant necklace she is making, gets caught on the rocks by an unexpected storm. Cherry thinks she can keep above the powerful waves and make her way home safely especially when she finds an old mine shaft and some kindly miners. But has she really beaten the sea? Michael Morpurgo’s ability to hold an audience spellbound is displayed at its best here.

Word of Mouse by By James Patterson Paperback, 304 page Publication 01 December, 2016 There are fast-moving, grab-you-by-the-eyeballs-first-page-in reads, then there’s James Patterson! Boy, does this man know how to tell a story in a way that hooks kids and keeps them glued to the story to the end! His new hero Isaiah is a little mouse with a huge vocabulary and determination to match. Escaped from a laboratory, Isaiah is the only one of his 96 siblings to evade recapture, and even though he’s bright blue, he manages to stay on the run, eventually freeing his brothers and sisters. He narrates his story in breathless no-nonsense prose that lets readers know exactly what’s going on, and how he feels. It’s peppered with his funny comments, while each chapter begins with a wonderfully grandiloquent Isaiahism. Regular black and white illustrations increase the excitement even further. Give this mouse a home!

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January 2017


WATCH 20th Century Women

Snowden

Initial release : December 28, 2016 (USA)

Release date : September 15, 2016 (Russia)

Authors : Rosalie Ham, (novel), P.J. Hogan (novel), Jocelyn Moorhouse (screenplay)

Authors : Kieran Fitzgerald (screenplay), Oliver Stone (screenplay), Anatoly Kucherena (book), Luke Harding (book)

Director : Mike Mills Music director : Roger Neill Screenplay : Mike Mills Producers : Megan Ellison, Anne Carey, Youree Henley Starring : Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig Love and loss go hand in hand in “20th Century Women,” a funny, emotionally piercing story about a teenager and the women who raise him. It opens in 1979, when cool kids danced to Talking Heads (“This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco”) and President Carter bummed everyone out talking about our “crisis of confidence.” There’s something in the air — or so it seems, although the California light here tends to blot out the shadows. When a car bursts into flames soon after the movie opens, it looks about as threatening as an art installation. Apocalypse later, man.

The Dressmaker Release date : October 1, 2015 (Australia) Author : Rosalie Ham Director : Jocelyn Moorhouse Box office : 24.11 million USD

Director : Oliver Stone Box office : 34.3 million USD Executive producers : Tom Ortenberg, James D. Stern, more Producers : Moritz Borman, Eric Kopeloff, Philip Schulz-Deyle, Fernando Sulichin For a director who customarily tackles subjects with the approach of a gorilla playing American football, Oliver Stone’s take on whistleblower Edward Snowden seems curiously muted. Audiences who are already familiar with Citizenfour, Laura Poitras’s exemplary documentary on the same subject, will be struck by the fact that, in dramatising Snowden’s story, Stone seems to have leached out much of the drama. The aim was clearly to create an All the President’s Men for the age of cyber-surveillance. But somehow the sense of peril is downplayed, diluted by too much inert exposition and pacing that could be tighter. Playing Edward Snowden, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is one of the film’s main assets. His character’s ferocious intelligence is signposted with cheap details – he is forever fiddling with a Rubik’s cube and has a nerd’s enthusiasm for arcane enciphering equipment. But Snowden’s intellect is most effectively conveyed in Gordon-Levitt’s eyes – watchful, sober and clouded by doubt, they are a window into his impossible ethical quandary.

Awards : AACTA Award for Best Lead Actress, more Screenplay : Jocelyn Moorhouse, P. J. Hogan Starring : Kate Winslet, Judy Davis, Liam Hemsworth There’s something chokingly terrible about this film, with its two-hour accumulation of sentimentality building to a pure, clanging wrongness in the tonally misjudged mix of unfunny smalltown comedy and unconvincing smalltown tragedy. Kate Winslet does her best, but there’s nothing she can do with this unbearable and unbearably long movie. She plays Myrtle Dunnage, returning to her dusty Australian hometown in the early 1950s: she is a fashionista, a dressmaker with experience of Paris and Milan: haughty, glorious and glamorous, carrying her Singer sewing machine like a gunfighter with his pistol. It seems the mean-minded, petty population drove her out of town when she was just a kid, for reasons finally and tiresomely revealed in flashback. So now she has a score to settle with one and all, including her cantankerous old mum (Judy Davis) and nasty schoolteacher (Kerry Fox) – but she also finds sympathy from fashion-conscious police officer Sergeant Barrat (Hugo Weaving) and gorgeous semi-clothed neighbour Teddy (Liam Hemsworth).

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CONTENTS

25

14 COVER How Social Media Smart are today’s Kids?

COOK IT OUT : Do you ever help your mom to cook?

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12 INTROSPECTION : Holding on to the reading tradition Do we need another Harry Potter?

PASTIME : 9 activities that you can take up this winter

40 Diplomacy : Model United Nations (MUN) Have you experienced one?

MOTIVATION : Do you know Richard Branson’s first venture was a school magazine?

32 EVENT WRAP UP Alto Delhi Comic Con 2016 held in Delhi

PRINCIPALS ON BOARD Dear principals, your views matter to us. Do write in. Is holiday homework necessary for students? In what ways can children be engaged during the summer vacation? How do you think children should spend their holidays? Principals can send 150-200 word responses to editor@scoonews.com, along with their photographs. They should also mention their name, school, address and contact details.

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Volume 1

Issue 6 January 2017 IGNITING MINDS

Children must be taught how to think, not what to think Margaret Mead

STRAIGHT PRINTED AND PUBLISHED by Ravi Santlani on behalf of EduPulse Media Pvt. Ltd

Editor Dr. Sanjay Parva Assistant Editor Neha Jain Reporter Ashima Sharma, Anuj Kr. Website Team Vaibhav Ramchandani, Pranav Sharma, Ojas Godatwar, Gaurang Mandhana Art Direction Rexsu Cherry Design CP Sharma Editorial Advisor Shobhita Rajgopal, Meenakshi Uberoi, Neeta Bali

CEO & Co-Founder Ravi Santlani Vice President Vanya Bhandari Asst Manager Sales Jaspreet Kaur

EDITORIAL OFFICE EduPulse Media Pvt Ltd, J-3, Jhalana Institutional Area, Second Floor, Jaipur 302004 India Email: editor@scoonews.com FOR ALL SALES QUERIES Jaspreet Kaur: +91-9784447860 sales@scoonews.com FOR SUBSCRIPTION +91-9784447860 subscribe@scoonews.com PRINTED AT Navpack & Print, Dainik Navajyoti Building, Amrapali Circle, Vaishali Nagar, Jaipur 302021 India, www.navpacknprint.com and PUBLISHED AT EduPulse Media Pvt Ltd, J-3, Jhalana Institutional Area, Second Floor, Jaipur 302004 India

TALK

Dr. Sanjay Parva

Are high grades that important?

A

sk this question to someone who has missed a college admission because of poor grades; he would say ‘yes grades are very important’. Ask this question to someone, like Bill Gates, who dropped out of college and still ended up being the wealthiest guy around, he would say they really aren't, but, as he had once remarked, ‘that doesn't mean you would stay out of school’. There are both sides of the opinion and frankly the question cannot be answered in a yes or no. So as you go on reading this editorial, I might disappoint you, but I have certain important things to tell. Many students link A+ grade to high levels of success, and many more link low grades as a negative factor towards being unsuccessful in life. Both are wrong. Getting high grades in school guarantee you admission to a good college and then further to a good professional degree and later a good placement. Getting low grades might not get you as much, but it is up to you how you handle such a situation. Good grades are not the only passport to being successful; you need many more qualities for that – most importantly character and attributes as a good human being. Character is having the spirit of teamwork, grit, creativity, determination and curiosity. Most of you must have watched 3 Idiots, the Aamir Khan movie. A bunch of students not interested in studies, but having different passions; eventually they follow the passions and become successful in life. Sure, had they not followed their passions, they would always have struggled with their grades. And turned sad on poor ones! Every student cannot have good grades. In a class of 40 students, only 4 or 5 are the ones who get the best grades. Rest don't. Some of them brood over their inability to get A+ and waste most of time thinking on how to jump from a C to a B or to an A. They can utilize the same time to nurture their core interests – just as Farhan Qureshi (played by R Madhavan in 3 Idiots) nurtured his and became a successful wildlife photographer. All along remember what Albert Einstein said: Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid". You are a genius. But if your genius doesn't reflect in good grades, it surely is hidden in something else. Find it!

Moral :

Published for the month of January 2017 Total number of pages 100, including Covers

FIND US ON

January 2017

7


PASTIME

9 ACTIVITIES

that you can take up this

WINTER

Winters, that time of the year when getting up early in the morning and getting ready for school becomes a painstaking activity for every school going child. Mere thought of getting out from the warmth of the quilt and facing foggy mornings chills the bones. Yet, we have to gather our strength and face the music. Shorter days also add to the mystery of this season and so most of us end up being polar bears in hibernation. Now the question arises how can we utilise our winters along with enjoying them? There are some things that we might try this season and get the best out of it.

Cooking It sounds funny to say that one can use extra time in the kitchen, but there is no bigger satisfaction than devouring a hot ChocĂł Lava cake or chocolate chips cookie or fried potato chips along with a cup of hot tea. We can have fun while cooking with the entire family involved in the task. Experiment a little, make easy recipes and enjoy cold winter evenings with a little sizzle around you.

DIY We can stay in the comfort of our homes, can use our brains and can get something creative out of our lazy afternoon. There are multiple DIY websites that could help you find what you might love doing. Pick up any long lost activity that you gave up and stick to it. You may pick up knitting or sewing or any other paper craft that catches your interest and get on it. Winters gives you a good excuse to show off the creative you!. It also offers you to use extra time understanding art and showcase online and maybe earn an extra buck for your pocket.

Learn a music INSTRUMENT Another great way of spending winters is by doing it musically. Find that one instrument you always wanted to learn and search for nearest teacher. Sing it all the way. Couple of hours of classes and you can practice home. If in any case you prefer staying at home then internet again solves your problem. Like a fairy godmother (or godfather) it offers multiple online sessions on a paid or free basis. So don’t make the musician in you wait any longer. Grab your guitar or mouthorgan or tabla or whatever instrument you like and start creating some noise, which will eventually become soulful music.

January 2017

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PASTIME Reading Reading is just another thing that one can take up these winters. Nothing soothes like a warm quilt, hot cup of coco and a book. It keeps you safe from the cold of winters and gives you company. Apart from a book, one can also opt for reading online. Web offers us such variety of reads that in case we do not have a hard copy in our hand, then, we can take solace by reading our favorite journal or author online. One can also use this time for studying those sections missed while being in school. Overall, reading is another good thing to do while being home.

Health and beauty Winters are another name for lethargy. Most of the time, we prefer eating and staying warm and ignoring working out and taking care of ourselves; while at home we can pick random fun ways to workout. Again, there are so many different options provided online that could help us in shedding extra pounds in most happening manner. Workouts like Zumba could help you spruce yourself up and can also satisfy you craving for music at the same time.

Learn a dance form Did we speak about Zumba and losing weight? When it comes to dance, many people claim to have left feet. Trust me, it is not about changing a light bulb and petting a dog at the same time. Use winters as a chance and join a dancing session. This will work the best if you take it personally through a real time trainer. Come out of the shadows and join the stage. It is the best and most fun alternative of keeping you active and fit for the season- A hobby that you can keep now and forever.

Board Games

Painting

How many of us remember playing a good game of chess as a child with our father? How about taking out all our board games and reliving our memories once a while. Chess can be one to start with. It is something that could involve your entire family and add more pages in your memory book. A game of chess or monopoly or scrabble, anything will work. It will help sharpen your brain and will add a lot of excitement in dull winters.

There is a painter in all of us. We just have to give him a nudge. Painting could be one of the best things that can be taken during winters. All it takes is some colors and canvas and a lot of imaginations. Let the colors speak about you and yourself and explore the ideas that are left untouched in your mind. Bring them to life on the canvas. Not only will it express you as a person but also it will help you spend winters in best possible way. It is not about a cold season, it is about bringing warmth in the cool of weather. Winters could be the best and the most happening season of the year only if we know how to make them so.

Travel someplace new Now, not all of us are the “stay at home during winters� kinds. Many of us see winters as an opportunity to go someplace out. Why not plan and execute it? Winter afternoons can offer you just the right kind of climate you prefer for hiking or a jungle safari. One should not let it pass for nothing. Don’t let the chill take away the love of nature from you. Plan a travel with your friends and go for a nice walk in the woods (figuratively and literally). Nothing gives comfort better then Mother Earth.

January 2017

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INTROSPECTION

Holding on to the reading tradition

DO WE NEED ANOTHER

HARRY POTTER?

“To be or not to be, is a question to be answered” which could be modified to be made fit for today’s generation saying, “To read or not to read, is a question to be answered”!

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January 2017


ScooNews Correspondent

writeback@scoonews.com

"I

f the mythical Alladin was present in the modern era then the genie would have been undoubtedly the Google, which has again reinstated the point that world is indeed a small ball and any information just a click away". It was an old soliloquy by Shakespeare that said, “To be or not to be, is a question to be answered” which could be modified for today’s generation as, “To read or not to read, is a question to be answered”! There was a time when Oliver Twist or Pip or Hamlet were people we knew as well as we knew ourselves. It was when guillotine of Sydney Carton left us crying our eyes out and when the majestic dragons came to life through Eragon. They were not just novels or some literature that was widely read and appreciated. They were means of understanding a vision as seen by the author. It was about a passion that readers followed and lived not because they wanted to flaunt it, but because they actually loved it. Reading is an activity which can grip you and teleport you to a different world, an activity that could make your brain function differently, a channel that opens several other streams. Sadly, we have to say that it has become a habit which has been restricted to course books or newspaper only. It is no mystery why reading habits have taken a backseat amongst teenagers, thanks to competitiveness that has overburdened them. Reading for them has been limited to course books or competition or for some teenagers it is as much as a newspaper can offer them. But is it enough? Most of the time a child is introduced to reading through school, however, nowadays schools are directing students towards books for mere completion of a project at the most. Such projects are easily available online and can either be purchased or downloaded for free. Just in case if a student decides to do it on his own, then again, reading becomes a process to be followed rather than an activity to be enjoyed at leisure. It is alarming that the habit so keenly taken and religiously followed in the past is being forced upon students.

NZCER research ‘Competent learners at 14’ shows that those teens who enjoy reading are more likely to succeed in school and in their engagement with their various communities and at the same time, Common Sense Media has released the result of their research “Children, Teens and reading” concluding that reading rates have dropped precipitously among adolescents. It is not that kids today dislike reading or prefer taking no interest in it whatsoever. We have all seen the phenomenal effect Harry Potter created in the world. It moved every child. It was just a matter of time before every child wanted to get enrolled in Hogwarts and play Quidditch . The praise for the book and author went as high as The Herald, saying, "I have yet to find a child who can put it down." The enigma of the wizarding world was not left untouched by India either. Harry Potter and his gang became a household name and one of the most anticipated characters. Needless to say that the sequels of the book were massive back to back hits. They were the best sellers and the most awaited onea as well. Irrespective of the fact that the books have been made into movies the charm of books remained intact. This brings us back to our main question, why is it that the teens today are not reading as much as they should? The main reason behind it could be the guardians themselves. In most of the households parents are too busy and reading as an option never dawns to them. Children do what they see. If they are presented with their role model not giving valued time to a book, it is likely that they too will not pick it up as a habit.

perceive it as a boring activity without realizing the essence they are missing. Not many of them relate themselves to reading something that does not cover their school course. In a nutshell they have started taking reading as an activity done at school and limited to the school vicinity. There is another group of children, who prefer buying books and adding them up to their libraries so that they can show it off among their social circle. It sounds weird but it is the truth and as a oractice is spreading hard and fast. When a child is constantly watching TV or playing violent or not so violent videogames, he is risking his brain development. A book helps them relax their mind making it involve in the surroundings offered by the author. Again, the question is what should be the role of “the parents” here? Well! As a parent and a guardian it is our duty to rectify the situation before it’s too late. It is our job to make sure reading is taken as a hobby and not as a burden. We shall not forget that it is an exercise for our brain and helps children in focusing. Every child should be taught that a good read will help them understand an idea or belief different from the world around them. It is our responsibility to make our teens realize that reading helps in developing their imaginations which could benefit them in future. It sounds easy but can prove to be the most difficult task to manoeuvre. However, all we need is to give them a gentle push. A spark of curiosity and it will not be long when children will find themselves surrounded by the characters as historical as Harry Potter all over again.

The main reason behind it is too much involvement of smart phones and computers. Teenagers prefer spending most of the free time being online over social networking, watching TV, chatting over phone etc. Teens today define leisure as time they spend meeting their friends rather staying home tuned to a book. Virtual reality and video games too have spoiled the old world charm of reading and our generation next is paying for it. They

January 2017

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COVER STORY

How

Social Media

Smart are

TODAY’S

KIDS? No matter how much we blame social networking to take away our children’s time, we cannot deny the fact that our generation is coming out much smarter. Where, on one hand, while we were growing up, we were dependent upon knowledge bestowed upon us by our teachers or books or elders, kids today have more exposure through respective social networking sites.

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January 2017


Neha Jain

writeback@scoonews.com

L

iving in the 21st century has its own perks, especially when it comes to the generation Y2K. Born in-between IT revolution, this generation has not only grown up seeing unfathomable gadgets, but has also enjoyed benefit of internet in extreme. Terms like Windows, Virus, Mouse, RAM means all together different to them. Oh yes, they know it all. All and a lot more! Shall we not blame (or rather thank) Internet for it? Internet – Eight words that have changed the scenario upside down. It just takes a click and you are on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, you name it and it has it. Connectivity has never been this easy and the generation today knows it very well.

Not only do they understand various online platforms, but also, they are well aware of how to use it for their benefit, or even detriment. Considering that education system is focusing on search-based studies, it’s not that bad either. Students just have to click and read various in-detailed points over “The Treaty of Versailles” or about “Human Evolution” or about any other topic. You ask what you want and you have it and the young guns are all trained to take the game head on. According to Rosalie O’Neale, who is a senior advisor with the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s Cybersmart Outreach division, for most kids, the experience of being online is a good one. However, around one fifth of eight to

13 year olds reported seeing or experiencing something on the internet in the last year that bothered them. Yet in an another report it was found that most of the time such experiences come across when young children are using sites aimed for older audience.

Staying Online According to a latest study from family technology education non – profit group, Common Sense Media, those between ages 8-12 spend six hours per day and teenagers 13-17 spend almost 9 hours per day on the internet. So what they basically do online? Well! Mostly they prefer staying online to update their Facebook, for gaming, downloading music, watching TV etc.

January 2017

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COVER STORY

What we fail to understand is why bother children to follow our perspective of education when we did not do the same when we came to that age.

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January 2017


However, choices of tweens may differ from teenagers, where listening music and watching videos becomes a bigger priority. Internet is a powerhouse of information and availability of android devices along with numerous unlimited data plans has made it accessible to almost everyone. Kids today use it to run errands to fulfill their social needs.

Now, being active on the social media for so many hours has its own benefits. Mostly, generation next is blamed for living life more virtually compared to reality. What we forget is that unlike earlier, when access to the internet was not handy and users were few, teens today are well aware of possible effects too much internet might have over them. Their virtual life now reflects the one they live in the reality. Their offline social circle has taken a virtual turn and holds strength on their online social pages. It is easy and accessible.

Genie in a bottle or out of bottle No matter how much we blame social networking to take away our children’s time, we cannot deny the fact that our generation is turning out much smarter. Where, on one hand, while we were growing up, we were dependent upon knowledge bestowed upon us by our teachers or books or elders, kids today have more exposure through respective social networking sites.

Almost every student that we come across who has a Facebook profile page updates it every day. Adding numerous photographs and keeping eye on ones social circle has become a common trend. Living with 24x 7 access to the internet, these kids have major influence of virtual world in their real life.

Our children are not limited with only one segment of society; they explore and try to find more ideas. There are numerous forums online which are managed by tweens and teenagers. Most of them cover their basic social requirements and help them share their perspective with the world.

So much so that they stay online while doing their other necessary things, including homework. According to a study, almost 70% of teenagers either hold a personal phone or have internet access through their parent’s phone and stay online. It can be concluded that the mobile revolution has indeed made social networks easily available.

Many such forums and social networks help children understand their problems in a better way and provide practical solutions to them. It can be taken as therapy sessions where we globally meet many people and share our problem in return for getting solutions that may or may not have occurred in the first place. Now, there

January 2017

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COVER STORY For most kids, the experience of being online is a good one. However, around one fifth of eight to 13 year olds reported seeing or experiencing something on the internet in the last year that bothered them. Rosalie O’Neale, senior advisor with the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s Cybersmart Outreach division

can be both Yin and Yang amongst these. It is up to a smart parent to keep an eye on such conversations without intruding in their child’s domain.

Gaming their way According to a study done at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health it was concluded that video games may have positive effects on young children. Playing games online not only help them think critically and react, it also helps them in making fast decision and solve different problem. It also develops them socially as many gaming sites have global players and require teamwork to finish a given task. It also helps in their hand eye coordination. At Deakin University in Australia, health researchers found that preschoolers who play interactive video games, such as Wii, have better motor skills than kids who do not play games. The study found that children who played those games were better at skills such as kicking, catching or throwing a ball.

A new world There was a time when our society was dependent upon only handful of working profiles, out of which very few had capability of giving a child his wings to fly. Such is not the case nowadays. All thanks to the virtual exposure our children are getting. It is like a window which opens to the world and beyond. The enigma of internet is not only been understood by our little masters but has been explored to next level by them. We have children running their YouTube channel showing off their hobbies, music and other craftsmanship or having a blog where they share their personal views and ideas. Social networks have many pages full of teens and tweens showing off their skill and getting positive feedbacks. There are many sites which help them turn their dreams in reality by helping them enhance their art. We have live example of Pete Cashmore and Justin Bieber who followed their dreams and achieved the success they deserve. They have not only used the platform effectively during their teens but also have come out winners. In a nutshell, the choices

have increased along with the means of attaining them.

Contemporary vs. conservative The first thing that comes in our mind when we hear about children spending time over internet is what ‘bad’ it can bring to them. Google searches are filled with researches, pages, articles covering the same. A very few talk about what positive changes it has brought upon kids. What we fail to understand is why bother children to follow our perspective of education when we did not do the same when we came to that age. Internet to them is what phone was for us. How often have we not heard our parents worrying about being on phone for too many hours? They had their doubts about education system we were following. They had doubts about what computer might do to us. They had doubts about we might forget basic calculation if we dependend too much on calculators and may more. We have grown up to become fairly good. We did get our set of exposures, but it is not that we got addicted to it. Still, we remain a complicated generation to our parents. Question is; whether reading a book online is not giving knowledge to our children? Or, is it wrong to take help of a virtual friend in a school project? Or, finding all about your favourite subject is unsuitable too? What difference can there be if a child searches vocabulary online or offline? We must believe that the answer is lying within the layers itself. All we need to do is to change our perspective towards it and see it otherwise. It is absolutely normal for each generation worrying about generation next and it is mainly because of the change that comes along. However, what we forget amidst our concern is that just like we have faced our set of problems with patience and intelligence, our children, with a little help, can come out of their respective troubles too.

Education system Schools play the most important role in shaping child’s future and it is a positive step if they are connected to the virtual world. A fifth grade teacher was quoted in a U.S. Department of Education article saying, “Technology is the ultimate car-

January 2017

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COVER STORY rot for students. It’s something they want to master. Learning to use it enhances their self-esteem and makes them excited about coming to school.” According to PBS LearningMedia research, 74% of teachers surveyed responded that using classroom technology motivates students to learn. Technologically-updated classroom allows students to take greater control of their education as availability of tools like tablets and laptops encourage interactive, hands-on learning. It is like that ‘candy’ we used to get for finishing our homework, only difference is that this time ‘candy’ is required to finish the homework.

Being supportive A study shows that if a child is getting virtually bullied, then there is a possibility that it has happened in reality too. It is our job as a parent to find out how our children are doing around. There are many ways to keep track of your children’s online activity and it is always advised to keep yourself updated. One thing is clear, it is impossible to keep children away from social media for long. It could be rationed, yes, but

it cannot be stopped. It could be disastrous if we try to force our choices on them. There is no denial that excessive use of internet has its set of problem. However, as a parent it is our responsibility to keep our cool and help our children get through them. Internet addiction can be a serious problem but with the right approach we can limit it and can utilize its productivity at the max. Most of the time, children while online, do not realize that a higher exposure can invite trouble for them. Our role as parent starts here. We can make sure that the there is time frame for internet usage not only for our children, but also for us. If we set an example of healthy internet usage, so will our children. Simple steps like encouraging children to get involved in more outdoor activities and meeting friends for real, or taking them to the parks can be a starting point. Instead of lecturing our children over morality or disrespect, it is better to understand his or her internet requirements. We could also update ourselves technically and keep a tab on our children. Moreover, we should always be there to hear them and be available when

There is no denial that excessive use of internet has its set of problem. Most of the time, children while online, do not realize that so much exposure can invite trouble to them. needed. If we will be able to understand the source, it will become easy for us to accept the things our children do on the internet. We shall not forget that for a child, parents are the most secured way of getting an advice. We are the cushion they require with or without internet.

January 2017

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TECH IT OUT

10

apps to improve your MEMORY

Today’s world is guided by performance, be it at school or at work. You are constantly pressurised by your teachers and parents to perform well in exams and extracurricular activities. This puts you under stress and anxiety; you are constantly worried about living up to their expectations.

Research shows that constant stress diminishes your brain power and memory, thus putting your performance at stake. Eating almonds and taking supplements are common with everyone, but we know most of you hate these. What if you get fun ways to boost your memory, remove your mental stress and augment your performance in school? Here are the top 10 mobile applications that serve this purpose:

Fit BrainsTrainer CogniFit Brain Fitness Designed to improve your memory and concentration through fun games, this app endeavors to improve your overall brain health. After an initial quiz, the application adapts the game according to your profile and suggests recommendations based on results. You can track your progress, compete with friends, and have fun alongside memory enhancement. Developers claim to see improvement in memory by using the app for at least 20 minutes, two to three times a week.

Another app designed by the experts in the field of brain science, it challenges you with quick, short games and fosters your competitive spirit by showing how you perform as compared to others. Training your brain and cognitive skills like memory, attention, and speed of thinking, the app is loaded with the biggest variety of games. All the more, its emotional intelligence games help you work out your social skills, social awareness, self-awareness, and self control. This will help you to be aware of your own emotions, control your behavior, and understand other’s emotions; skills required for you to get along with your peers in a positive manner.

Personal Zen The app has been designed by Dr. Tracy DennisTiwary and researchers from Hunter College and City University of New York. The game is based on the journey of two rival animated characters through a field of grass and helps in reducing anxiety by training the mind to focus on positive aspects of life.

Lumosity

This app is the result of collaboration between scientists and game designers to A handy app that trains you to face difficult situations enhance your memory, attention span, problem of life, it instills confidence, courage and positivity in solving skills; and flexibility of thinking. Comprising of your mind when used before any stressful situation. three games per session, it can improve your mental skills. The However, lasting benefits are seen when the app is app also allows you to, track the progress and compare performused for 10 minutes each day. ance with peers. The games in the app have been designed hand-in hand with the scientists to measure the core cognitive abilities of the user i.e. how you remember, learn, reason out and solve a particular problem, ranging from simple to complex. They have ensured that every game is accessible, engaging, and challenging for the user in accordance with his ability and failure in any game is supported by training for further improvement.

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January 2017


Eidetic The app utilizes a technique called spaced repetition to help you memorize anything ranging from numbers and names to words and facts. It is built in the form of flashcards and allows you to add items such as phone numbers, facts, dictionary words, quotes etc. These items are then tested by spacing them over a period of time, thus, enabling you to remember for a longer period. Thus, it is different than other brain training apps by utilizing items that are real and meaningful.

Brain Trainer Special It is an android app that requires you to memorize letter sequences, phone numbers and solve variety of mathematics problems challenging your brain at different levels.

Clockwork Brain “Insanely fun puzzles to train your brain”, that is the lockwork Brain app which presents you with a series of fun and challenging games to test your memory, ability to pay attention, language skills, reasoning skills, and speed of thinking. All the more, a tiny gold robot appears every time to explain the next game you are about to play.

With variety of game modes available like math mode, memory numbers, memory letters, speedy shapes, tricky colors etc. the app is the largest collection of brain games in the market. It strives to train your brain in various domains like memory, mathematics, speed, concentration, observation and many others.

Having difficulty in memorizing your facts or numbers doesn’t label you with any mental disorder. It just needs a push to enhance your brain power and spending 10-30 minutes with these mobile applications just fulfills this, that too in a smart and fun way.

Not the Hole Story This app is for students who are avid fans of riddles. These riddles are given in the form of stories and you are required to solve those using hints that crop up midway. However, if you fail to do so, answers are revealed to you. Through such riddles, the app strives to broaden your thinking ability and impart fun.

Happify

Brain Fitness Pro

As the name, so the app. Designed by using the principles of positive psychology, the app helps in imparting a full, happier life to its users.This is accomplished with the help of quiz, polls, and gratitude journals that teach its users to conquer their negative thoughts, cope with stress, show gratitude, and empathize – fundamental ingredients to leading a happy life.

The app employs a series of training exercises in the form of fun games to improve your memory, power of concentration, and problem solving skills. Additionally, it improves your IQ. Such intensive training of your brain dramatically improves your ability to focus and your cognitive skills for a longer period of time.

January 2017

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COOK IT OUT

In the west, most of the households introduce their kids to cooking at a very young age. Lots of kids can actually bake entire cakes, make cookies, and know how to use skillets and so on.

Do you ever

HELP YOUR

MOM to

COOK?

ScooNews Correspondent

writeback@scoonews.com

W

hen we say cooking, the first image that storms our mind is mom and kitchen. But wonder how many of us actually see ourselves in this picture. Not many. Have you ever thought of getting yourself acquainted with that abandoned portion of your house? Do you know what it feels like to actually cook something? And let me tell you, cooking is not only about making Maggie. Are you acquainted with the satisfaction of preparing a perfect dish? It is understandable that being teenager is a tough job. A lot happens to your life during this phase. Everyone knows, because every-

January 2017

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COOK IT OUT

Help your mommies and make them swell with pride. Give them a genuine reason to brag about you in their kitty parties and other social gathering.

one has lived through it. It must be equally confusing for you to read and try to figure out how cooking fits in the scene. In the west, most of the households introduce their kids to cooking at a very young age. Lots of kids can actually bake entire cakes, make cookies, and know how to use skillets and so on. You know the fun fact about it? The bonding between moms and their kids is amazing. It’s like a stress buster for them. Kitchen becomes a place where they can play around with ingredients and come up with something of their own – a secret specialty. There is no other proud moment then seeing that creation being served on the table. Indian society hinges on the fact that cooking is a ladies’ job. Most of the households pass on the same mindset to

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their children. Girls are often told to learn culinary skills along with formal education. Boys, on the other hand, bask in the limelight merely by boiling eggs. It is sad that we are depriving ourselves from a celebration known as cooking and at the same time overlooking one of the most important prospective of growing up. Cooking not only helps in unwinding but also helps in understanding the true meaning of patience. It teaches you the art of balancing elements and brings expertise in the art of presentation. It is not a room dedicated only to your mothers. It is your domain too to experiment with available ingredients and bring the best out of them. Your mother, your ultimate mentor in life, can help you in brushing your sen-

January 2017

sitive side. You can start from the basics – help your mom in chopping and fetching different spices, learning the names, doing dishes (part of a job) and then slowly you can move to understanding other details like stir frying, baking, broiling and so on. It is high time that you understand that cooking is one of those things that need to be taken care of before leaving home for a career or education. Its time you should pick up those aprons and start sniffing spices. Help your mommies and make them swell with pride. Give them a genuine reason to brag about you in their kitty parties and other social gatherings. Be a good kid, be a smart kid, be a kitchen pro.


COMPASSION

7GiFTS your parents actually want from you

“P

arents are the only ones obligated to love you; from the rest of the world you have to earn it�. As you grow up from a toddler to a teenager, you realise that this is so true. Your mom and dad are the only ones who care for you, support you and give you what you need irrespective of whether you deserve it or not. They have applauded you, encouraged you and showered all their blessings on you without expecting anything in return. Now, you have grown up from that naughty, little kid to a young lad who is capable of taking care of himself as well as his parents. It is time to pay regards to your parents for all the love and care they have shown to you. What could be a better way than gifts to express your love and gratitude for them? However, the gifts need to be special that touches their heart and embeds in their memory as a symbol of your love. Here are few ideas regarding the best gifts suitable for your parents:

2. Help your mother with her daily chores Besides cleaning the house, other daily chores also keep your mother engaged. Help her with all you can like cleaning utensils, serving food on the dining table, taking care of your health etc. This would save her hours and she can spend quality time with you and other family members.

1. Share their responsibility Your mom is the one to wake up first and retire the last in bed. She remains busy in taking care of you, your siblings and other family members. Cleaning the house, preparing food, and washing clothes are her daily chores and she does them without any complaints. As a good son or daughter, share her responsibility of cleaning the house, your room at least. You can make up your bed, clean all the mess in your room and take care of your possessions yourself. Indeed, this would be a great help to your mother who would like her child to be self dependent.

3. Art pillows Kick start your creativity by designing pillowcases for their bedroom. You can use hand prints in various colours or write love quotes expressing your feelings for them. The art can be extended to design and decorate coffee mugs, dinner plates, and flower vases. This would give an entire new look to your home decor.

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COMPASSION 4. A dinner cooked with your hand Your parents don’t expect you to be a master chef and cook delicacies for them. In fact, they don’t want this for themselves, but, just expect you to be adept in basic cooking skills; so that you can help yourself when they are not around. So, why not surprise them with your mouth watering dishes? A simple vegetable sandwich with a cup of tea or rice with dal would suffice for the purpose.

5. Photo collage A fun and easy gift for your parents, a photo collage would refresh all their old memories. Collect all family photos, pictures of special occasions and any vacations you might have spent together. Arrange them like a collage and get it framed from a photo shop. It is a valuable gift for parents to keep nice memories of family bonding intact and remind them of your love for the family.

6. Beaded key chains Utilise your crafting skills to make beaded key chains for your beloved parents. The keys of the locker, cupboards and car need to be kept safe and handy in the house. You can contribute by making lovely key chains from waste materials like pipe cleaners and beads.

It would be a memorable gift for parents every time they pick up the keys off the counter.

7. Hand painted aprons Your love for art and your mother can be expressed by transforming her dull, boring kitchen apron to a colourful accessory. You might be having more ideas to gift your parents but what they actually want is just love and respect from you, and that you take your academics seriously so as to fulfil your career dreams. “Love your parents. We are so busy growing up we often forget they are also growing old”.

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BULLYING

Is your classmate too TICKLISH? Staying away from such students like changing your desk, not sharing lunch with them, not talking to them and so on might be beneficial for some time but still you would confront them every day in the class. teachers.

ScooNews Correspondent

writeback@scoonews.com

A

classmate sitting behind your desk and constantly pinching you, pulling your hair, or disturbing you in any possible way is a common scenario in middle and high schools across the country. Such people may upset you by spreading rumours about you, using foul language against you, playing pranks and defaming you in the eyes of your

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Staying away from such students like changing your desk, not sharing lunch with them, not talking to them and so on might be beneficial for some time but still you would confront them every day in the class. The idea itself seems shocking for some and they prefer to remain absent from the school. However, bunking school is not an

January 2017

answer to this situation. It would only prompt your ticklish classmate to continue such activities with you and others. You need to handle it in a positive manner so that it stops such behaviour from them. Additionally, also grants a lesson for others who indulge in showcasing their power by hurting other classmates. Here are some useful tips to safeguard yourself from bad behaviour of your classmate:


Watch your body language Your body language, the way you look, stand, talk, and walk speak volumes about your personality. If you are in the habit of looking down while walking, biting your nails or walking with hands in the pocket, change them as soon as possible. Such habits reflect low confidence and weakness on your part giving a chance to the “bad” classmate to trouble you.

Share with your friend If you are unable to face him or her alone or he or she continues to bother you despite your best efforts, talk to your friend about this. Take his or her advice on how to approach the situation. Ask him to accompany you when you talk to the ticklish classmate about stopping his bad behaviour.

Confront him with confidence Take a stand for yourself. Don’t try to look at the floor or walk away by ignoring him. Look straight into the eyes of the trouble maker and warn him in calm words to stop what he is doing. Never use bad remarks against him or get violent with him. This would spark further conflict and problems for you.

Condemn all such activities in your school Report to your teacher/school authorities/parents If the situation is too worse and none of the methods work, talk to your teachers about it. You might be threatened by him for reporting to the school teacher, but, don’t be afraid. These are just false threats that keep you from taking the right step towords solving the problem. Many schools have strict policies to check such behaviour and reporting to the teachers or school authorities helps curb them down. If the school authorities fail to take any action, talk to your parents about it. Don’t be ashamed or fearful of getting scolded by them. It’s not your fault and your loving parents will help you cope with the situation.

Even if you are not the victim of teasing and bad remarks by your classmate, you should raise your voice against any such activity. Do not participate in any laughter or gossip being done by your classmate about other students. Instead, be a part of discussion forums and groups that help stop such activities in school. Usually students who have low self esteem and desire for power indulge in ticklish activities. By taking a firm stand against them and following the enlisted tips you can rise above the situation and focus on your studies.

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EVENT WRAP UP Comic Con India hosted the capital’s biggest pop culture event - ‘Alto Delhi Comic Con 2016’ over the weekend at NSIC Grounds Okhla, last month. The show hosted a spectacular lineup of events including special international guest appearances, exclusive experiential & gaming zones, artist alley, fans sessions, cosplay, book launches and much more.

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Alto Delhi COMIC CON 2016 held in Delhi AN AWESOME WEEKEND FOR POP-CULTURES IN THE CITY

January 2017


ScooNews Correspondent

writeback@scoonews.com amous international personalities like Tom Richmond, caricaturist, cartoonist and humorous illustrator, for MAD Magazine, Cartoon Network, National Geographic and many more; Joe Harris, Author, X-Files Comics and Nicolas Wild, French writer and illustrator and author of the critically acclaimed Kabul Disco attended and took special sessions at DCC 2016.

F

DJ Elliot, The Official Walt Disney World DJ & Gaurav Gera, Actor & Stand Up Comedian, were there at Alto Delhi Comic Con 2016 on all 3

days. Gaurav Gera performed his Chutki & Shopkeeper Act live at the show. Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 was not only the presenting sponsor for the show, but also set up the biggest art and gaming zone ever at a Comic Con show, with tons of freebies given out to fans. It was the biggest draw at the show! Cosplay, a costume contest, another major attraction at Comic Con India, continued to give prizes to people in great costumes. Comic Con India had created 5 categories to increase one’s chances of winning gifts. Each day, one winner was chosen from each of the five categories:-1. Comic book/graphic

novel 2. Animated Series/Movie 3. Manga/Anime 4. Sci-Fi/Fantasy and 5. Gaming. 5 Cool Cosplayers got a voucher of INR 2500 each for their Spirit of Cosplay. Also, both days, one lucky winner out of the chosen 5 won INR 50,000 cash prize! and a chance to enter ‘Indian Championships of Cosplay’. The Winner of ‘Indian Championships of Cosplay’ will compete and represent the country at the Annual Crown Championships of Cosplay at Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo. Comic Con India’s partners set up Exclusive Experiential and Gaming Zones at the event.

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EVENT WRAP UP

Alto Delhi Comic Con featured ESL India Premiership, where eight teams played game titles – CS:GO, DOTA 2 and Clash Royale in an intense single elimination format to emerge as victors. The winners of this Grand Finale grabbed a share of the INR 19,58,000 prize pool. One of the other main attractions of the event was the Baahubali Zone and first of its kind WWE Zone. At the Baahubali Zone, the team from the super hit Franchise showcased a VR Experience called The Sword of Baahubali, based on the World of Baahubali depicted in the movies. At the WWE Zone fans seemed really excited walking the grand stage on their favourite WWE Superstar’s entrance music. The zone gave fans a never-before, unmatched experience; a chance to feel, act, and enter the ring just like their favourite WWE Superstar! Not just that, other exclusive Experiential Zone at Alto Delhi Comic Con included AXN Zone. It had lots of fun engagements. Fans got to witness some of their favourite characters like Sam & Dean, Sherlock, Heisenberg, Dexter etc come alive. Also, Rogue One - A Stars Wars Story, celebrated their upcoming movie.

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“Thank you Delhi for celebrating the 6th year of Comic Con India in such an awesome way! We are extremely happy with the kind of response we have received from fans, guests, artists, writers and participants all together. It was overwhelming to see so much love for comics and pop-culture in our city.” Jatin Varma, Founder, Comic Con India

An“Artist Alley” exclusively featuring artists from all over India and Delhi was set up at DCC 2016. Here fans got an opportunity to interact with awesome artists, illustrators, designers working for comics and related fields. The alley featured artists like Rajeev Tamahakar, Sumit Kumar, Parmi Jethwani, Reshmi Chandrashekhar, Nikita Das Gupta, Rohit Soni, Rohan Bhatia and many more.

January 2017


Well known creators like Akshay Dhar from Meta Desi Comics, Aniruddho Chakraborty from Chariot comics, Vivek Goel from Holy Cow Entertainment, Shamik Dasgupta from Yali Dreams and Saumin Patel were there too. For the sheer love for comics, 10 new comic book titles got launched at the convention. The launches were, The Beautiful Game by Campfire Graphic Novels, 2 by Scholastic India, Footsteps, Ved & The Puppet Master & Shivaay 2 by TBS Planet, The Legend of Azad by Zaponga, The Age of Immortals by Holy Cow Entertainment, The Goliath of Shenzhen by Atomic Labs, Adhish Epiphany by Red Streak Publications & Rakshak Issue 2 by Yali Dream Creations. At the convention, fans got to buy merchandise from the best and most exclusive international merchandisers from across the globe. Also, there were exclusive Indian merchandisers including Harpercollins Publishers India, Campfire Graphic Novel, Viz Media By Simon & Schuster, Graphic India, Vimanika Comics, DC, Darkhorse & Vertigo Comics By Random House India, Dorling

Kindersley India, Red Streak Publications, TBS Planet, Sirji Comics, ICBM Comics, Holycow Entertainment, Yali Dream Creations and many more. The main participants at Alto Delhi Comic Con 2016 were Planet Superheroes, Crazy Ant, The Souled Store, Frog,Wild child, Anime Pop Mall, Graphicurry, Macmerise, MC Sid Razz, Bushirt.com, Wear Your Opinion, Aha Stuff, G2A.com, Vivid Swans, Supervek and many more. Comic Con India is dedicated to creating unique events and giving the fans, exhibitors and partners a platform to celebrate their undying love and passion for comics and pop culture. Comic Con India is dedicated to expanding India's popular culture by creating high profile events that cater to fans of not only comics, but also, gaming, movies, television, merchandise, toys and more. Comic Con India is part of the Reedpop family of events, which is dedicated to producing world-class celebrations of popular culture around the world with events like New York Comic Con, Oz Comic Con, Shanghai Comic Con, Star Wars Celebration among many others.

January 2017

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MOTIVATION

Do you know

RICHARD BRANSON’S

first venture was a school

MAGAZINE?

Clear conscience, a valuable idea and focus evolved young Branson from budding businessman to a successful entrepreneur. Student was a stepping stone of his success story, something that every child should know. It is a practical example of an adamant attitude paying off. ScooNews Correspondent

writeback@scoonews.com

O

nce upon a time there was a not so impressive student, not more than sixteen and with a history of dyslexia and near sightedness, who made things happen the way he always dreamt of. He started his first business from a basement and grabbed every opportunity to make it a big hit; name of this student – Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, and owner of more than 400 companies. ‘Student’ his first school magazine was started in 1968 by him and his classmate

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January 2017

to provide an escape from the stale and repetitive news being distributed in other school magazines. Articles published in his magazine were all about famous celebrities, politicians and rock stars. According to Mr. Branson “Student gave young people a voice and challenged the perceptions of youth culture – covering everything from pop culture and music to the Vietnam and Biafra wars.” His first editorial spoke the motto of ‘Student’ which stated that the magazine will be developed as a platform for all shades of opinion, all beliefs and


It is not to say that he stumbled upon success all on his own. He was supported by his mother who kept helping him by giving pocket money to carry on the newspaper and also by writing stories too.

ideas. Soon his magazine started running ads of providing records at discounted price and then business poured in. ‘Virgin records’ was born soon afterward, above a shoe store. Clear conscience, a valuable idea and focus evolved young Branson from budding businessman to a successful entrepreneur. Student was a stepping stone of his success story, something that every child should know. It is a practical example of an adamant attitude paying off. Today, when children are busy learning all about history, geography and other subjects that might be of no practical use to them in the near future, not denying their importance but still, one wonders, why they should not be taught about ‘Student’ and how it succeeded? It is about one child trying to make his way when his own headmaster Robert Drayson on his last day of school, told him that he would either end up in prison or will become a millionaire. He took the statement as a challenge and proved him right; though on the positive

than negative count. It is not to say that he stumbled upon success all on his own. He was supported by his mother who kept helping him by giving pocket money to carry on the newspaper and also by writing stories too. In the nutshell his parents made sure that they understand his dreams and allow him to follow them whole heartedly. In a world where children are forced to become a part of the rat race we desperately need parents like Branson’s, who were determined to make him independent. It is not a difficult ordeal to let them breath, let them nurture their dreams and be different. Achievement is not just a word, it is hard work which when channelised in the right direction brings positive output. It is a habit which can be addictive and can make a person think out of the box to maintain its stability. It came naturally to Sir Richard Branson who dared taking difficult decisions at the right time and learned to defy odds at a very early age to play them in his favour.

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INSPIRATION

YOUNG Entrepreneurs OF INDIA Success as an entrepreneur is a slave of those with a sharp mind and passion to do something big. It has nothing to do with the age and minimum educational qualification. This has been proved by our young generation who have achieved success at a tender age through their innovative ideas. Here we present the success story behind few of our glorious young entrepreneurs.

Shravan Kumaran, 15 years, Sanjay Kumaran, 14 years, Hiranandani Upscale School, Chennai

This brother duo from Chennai are the youngest mobile application developer in India. Their application development unit, Go Dimensions has developed 7 mobile applications for Apple and 3 applications for Google Play store. “Catch Me Cop”, “Alphabet Board”, and “Prayer Planet” are amongst the top applications created by them. Currently they have over 6,250,000 fans on social media and more than 70,000 downloads for their apps.

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January 2017


Akshat Mittal, 13 years, Amity International School, Noida

When Delhi government implemented an odd-even rule for vehicles to control pollution in Delhi-NCR areas, it posed a difficulty for many commuters. To sort out the problem, Akshat, a class IX student, created a website Oddeven.com that helps people to look for a carpooling service in their travelling direction. Launched in December 2015, the website was sold to a carpooling app Orahi.com for an undisclosed amount. All the more, Akshat has been appointed as a part of the company's technical advisory board and will receive mentorship for a year. Akshat designed the website to match people's preferences of vehicles and odd/even number of the cars for commuters. This makes the website unique from other carpooling apps/websites.

Farrhad Acidwalla, 16 years, Bombay Scottish School, Mumbai

Today, at the age of 23 years, Farrhad Acidwalla is one of the youngest entrepreneurs. He started his venture, Rockstah Media, a marketing agency at the young age of 16 years. Farrhad's hard work has paid him fruits in the form of several awards and recognition for his work, strategies and concepts. He has featured on media channels CNN, CNN-IBN, LiveMint, MSN, Yahoo! Finance, The Economic Times and The Times of India. He is also an investor and TEDx speaker. He has been the youngest guest lecturer at several top institutions such as IIT Kharagpur, IIT Patna, IIT Jodhpur, NIT Raipur, NIT Durgpur and BITS Pilani.

Arjun Santhosh Kumar, 15 years,

Velammal Vidhyshram, Chennai

Arjun Santhosh Kumar is the founder and CEO of his company LateraLogics, a technology company involved in custom apps development, web development and consulting. Science and technology always fascinated Kumar. In 2013, he won the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)'s App Inventor Contest and has developed two award-winning apps, namely Ez School Bus Locator and iSafeGuard. Ez School Bus Locator is an android app that informs the parents about the location of their kid's school bus on a map. iSafeGuard was developed keeping in mind the safety of today's women. Using the app, women and teens in distress can call or send messages along with their location details on pre-set numbers of friends and family members.

Suhas Gopinath, 14 years,

Bengaluru

Suhas, the world's youngest Chief Executive, is a founder of a company, Global Inc. in San Jose, California. He chose to establish his company in USA due to legal issues in India that prevents a minor to establish a company. Starting with a small office in 2000, the company has now grown to be recognised worldwide as a multinational company that offers high quality solutions in domains of web, ecommerce, and mobile. He was conferred Karnataka Rajyotsava Award in 2005 and "Young Achiever Award" in 2007.

January 2017

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DIPLOMACY

Model United Nations (MUN)

Have you

EXPERIENCED one?

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January 2017

Every great idea is developed from a concept. Its success and failure is defined by its uniqueness and efforts being put into taking it to greatness. Model United Nations or MUN is just such a project.


What if I became

SECRETARYGENERAL United Nations! by Devanshi Parva

I

was one of the few students selected by my school to be part of MUN held in Delhi Public School in Bikaner in August last year. While I had goosebumps of excitement all over my thoughts, my parents were having that of fear on their minds – because it was for the first time ever that I was branching out on my own for these two nights three days far away from home. There was this whole list of do’s and don’ts handed over to me by my parents; mother’s list longer than father’s. Finally, my excitement began when I boarded the school bus with other students and teachers for our journey to Bikaner. And I know that might also have been the time when anxiety of my parents must have risen. First night in Bikaner and it was like a bird ready to take on the first flight of her life – bit scared, bit apprehensive, but bit confident too. “Social gathering are all about confidence”, my father would always tell me, and MUN, he would add “is all about boosting your confidence diplomatically”.

What is MUN? Technically speaking, it is a model designed for students to understand and learn diplomacy, international relation and the United Nations.

What exactly it does? MUN selects its participating students form middle school, high school, college/university and teaches them and refines their public speaking, debating and writing skills. MUN also develops their critical thinking, teamwork and leadership quality.

How MUN operates? MUN basically gives a topic to be discussed by the committee beforehand to its participants and a country/ organization is assigned to them. Debate takes place amongst the participants and the best performer from every committee is rewarded with prizes.

I

mittee and trying to debate your ideas amongst the panel of contestants from your country or others. Does it not give you goose bumps to think that the idea will be a part of the world stage? It sure does. We all secretly wish to make a difference and sometimes a small hesitant step towards the unknown brings all the confidence required to frame our future towards the life changing journey. It is not a necessity that a participant has to have a prior interest in politics or international relations. Rather students from diversified fields can become part of MUN and speak their minds on the given topic. In fact MUN is now becoming more than a hobby amongst students. It is becoming much more than an extracurricular activity as it was earlier introduced. MUN helps in bridging the ideological differences and bringing out students'

Every time I would jostle with a hundred minds at DPS Bikaner, father would echo somewhere around. The island country that had been allotted to me, one about which I was supposed to debate, was Cape Verde. The small country is off the northwest coast of Africa, and it got independence in 1975 without, actually, shedding a drop of blood. Father would again echo whenever reference to independence of Cape Verde would come up, as he would often say that even worst conflicts of the world can be resolved without shedding a drop of blood. Being from Kashmir, discussions on conflict occupy most of the dinnertime talk. So many schools, so many students, some really very bright and just debates; my experience with MUN couldn’t have asked for more. It was a wonderful time and there was a lot to learn from it; plus that strange thought, as I left, what if, years from now, I return to the United Nations, not in just a MUN, but in New York, as its Secretary General.

perspectives towards a problem. Participating in MUN helps in developing leadership confidence. According to some statistics, over 300 schools in India participate in various MUNs being organized globally and India is one of the top five countries globally in the MUN space today - each participation a step towards catching up with the topnotch. And why not, MUN can be a fun way of learning history and being globally aware. It helps in developing the leader in you. It also provides a strategic advantage while searching for job or opting for higher studies. Universities and organizations look forward to people who are compassionate about current affairs. They look for leaders. Every student, at least once in his or her life, should take part in any one of the MUN.

f we sum it up, it is a mock model of United Nations which is growing rapidly since its introduction.

Now question is have you been a part of it? For most of us it sounds complicated when it is actually a very simple procedure where you get to act as delegates of United Nations and imitate the United Nations committee. Imagine yourself being part of the com-

January 2017

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TECH IN ED

Add some Google to education with GAFE Google has built hundreds of apps to enhance the effectiveness of classroom instructions and dissemination of information. Google has grown manifold from its initial days of personal emails to the stage of providing tools for education.

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January 2017


ScooNews Correspondent

writeback@scoonews.com

"I

f the mythical Alladin was present in the modern era then the genie would have been undoubtedly Google, which has again reingorced the point that world is indeed a small ball and any information just a click away". In this age of information and technology education field has also been taken by storm. Google, for instance, has built hundreds of apps to enhance the effectiveness of classroom instructions and dissemination of information. Google has grown manifold from its initial days of personal emails to the stage of providing tools for education. It provides tools to find information, and helping students to teach themselves. Now we are in the age where self teaching would be more and more crucial for the success of an individual and Google exactly does that by instilling the necessary skills in students. The key for successful search in Google lies in using the correct phrase. This highly increases the chance of finding an answer to the question immediately. Google has highly revolutionised the way information can be searched.

There is a wide array of Google apps that allow us to search for anything from images to specific types of files. Google has an advanced search feature which helps to narrow down the search to a specific file type. The advanced search can be availed by clicking on the gear icon on the Google home page. When Google advanced search is used, the search boxes are more specific and useful than the standard Google search box that narrows down the search and brings in more relevant websites. In fact the language option further helps the students to find articles written in the language of their interest. Google Translate has really shrunk the world. Students can now avail the information available in languages other than their native language and can consume information from close to 100 languages by using the translate feature. Though the translations may not be completely accurate, it holds pretty good for students to write their assignments. With little imagination Google Translate can be used in 100 effective ways in the classrooms. Google Earth is one of the coolest applications of Google labs. Google Earth can literally bring the entire world to the students with a click of the mouse. We can search by latitude or by

January 2017

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TECH IN ED

city, country and a slew of keywords. The entry of Google Earth in classrooms has brought in better images than textbooks and has stimulated more conversations. Google News is a great app that can act as an aid to teach civics or critical thinking. It aggregates all the primary news sources from the planet in one interface. It also incorporates more news sources when compared to the mainstream media and provides news stories even from smaller organizations. This provides a more robust point of view and helps students to consume news information from a vast array of sources and understand it.

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Google Scholar is a collection of scholarly articles. This is very useful for college goers to search advanced information for scholarly research. These are just few search tools that allow students to have a deeper understanding of topics required. Apart from these, there is also a wide array of productivity type applications that the students can use to create the assignments. These Google productivity applications are included in the Google classroom suite.

Google apps for productivity in education

Google Goggles is an educational application that is available only for android devices. Goggles allows us to take a picture of anything with an android device and then perform an image search.

Google has a robust set of applications that can be used to improve classroom productivity. The full document management suite allows students to perform tasks that could be accomplished using a Microsoft Office suite at no cost. It only needs a Google Account.

Google Books is an app that has amassed millions of full-text books available online. Though some of these books do still have a copyright and are to be purchased, many are available as free to use, especially the older classics.

Google Drive can be described as a hub of the Google apps suite. It has 2 gigabytes of free storage with an option of purchasing additional space if required. It allows users to store lots of documents using cloud and enables

January 2017


The key for successful search in Google lies in using the correct phrase. This highly increases the chance of finding an answer to the question immediately. Google has highly revolutionised the way information can be searched.

them to access information from any location with internet connection. It also acts as a desktop application that helps us to create offline documents to be synced to cloud later when connected. Google Docs is a word processing system and helps to create handouts and facilitates sharing of the documents that would appear in the student’s Google Drive accounts automatically. Google Sheets offers the same functionality as Microsoft Excel enabling students to create spreadsheets and ledgers. When the sheets are combined with Google Forms it can be used to teach the basic system for managing finances. This application would be very useful in business or finance classrooms. Google Forms can be used in classrooms as a survey type tool and also as tool to create tests and check assignments submission. Google Calendar application helps to keep track of assignment due dates or other important dates. Like the other Google Apps, calendars can be shared between multiple people.

Social media applications in the classroom The entire world is now treading in the path of social media and its role has become critical in education. Unlike other social media, Google attempts to make it more educative. Google Plus encourages social inter-

actions that can be used in classrooms to promote teamwork. Users can create a profile and share information of interest with their followers. This will, in turn, increase interaction between students. The recently released feature of Google+ Collection acts as a curation tool where students can create collections around particular topics and then share links of those resources. This could also be used as a blogging type platform where students cannot only post links to interesting content, but they can also add their own unique perspectives. Google Blogger is a blog publishing platform that teaches students to publish their own works. This can assist students in improving their writing skills. Many of the applications listed above are a part of the Google Apps for Education suite or GAFE that can help the school to become a full-fledged learning management system. This Google Classroom application can be used to create free online courses for students. Google classroom uses all of the productivity tools listed above and pulls them all together into a single interface that educators can use to deliver online instruction to their students. Many educational institutions are using this platform to replace expensive online learning management systems such as Blackboard. Educators can take advantage of this free online training and can become certified Google Apps administrators or Google certified specialists.

January 2017

45


Profile for Ravi Santlani

ScooNews- January, 2017  

ScooNews is India's largest circulated & the most read K-12 Magazine

ScooNews- January, 2017  

ScooNews is India's largest circulated & the most read K-12 Magazine

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