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Emerging India

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The blog covers following topics:

  1. Introduction
  2. Unique Groups of creative and innovative DIY
  3. Testing a Pilot INDUSAPTI Webpage
  4. Volunteers Are Invited
  5. Goals of INDUSAPTI 
  6. Mark Zuckerberg
  7. Thomas Friedman
  8. Inspiration for INDUSA Endowment Co-Directors
  9. To Conclude: 

A star (*) following a sentence in the text means see references, notes and appeals to volunteers.

Introduction 

A tourist finds one of seven persons in each of 2 of 196 nations in the world; India and China are these 2 Asian nations. Continent of Africa also has one-seventh or just over one billion of the world’s people. An additional one billion people live in 35 highly developed nations. Nearly 1.5 billion mostly impoverish Muslims live in 57 OIC (Organization of Islamic Community) member nations and remainders of 7 billions people are in other parts of the globe.* Like evangelic Christians, most tribal Muslims are deeply committed to a dogma.

About 3 of 7 persons on the globe are under age 25. One of two Indian and two of five Chinese in 2011 are under age 25. Unlike Africa, most OIC and many more impoverish nations, two Asian nations are making rapid economic progress at a sustainable rate of 8% to 10% through technological innovations and manufacturing jobs for skilled workers. For an idea of technological advances by India several examples are cited in the references and notes*. These advances are associated with its infrastructure for education.

Every few miles along India’s main roadways connecting urban centers and two to four tier towns are seen new building with a “school” sign offering education in specialized fields of engineering, bio-technology, business, computers, and of course, private and public elementary and secondary schools.

This is also taking place in a large number of rural communities all across India.

  • An excellent example of a world class institution in a draught prone rural community is Vigyan Ashram (VA) at Pabal, Pune District of Maharashtra state.*
  • Another is Vanasthali Rural Development Center.* Vanasthali is delivering education at the doorsteps of rural barefoot students by training at least one lady in each joint family as a teacher for home schooling of all family members.
  • Vanasthali in 30th years in rural Maharashtra has trained 10,000+ kinder garden teachers’ and they in turn have educated more than 100,000 children.
  • Starting 2008, I have identified more than 25 similar exemplary NGOs engaged in changing India through development and education.*

 

However, required number of good schools and educational resources for barefoot students in slums and rural communities’ that is home for up to 70% Indians are not available. The available schools with few exceptions do not offer a world class education. Occasionally we hear about schools on bus and library on bus bringing school to barefoot children in slums and rural communities, but such initiatives are limited to within the operating range of bus and there are not enough such buses.

In India what appears to be chaos humanity is on move on roads using feet, motorized vehicles and traditional animal carts. Every few miles along roadways is seen a cell phone tower to serve 600 million cell phone users in slums, rural communities, bristling two to four tier towns and urban sprawls dotted with new buildings and businesses.

Cell phone and IT technologies are empowering slum dwellers and rural communities to not only get connected but reach out to and learn from what is happening all across the globe.

Unique Groups of creative and innovative DIY 

Several successful creative people have shown what can be achieved with DIY (do-it-yourself) innovative  mindset. A few that come to mind include Prof AJP Abdul Kalam, retired President of India and a DIY rocket scientist – father of a series of rockets deployed by Indian armed forces. Bill Gates, Steve Job and Mark Zuckerberg are some American idols with successful DIY projects.

Do-it-yourselfers mentioned above belong to a unique class of people and the founders of VA belong to this unique group. VA was established in 1980 in a drought prone rural community by late Dr Kalbag along with his surviving wife in her 80s. The school is now managed by Dr. Yogesh Kulkarni. Like two Kalbag’s did for more than two decades Dr Kulkarni and his team of educators for past several years are following their dreams, passion, instincts, creativity and innovations to achieve what most people including academicians and graduates of reputed schools don’t accomplish in a life time, especially in developing nations.

Most college educated persons learn to follow dogmas they pick up in colleges and schools, be it Harvard,
other Ivy League schools or less known state and private schools. Anyone who listened to Steve Jobs 2006 commencement address to Stanford U students heard him say what he thought of following dogmas. Conforming to dogmas simply makes you like someone else. Do-it-yourselfers mentioned above on the other hand followed their dreams, passions, instincts, creativity and innovations to accomplish great things in life.

Testing a Pilot INDUSAPTI Webpage  

Following Gandhian Innovation concepts the VA (Vigyan Ashram), LAHI (Lend-a-handIndia.org) and INDUSA Endowments cooperated to setup and operate from November 2011 a virtual school called INDUSAPTI (Practical Training Institute) and its pilot version is now being field tested at http://www.learningwhiledoing.in/?page_id=18. We will appreciate comments and suggestions from visitors to the virtual school to make it a world class user friendly webpage. It is an ideal vehicle to deliver  at the doorsteps of barefoot students to provide on a 24*7 basis lesson plans to K1– 12 level education and also specialized practical training to the entire internet connected communities.

For using lessons at the INDUSAPTI the two requirements are an internet active tablet or a PC and a desire or thirst for knowledge to learn new skills for DIY projects. The INDUSAPTI operated by the VA was created to reach out to everyone with internet connectivity through an affordable tablet – Aakash priced $35 available to Indian students starting July 2011.*

INDUSAPTI was uploaded with limited contents for field testing an experimental version. The pilot version
offers few manuals including the LED book, bio-gas manual, constructing dome homes and green houses,   etc along with Power Point presentations and videos. We will continue to update the website on weekly and monthly basis by adding new materials and links for visitors to the school to build INDUSAPTI user’s networks and to enhance foundational educational materials.

Volunteers Are Invited 

We are looking for volunteer educators and IT experts to help generate contents for the K1 – 12 level students. Being a virtual school the volunteers can generate the contents in their spare time at home and breaks during work hours as I do. A good example of such a resource in the US is the Khan Academy offering more than 3,000 lesson plans in math, science and engineering.* Volunteers can and should generate in English and their mother tongue lessons and other educational materials using the Khan Academy template for submission to INDUSAPTI. We will provide separate WebPages dedicated to each language as a part of the INDUSAPTI.

A proven process for developing intellectual cognizance is to play creative and innovative games.*

  • We need volunteer gamers to help disadvantaged barefoot students to learn by offering them educational games to play. We are looking for ideas and games on how to impress DIY barefoot students that education is a fun process of empowering them with skills to generate wealth to escape generational cycle of poverty they and their parents, grandparents, etc were born into.

 

For continuous teacher’s education as well as that of DIY student development also we are looking for volunteer educators and IT experts to generate contents for INDUSAPTI. It is an ideal concept for retired educators with basic computers and internet skills to contribute to society the benefits of their knowledge accumulated over their entire career.

We will also appreciate inputs from educators with background in KIPP; the Knowledge is Power Program with expertise in educating for college preparatory training of barefoot students in slums and under- resourced rural communities. We seek a virtual version of the KIPP.

  • The KIPP educators operate on the principle that there are no shortcuts: outstanding educators, more time in school, a rigorous college-preparatory curriculum, and a strong culture of achievement and support will help educationally underserved students develop the knowledge, skills, and character needed to succeed in top quality high schools, colleges, and in the competitive world beyond.*
  • The KIPP trained volunteers will need to adapt to virtual school requirements and introduce innovative strategies for the barefoot students to spend more time and stay engaged to lessons offered at the INDUSAPTI.
  • As a rule of thumb “The Story of Success” teaches that it may take up to 10,000 hours (2 – 4 years at 25 to 50 hours a week) of training or focused learning to excel in or develop expertise in a field.*
  • The challenge is how to be a catalyst to enable barefoot students to stay engaged and motivated to attain this level of excellence with DIY strategies using the INDUSAPTI published materials.

 

Goals of INDUSAPTI  

Our primary focus is on educating the barefoot and the IBT (Introduction to basic Rural Technology) and DBRT (Degree in Basic Rural technology) students and teachers.

The IBT is one academic year program developed by VA. There are 100 schools participating in the LAHI’s Plan 100; LAHI has divided one academic year IBT program into several (2 to 4) years as a part of normal high school level (9 -12 grade) program.

The DBRT is a 4-year undergraduate degree program also offered by VA.*

The success of INDUSAPTI depends on how we build INDUSAPTI that’s focused on delivering K1 – 12 level high-quality world class educations to the barefoot students and good things related to DIY projects for self learners.*

Mark Zuckerberg  

Harvard computing officials were working on a Harvard U online directory when Zuckerberg created Facebook as a campus only social network. The then-sophomore told the campus newspaper, “The Harvard Crimson” that it was silly that the university needed years to create the site. “I can do it better than they can, and I can do it in a week,” he bragged, but he was right.

Once the Facebook was launched Zuckerberg says he received some words of wisdom from Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs, who told the young Silicon Valley billionaire to focus on building the right team for a “high quality” company. Jobs advised him on how to improve his company’s focus and also discussed with him about “the aesthetics and kind of mission orientation of companies.”

“I had a lot of questions for him,” quoting Zuckerberg, “including on how to build a team around you that’s focused on building as “high-quality and good things” as you are.”

He recently (November 2011) told students at Harvard and later at MIT in Cambridge, MA that he would be hiring the best minds from the Ivy League institutions for his multi-billion dollar social network.

Thomas Friedman 

Thomas Friedman offered several examples of Gandhian Innovations active in India;* we believe the VA and the INDUSAPTI are such innovations to provide K1 – 12 level educations to barefoot students any where inIndia and globe. Mr Friedman cited:

  1. Vijay Pratap Singh Aditya operate Ekgaon initiative to help farmers improve farm productivity by providing tailored advise to each farmer on specific soil, crop and weather conditions; information on the best time for planting, how to mix fertilizers, when to apply pesticides and how much to water is provided to increase productivity.
  2. K Chandrasekhar’s Forus Health in Tamil Nadu offers world class eye care to poor and
  3. A overnment of India initiative (Nandan Nilekani) has in two years enrolled 10% of 1.1 billion populations for an official ID card.

 

Inspiration for INDUSA Endowment Co-Directors 

We were inspired by philanthropy of Bill and Malinda Gates and books and periodic Op-ed’s by Thomas Friedman to develop a vision to educate the barefoot students in the urban slums and 600,000+ rural communities of India.

Mr Friedman is a frequent visitor to India and contributor of inspiring books and Op-ed columns on progress of India. The initiatives in Fixing Education by Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation are well documented.*

Prof AJP Abdul Kalam is an Indian idol and Bill Gates, Steve Job and Mark Zuckerberg are some American idols that succeeded fabulously with their DIY mindset. We are inspired by these innovative and creative persons to help VA to set up and operate the INDUSAPTI.

To Conclude

We are focused on assembling a team that is passionate about delivering a high quality K1 – 12 level educational foundations to the barefoot students any where on the globe in general and particularly to disadvantaged barefoot students in India.

To address the need of students to learn in their mother tongue we have plans to create separate web-pages for every major language and specifically for 28 languages of India. These web-pages will be a part  of the INDUSAPTI. For such an experiment to be successful, we solicit volunteer help from global social networks to generate lesson plans in English and their mother tongue to be incorporated into the INDUSAPTI.

We suggest and request Mr Friedman to visit the INDUSAPTI and talk to VP of VA – Dr Yogesh Kulkarni – to see operations of Vigyan Ashram at Pabal, Pune District in Maharashtra State.

References, notes and an Appeal to Philanthropists  

  1. Robin Wright, “ROCK THE CASBAH; Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World” 307 pp., Simon & Schuster (2011)
  • The Ottoman Empire ended in 16th century. By almost any metric, for last 500 years the Islamic countries have fallen behind the rest of the world. With economic stagnation most Muslims have been reduced to living in deplorable economic, social and political circumstances.
  • Distorted interpretations of Islam teach semi-literate believers not to learn western scientific orientations and not to tolerate non-Islamic faiths.*
  • The stagnation may end if the Arab Springs (2010 – present) leads to Islamic renaissance and potentially catalyzes an Islamic renaissance as masses get empowered with internet connectivity to access globally for knowledge.
  • The peaceful revolutions were staged in 6 of 57 OIC nations. However, with the Arab Springs political vacuum surfaced, leading to civil wars for power grab by political opportunists.
  1. A 50 minutes video at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7244987184341990763# presents the story of  VA.
  1. VANASTHALI RURAL DEVELOPMENT CENTRE Website: http://www.vanasthali.net/main.htm
  • E-Mail: vanasthalee@eth.netPhone: +91-020-25651550 Fax: +91-020-25660124
  • Address: 318 / 19 B, Canal Road, Model Colony, Pune 411 016 (Maharashtra, INDIA)
  • Contact: Mrs. Nirmala Purandare, Founder and President
  • Vanasthali Rural Development Centre (VRDC) in 2006 completed 25 years of its meaningful service in the field of pre-primary education in rural Maharashtra. Up till now Vanasthali has offered pre-primary teachers’ training for over TEN thousand rural women, who in turn have trained over 100,000 children.
  • Though pre-primary education has been the primary focus of Vanasthali, the organization has successfully addressed the issue of gender by empowering the rural women to become pre-primary teachers.  Vanasthali feels that rural women are relegated to a secondary status due to social constraints and lack of exposure. Therefore, Vanasthali makes the women as the focal point of its activities so as to develop and use her potentialities fully. Vanasthali also sees that rural women become a catalyst in the process of rural development. Arranging for formal and non-formal educational activities for them is the mainstay of its activities.
  • Kishan Bhatia, “Directory of NGO” 03182008RILJNGODirectory: After a 10-week yatra, RILJ (rural India learning journey) with a group of NRIs (Dec 2007 – Feb 2008) a directory of 26 NGOs was complied and it is available from the author upon request.
  • This list of NGOs offers contact details, website links, their areas (subjects) of work, regions in India  where their operations are concentrated and few project site descriptions with pictures that the author found it worth a special mention. Interested readers are requested to use websites for additional  details.
  • Kishan Bhatia, “Satvic Rural Development Ideas,” Apr-07-2008 http://www.blogs.ivarta.com/Satvic- Rural-Development-Ideas/blog-93.htm
  • Kishan Bhatia, “Hybrid Rural Development Model,” Feb-18-2008 http://www.blogs.ivarta.com/Hybrid-Rural-Development-Model/blog-79.htm
  • Kishan Bhatia, “Multiplying Value of Social Activism with Horizontal Networking” 0217 2010 www.ivarta.com; http://www.blogs.ivarta.com/Multiplying-Value-Social-Activism-with-Horizontal-Network/blog-354.htm (Main article 2,073 words; balance of 3, 324 words References and notes); copy available from author upon request.
  1. “Aeroplanes: Made in India,” http://ibnlive.in.com/news/aeroplanes-made-in-india/201712-11.html
  • With demand steadily increasing for cheap flights between small towns in India, the country is trying to make its own passenger planes. Designed in India and made in Australia, the CNM5 is the first Indian plane jointly developed by CSIR-NAL, a government lab and Mahindra Aerospace, a private company. It can fly five people or serve as an air ambulance or goods carrier. You could buy one for about two crore (Less than $400,000)
  • “India: The World’s Secret Silicon Valley.” The Atlantic Monthly, (Nov 12, 2012), You might not know it, but a key cog in the global innovation machine is hiding in plain sight in the world’s largest democracy” according to the Atlantic Monthly report at http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/11/india-the-worlds-secret-silicon-valley/248341/
  • To understand the nature of this invisibility, consider how new complex multicomponent products such as engines, IT hardware, or even major software are currently developed in multinational companies. Using horizontal segmentation, the various components involved are often developed in parallel, in different countries, only to be assembled at a later date. And India plays a large role in this multi-country orchestration of development of new products.
  1. More details on Aakash capabilities, etc are available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aakash_tablet) .
  • In a country where 75 percent of the people live on less than $2 a day,……… one year ago, India’s Human Resources Development Ministry put out a very specific proposal that (Prof) Kalra and his technology institute decided to take up, when no one else would: Could someone design and make a stripped-down iPad-like, Internet-enabled, wirelessly connected tablet that the poorest Indian family, saving about $2.50 a month for a year, could afford if the government subsidized the rest? Specifically, could they make a simple tablet usable for distance learning, teaching English and math or just tracking commodity prices for under $50, including the manufacturer’s profit?
  • The answer was yes. Last month, Kalra’s team – led by two IIT Rajasthan electrical engineering professors, one of whom comes from a village that still has no electricity – unveiled the Aakash tablet.  Aakash is Hindi for sky. It’s based on the Android 2.2 operating system, with a 7-inch touch screen,  three hours of battery life and the ability to download UTube videos, PDFs and educational software like Virtual Labs. The government will subsidize the wireless connections for students.
  • If Indians could only purchase tablets made in the West, the price points would be so high they’d  ever spread here, said Kalra, so “we had to break the price point” in a big way. They did it by taking full advantage of today’s hyperconnected world: pulling commodity parts mainly from China and South Korea, using open-source software and collaboration tools and employing the design  manufacturing/assembly abilities of two companies in the West – DataWind and Conexant Systems – and Quad inIndia.
  • The Aakash is a ray of hope that Indiacan leverage technology to get more of its 220 million students enough tools to escape poverty and poor teaching, but it’s also a challenge to the West. For playlist of KhanAcademy lessons, go to http://www.khanacademy.org/
  1. To Perceive Meaning and Definition of Intellectual Cognizance see http://thinkexist.com/dictionary/meaning/perceive/
  • To obtain knowledge through the senses; to receive impressions from by means of the bodily organs;
  • to take cognizance of the existence, character, or identity of, by means of the senses; to see, hear, or feel; as, to perceive a distant ship; to perceive a discord.
  • to apprehend by the mind; to be convinced of by direct intuition; to note; to remark; to discern; to see; to understand.
  1. KIPP at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge_Is_Power_Program; the “Knowledge Is Power  Program”
  2. Malcome Gladwell, “Outliers; The Story of Success” Little, Brown and Company NY (2008); Int’l ed. ISBN 978-0-316-0366-6
  3. Fareed Zakaria, GPS, CNN Special, “Fixing Education” aired on November 12, 2011 offered ideas by Bill gates and Mr Khan of the Khan Academy for fixing the broken US education.
  • For past several years I have followed initiatives in the field of education by Bill and Malinda Gates foundation. I have seen news reports that the Khan academy is funded (JV?) by the Bill and Malinda  gates foundation.
  1. We make this public appeal to the Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation, Fareed Zakaria and Mr Khan for any help they can provide to make the INDUSAPTI a world class educational material developer to deliver it at the doorsteps of the internet connected barefoot students  any where on globe.
  • Same ideas of Bill and Malinda Gates, Fareed Zakaria and the Khan Academy are applicable to fix’s India educational deficiencies. For development of the INDUSAPTI we are trying to develop and deliver an improved K1 – 12 level educations at the doorsteps of the slum and rural barefoot students , with access to internet connection and a tablet or a PC.
  1. Thomas Freidman, “India’s Innovation Stimulus”  NYT , November 6, 2011 at  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/06/opinion/sunday/friedman-indias-innovation-stimulus.html? ref=thomaslfriedman and also “Two Peas in a Pod,” NYT,  Nov 8, 2011 http://topics.nytimes.com/top/opinion/editorialsandoped/oped/columnists/thomaslfriedman/index.html
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