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2012-09-18

Teaching for understanding

Imagine being taught by someone who does not have an opinion about how dumb or smart you are. Imagine understanding everything you learn in school and thoroughly enjoying it. Twenty four-year-old Divesh Bathija has made the dream of every student, parent

Imagine being taught by someone who does not have an opinion about how dumb or smart you are. Imagine understanding everything you learn in school and thoroughly enjoying it. Twenty four-year-old Divesh Bathija has made the dream of every student, parent and teacher come true in a simple and magical way.

 

What inspired you to start a venture in the education sector?

When I was doing my post graduation in Westminster; at the beginning of one of my lectures, the professor said the lecture was not important from the point of view of examinations. So I shut my book, picked up my bag and left. After the lecture, one of my classmates came up to me and questioned my behaviour, which he considered rather strange. He went on to tell me that as I did not attend the lecture, the following chapters would not make sense to me at all and he was right. When I opened my book I realised that particular lecture explained the basics and laid the ground work for subsequent chapters.

My behavior made me realise that we Indians are only concerned about exams. Majority of us treat our exams like a memory game. It is all about remembering and writing, there is no understanding of the core concept.

 

How are you working to fix the dent you found in our education system?

I wanted to do something to change the system but did not know how. I tried to understand the child’s problem areas, simultaneously tried to comprehend where we were lacking. In May, I met a person who introduced me to my first school and then to another, and now we are working with the third school. I wanted to start workshops for parents and teachers as well, but primarily focusing on students.

 

Where do you think lies the problem in the education system?

The school going child is burdened with tuitions, because parents think life is a race and a child has to be in the lead. Mothers now play the role of personal assistants, neatly arranging the child’s activity throughout the week. Passion does not matter, a stable job that dispenses money does. The child focuses on scoring maximum marks, how that is done is unimportant. So, the child does not bother understanding what he/child is studying. He/She tries to memorise it and writes it in the exam. The teachers lack the motivation to teach, and it is not their fault because children should reciprocate and show interest.

 

How is your approach different from the conventional school methods?

I believe no child is stupid. If a child can learn to use Facebook and operate iPhones and Androids without coaching classes, he/she can very well understand Mathematics. It is just a matter of interest. Thus, to create interest among students, education must be imparted with practical examples.

We have designed our programme in such a manner that students wait for us, by this I mean our sessions are limited to once a week or once in two weeks. During our workshops for teachers, apart from other topics, we also talk about how to start the lecture in a captivating manner. 

When I speak to students I make them feel I am one of them. When I talk to parents I make them realise I understand their problem. When I talk to teachers, I let them know I have been a teacher and I can understand their feelings.

 

How did you get funds for the project?

I took a loan to fund the project.

 

How many teachers do Dinasim Learning have?

As of now, there are only two -- my sister and me. My sister handles English Grammar classes. We have launched pilot projects for that. As of now, Mathematics is what I am promoting heavily.

The number of teachers will increase once we expand outside Mumbai, which will take place next year.

 

Students of what classes are you targeting currently?

Currently, we are targeting students from the fifth to 10th classes, but with the recent media coverage, colleges have started approaching us.

 

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