The founders, Divashu Kumar, Awnish Raj and Samyak Jain, all from IIT-Madras, talk about how their peer-teaching programme equips school students with 21st century skills to stay informed and confident.
Though peer teaching has always been in practice, there is no end-to-end structure in place either to systematically implement it or to assess the impact of it and monitor the growth of children. Divanshu Kumar, one of the founders of ‘Involve’, says that their organisation just fits in the gap.
Involve’s current target is low-income private schools in which they train interested and bright students from Class 8 to 12 in the basics of mentoring and peer teaching and make those students teach juniors from Class 4 to 8 subjects such as mathematics, science and English during after-school programmes. While it creates a friendly atmosphere for younger kids to learn from their peers, the seniors too imbibe skills such as problem-solving, presenting their ideas better, confidence to address a gathering, which Involve says are essential citing UN’s goals for 21st century.
“We want to make students self-directed and independent. Even tutorials make them dependent, but that's not what we do,” said Divanshu.
The idea of ‘Involve’ sparked in Divanshu, a final-year Engineering student from IIT-Madras, after he worked with Mumbai-based ‘Avanti Fellows’ where he mentored students of Class 11 and 12. After receiving accolades for his pilot project on peer teaching, he started working on it further with the help of his senior Awnish Raj and junior Samyak Jain, leading to the formation of ‘Involve.’
Divanshu says the two schools that they have worked with are impressed with their module after seeing the change in kids, who till then were not very keen in studies.
“The younger classes showed a 20 per cent improvement in their understanding of subject at the end of the six-week programme and even parents are convinced to enroll them in Involve,” he says. Involve wants to tie up three more schools in the city and two schools in Bengaluru the coming academic year.
Involve is one of the 16 teams shortlisted by Singapore International Foundation for an eightmonth mentorship programme and the end of which six teams will be given a grant of upto Rs 20 lakh each. Already guided by ‘Mantra4Change’, Involve will be further mentored by Singapore-based Temasek Foundation International and McKinsey & Company to make Involve more organised.
SIF recognises ideas with a social cause
The annual Youth Social Entrepreneurs programme, launched by Singapore International Foundation in 2010, has mentored over 772 social entrepreneurs in the last eight years. In the past three years, nearly $3,60,000 (Over Rs 1.6 crore) has been disbursed in seed funding for these social enterprises.
The selected social enterprises will be mentored by international consultants for eight months to shape their ideas better after which top six teams would be selected for a grant upto Rs 20 lakh. With SIF’s grant, social enterprises have been launched in 13 countries including India, Nepal, Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia in the past.
Apart from the financial assistance, the programme also gives participants international exposure and learn from peers at global level. This year, 47 teams comprising 98 budding entrepreneurs from 12 countries were shortlisted to present their ideas or business module that would make a social impact, of which 16 teams were shortlisted for the eight-month long mentorship. Apart from Involve, three other teams with Indian connection made it to the last lap. Greennovations, one of the three teams, wants to put in place a better waste management system to recycle plastic waste to make PET filament for 3D printing and thus lifting up the livelihood of rag pickers.
Tanvi Mittal from Delhi impressed the panelists with her presentation to be selected for the mentorship. Manram, another startup and brainchild for Vishnu Harikumar, Ajmal Muhammed and Vijaya Kumar, has set up a millet processing cluster to encourage farmers cultivate millets. The Kisan Union, formed by two Indians Kannan Venkataramanujam and Nikhil Mukkawar and Singaporean Ho Jing En has proposed the idea of setting up a Smart Solar Kiosk to enable people living in rural areas to have access to government’s e-services and to be informed of its policies.