Mumbai: Sneha Banerjee, Grade 10 student from DAV Durgapur, West Bengal, otherwise would not have taken the word of her science teacher when they said, “Trees and flowers are the best water-purification agents.” But after going through the Bootcamp on entrepreneurship skills and design thinking, the idea became tangible for her curious mind. “Learning science and EVS through a book-based curriculum doesn’t make us think beyond the books. We only focus on what’s the correct answer to obtain better marks. Learning entrepreneurship skills made me realize, I too can solve problems using my creative ideas.” Sneha says proudly after winning runner’s up trophy in ENpower’s India’s Future Tycoons. Her unique water purification agent, made out of flower stem, demonstrated better water purification properties than many commercial purifiers.
There are many students like Sneha who feel suffocated in the current school education system that focuses on a bookish curriculum, rote learning, and a blind race for securing the highest marks.
“Despite having good infrastructure and schools at par with global standards, the education system in India continues to lag behind other countries in terms of learning outcome and making students future-ready,” said Anurag Tripathi, Secretary of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
The school education system, structure, deployment, and content have stagnated over the last several years. It has proved to be inadequate to nurture skills of 2030 such as creative thinking, empathy, risk-taking, collaboration, and decision making.
“In the quest of nurturing our students as problem solvers, we present them with problem statements from real life. We also inspire them to think critically. But in real life, who will define problems for them? Before attempting to solve problems, we need to first nurture them with the skill of defining problems. Entrepreneurial mindset helps the next generation to practice empathy, convert problems into opportunities, and to build solutions that can change their world,” Sushil Mungekar, Founder & CEO of ENpower points out.
ENpower has taken pioneering efforts in building an entrepreneurship and life skill learning ecosystem for school children between 8 to 18 years. The venture has touched more than 25000 students across India through their school workshops, online coaching, gamified learning sessions, and simulators.
“Nurturing entrepreneurship skills among children is often mistaken as business training. We believe that a structured simulation of entrepreneurship life stages helps children to build a mindset of managing uncertainties and changes in the future. In a true sense, entrepreneurship skills are like a vaccine every child needs to prepare them for future uncertainties. These skills unlock their true potential and help them achieve success on any path they choose,” Sushil Mungekar further adds on his vision of ENpower.
Start-ups and corporates have given a thumbs up to this idea. Nikhil Vora, CEO of Sixth Sense and a parent-turned-investor of ENpower, comments, “When I sum up my views as a parent and as a corporate professional, I can see a paradigm shift in the future of jobs as well as the jobs of the future.” He further added, “Making our children think like an entrepreneur not only makes them independent problem solvers and venture builders, it also makes them great leaders of the future.”
Besides the entrepreneurship learning platform for children, ENpower has also pioneered many initiatives to awaken the spirit of entrepreneurship among school children. India’s Future Tycoons is ENpower’s entrepreneurship search and mentorship platform that got a raving response from young adults last year. More than 7100 students across 330 schools from 152 cities of India participated in IFT 2 to solve India’s water crisis.
ENpower has launched a joint certification program on ‘Entrepreneurship and Sustainability’ with the United Nations Global Compact (UN GCNI) that encourages children to build creative solutions towards attaining SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).
“The spirit of entrepreneurship is awakening in India. Mere academic marks won’t be sufficient to ensure success in changing times. Schools and parents need to focus on nurturing life skills among children to make them future-ready,” Arvind Narayanan, a career Banker-Turned-Co-founder of ENpower states.