By Rusen Kumar
MUMBAI: STEM Learning, a leading social enterprise, has emerged as one of the key CSR implementer by establishing more than 650 mini science centers across the 15 states and impacted more than 6,50,000 students with more than 450 training and 2700 teachers’ training. In an interview with Rusen Kumar, Editor, India CSR Network; STEM Learning’s Founder and CEO Ashutosh Pandit said, “Models designed by STEM help students in identifying and experiencing the actual products which they learn from text books making it more practical oriented.” He said, “I strongly believe that India can be able to produce quality and talented manpower only when their will be equal and equitable opportunity for Science Education. Progress of nation and progress of science education is closely linked.” Edited Excerpts:
Tell us about your enterprise and it’s vision and Mission?
We at STEM Learning are dedicate to the pursuit of making learning a simulative and exploratory process, and with our rich resource of subject experts and interaction with brilliant teaching facility we can help take education to another level. We provide rural and urban, both the schools with scientific models which are capable of lighting the scientific drive in young children, through our visual aids and teacher training programs we make sure children are given the right guidance so as to help them gain a bright future.
In our country Education is fundamental right. Education means better and quality education. Development of the scientific temper is our fundamental duty. I strongly believe that India can be able to produce quality and talented manpower only when their will be equal and equitable opportunity for Science Education. Progress of nation and progress of science education is closely linked.
Can you tell us about yourself and motivation behind establishing social enterprise?
At heart I am nothing but a simple entrepreneur and I have started a few ventures to satisfy my drive for success like in the hospitality realm through resorts I have made, but I always wanted to give back to society what it so graciously gifted me with. That’s when the idea for STEM Learning first gained direction, I started it as a way to help young students get closer to the world of Science and technology as it is where the future is at. This venture has made me a better and I hope it can do the same for society.
Do you have your own manufacturing unit for science model?
Yes, we produce all our own equipment through our factory in Thane, this leaves us with the task of easily enhancing the quality of our equipment or correcting any issues without any wastage of time. Through our own manufacturing unit we have provided over 650 installations with more than 60 models each, and we plan to double our reach in the next financial year.
According to you really Science exhibits can help the students to learn new things in class rooms?
Yes, we certainly believe that, because learning through Visual aids give the children a visual representation of the working of several scientific principles. And because of the incredible built quality and portability of our product teachers can carry it around with around with ease.
How Corporate can involve in promotion of Science exhibits and science education in Schools?
Through the process of CSR, our Corporates have already shown their dedication to the advancing of education, to garner a better relation with the society they can also setup these channels close to their factories to develop their relation with the community.
What are the biggest challenges before science education in our country?
Scientific education has always faced challenges like insufficient importance given to science or even the lack of research to further research and development but the most demanding problem is children being taught to Mug up scientific principle instead of try to understand it, through a hands on relation between kids and parents we can help this cause of science and may be change the way education is perceived and absorbed in our country.
What kind of support you see from corporate, Govt. and civil society to restore the interest of students towards science knowledge?
Like I mentioned before the corporate sector is already ahead in its CSR efforts and it has pushed the boundaries of learning to a new horizon, we also look at a hands on approach as integral to the direction we take. And when the corporate sector, Govt. and Civil Society come together they can make a genuine difference.
Can you tell us something about present Stem Learning activities?
STEM Learning has tried to enhance the quality of education as one of its fundamental goals, this is achieved by a diversity of ideas, firstly and most important is the provision of scientific equipment through the form of Mini Science Centers to rural schools, this helps children and teachers connect through the power of visual learning. We also conduct Teacher Training sessions to help teachers’ better use the provided scientific apparatus through new and fascination techniques that are designed to keep the children engrossed and happy.
Share about your achievements?
We have wide presence in 15 states and successfully implemented over 650 mini science centers with CSR that have brought quality education to doorstep of school children in rural & urban Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Goa, Karnataka, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, J&K, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu and many other towns across India. A Science Center includes 60 working models/exhibits that portray the principles of science along with 30 informational colorful backdrops, teachers manual and user manuals. Science centers have impacted more than 6,50,000 students with over 450 training and 2700 teachers’ training. Our exhibits have been approved by MSERT. But my biggest achievement in my opinion is the chance to give back to my community and become part of its progress.
Can you tell us about your future plans for Stem Learning?
The future is a very bright place especially for education but it can only be that beautiful and bright if we put the efforts to improve today, that’s why we plan to reach another 500 schools in this year and through that also involve a few more sectors like the Pharmaceuticals, Banking and finances, Steel and many more to reach the goals we set to achieve.
STEM Learning is headquartered in Mumbai. Detailed information can be accessed at http://stemlearning.in. Read more about Ashutosh Pandit. To establish a Mini Science Center write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Rusen Kumar is the editor at India CSR Network.
Disclaimer: The thoughts captured in the interview is solely that of the interviewee. The views expressed by the author in this feature are entirely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of India CSR Network and its Editor.
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