The term education makes us imagine many things: curriculum, technology, programme or even instructional approach. But aren’t these transient? In addition to the ever-changing professional and technical skills that the professional world will continue to demand from the youth, there are other skills of equal or even greater value such as social intelligence, teamwork, and emotional literacy that have grown in demand.

Udhyam Shiksha believes that education needs to look beyond academics; it needs to build mindsets to adapt and thrive in an ever-changing world. We call these mindsets entrepreneurial mindsets. Entrepreneurial mindsets are not about starting a business – it is about how one approaches life. Udhyam Shiksha creates innovative educational interventions that are rooted in the real-world for youth to equip them with an Entrepreneurial Mindset. We have arrived at this approach through an evidence-based, research-backed approach with proven impact.

By integrating the Shiksha curriculum into the academic approach of Deeksha, both the organizations are delivering Deekshachildrenholistic education of subjective knowledge as well as mindset-focused training of academic and experiential learning. Let’s examine how the Udhyam Shiksha program has helped children gain these skills:

Awareness of Oneself

John Dewey, an American education reformer had said, “We do not learn from experience … we learn from reflecting on experience.” During the business project module, Deeksha learners came up with various business propositions.

Rohan (name changed) and his team-mates created a chocolate-selling business. “Madame here’s chocolate for you,” Rohan said as he approached a woman, his first customer. She excitedly tore open the chocolate, took a bite of it and said, “Thanks!” and walked away without paying! Their next customer asked why she should buy their chocolate, “It’s the latest product in the market,” they said. “Well, I love the one I have been eating from my childhood.” After several such experiences, Rohan’s venture was not successful, but in terms of learning, it proved valuable.

Rohan and his team introspected – what didn’t work and what could be done differently. Here, we see that children themselves take an active part in the learning process. They can choose to be a part of either the problem or the solution. This is the journey to self-awareness and discovery.

Awareness of Others

Collaboration is a key-skill for success, ideas, innovations, process, products and breakthroughs. During a business project in Deeksha’s Indiranagar campus, Sunitha and Rashmi had prepared cake pops. They thought their project was a definite success! But the products weren’t moving. “How can this business fail? We did everything right” they asked their classmates. Eventually, two of their peers said, “Maybe they were overpriced!”. YES!! Sunitha and Rashmi were eager to correct their mistake. But did they have enough time? Suddenly, many others volunteered to help the girls. They all split into pairs and took a few cakes each. In exactly 20 mins, all the cakes were sold! Collaboration had won and given the learners a valuable lesson – Collaboration can make challenges easy…

Awareness of the World

The business venture project encourages children to use real data through a customer survey to arrive at the kind of business they would want to run. Deeksha children at Vijayanagar campus came back one afternoon after completing the customer surveys. When they were sharing their findings,  group A said, “All our respondents loved junk food.” Group B was confused. “Our findings were the exact opposite of it!” they said to the facilitator. The facilitator then asked, “What were the age ranges of your respondents?”. GroupA replied, “17 to 18” and GroupB replied, “Mmm, above 40.” The facilitator went on to explain the preference depending on the segment of the customers and its importance while planning business.

Being aware of all the important factors – internal and external – and seeing how they affect each other, is the foundation of a smart decision-making process. The exercise of customer survey exposed learners to opportunities, to think critically and analyze the pieces on the board.

Today, Deekshachildrenare equipped to tackle real-world challenges. They have a voice. They have the tools and resources. But beyond all these, they are on the way towards self-actualization that will help them chart the journey of life.

About Udhyam: Since 2016, Udhyam Learning Foundation focuses on helping young people develop entrepreneurial thinking and build strong non-cognitive skills through Udhyam Shiksha Program.

The article is written by Sangeeta Rane of Udhyam Learning Foundation with contributions from Udhyam Shiksha coordinators, Abirami S and Florence Keisam.