In many cases, solving pressing global issues begins with local action. The Learning Links Foundation is working to empower young students from rural India who are studying scientific and technical subjects that can help improve community living conditions. Their project aims to equip youth with the entrepreneurial skills needed to design innovative business plans to tackle socio-economic challenges. The Learning Links Foundation, in partnership with the Akashaya Centre, has chosen the state of Kerala to implement this initiative and special STEM curriculum because of its high literacy levels and the large number of educated youth.
The project is being implemented under two models: Formal and Non Formal The non-formal model will be implemented in an extended learning environment and will encourage the youth to create socially relevant business ideas and projects by exploring STEM based local knowledge and resources. The formal model will be implemented in a formal school system and will bridge the gap between STEM competency and entrepreneurial proficiency by knitting both the strands together for a comprehensive integrated learning experience to prepare the students for success in the global age. Formal Model In the State of Uttar Pradesh: The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and Ministry of Human Resource development has estimated that there will be huge short fall of trained and skilled manpower in India by 2015. Post numerous discussions and showcasing on the value addition of our curriculum, and in line with the mandate of skill enhancement, LLF uploaded value adding content into laptops which have been distributed to students. Under this scheme a student clearing the grade 12th examinations is being provided a laptop by the UP government. We were in discussion with government on addressing their need for skilling the youth, and the impact of such a scheme in achieving their goals. Identifying the need for technology integration into the educational system and developing Entrepreneurial skills among the youth, LLF proposed and followed up on the integration of HP content into the laptops provided to the students. In collaboration with the Government of UP we have impacted 10000 students. Non Formal Model STEM with Entrepreneurship: The Synergy. One of our biggest accomplishments was to develop content around these two in a way which is easy to understand and imbibe. The training material is now being used not only to train student’s but also the trainers. Secondly, the support we have received from the State government/Policy Influencers to further STEM based entrepreneurship has been remarkable. In the State of Kerala: Two centers were shortlisted after discussions with the district Akshaya project offices (Common Service Centers commissioned under National e-governance plan of the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India). We received a lot of support from the State for the above activity. The Center Directors of the shortlisted facilities were counseled on the program. The technology that we received as a part of the HP Infrastructure grant was transferred to the concerned state after signing a MoU’s with the Akshaya State Project office. The centre directors along with the LLF team organized a mass awareness programs in Areacode and Pattimattom. A formal launch of the LLF- Akshaya Centre of Excellence, was attended by state ministers, legislative, Local Self Governance (LSG) members and the general public. The first batch of learners was enrolled in September’12. These learners completed their training in December’12. Two more batches have been enrolled since then. They are currently in the en route to completion of the training. The Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) was celebrated at Malapuram, Commerce academy, Areacode.
Findings & Achievements:
Formal Education 1. UP impact: 10000 Students Non Formal Education 1. Launch of two centers 2. Completing training for Batch 1 3. Commencing training for Batch 2 4. Celebrating and spreading awareness on the Global Entrepreneurship Week
Collaboration within Catalyst:
Education Quality Foundation India Akshaya Center
India’s biggest strength is its diversity. This is also the biggest challenge for anyone implementing a Pan India initiative. For greater impact, the HP LIFE curriculum should be translated into different local languages. We could help implement such an initiative.