How Indian students are leveraging available opportunities during a pandemic
At the National Skill and Entrepreneurship Innovation Conclave in Feb 2021, our Founder Mekin Maheshwari explained how education in India focuses on knowledge (made more accessible now with Google Search at the tap of a button) and skills (which one can get better at, with practice). He also stressed on a third component of education, which is vital and often forgotten due to its arbitrary nature - mindset.
Mekin described mindsets as “how you approach life or your view towards life - for example, do you wait for someone to tell you what to do OR do you think independently?”
Even through the pandemic, learners who have access to online education are only being served with knowledge and skills. There is still a distinct lack of enabling mindset development among learners during the time being allocated towards ‘education’.
Udhyam has attempted to up the ante by piloting a project of Online Entrepreneurship with 30 learners from a Pre-University college in Bangalore, and in less than a year, it impacted around 900 learners! 550 of them graduated from this program across Bangalore and Kerala.
18 year old Chetan from SGPTA Thyagarajanagar participated in Udhyam Shiksha’s Online Entrepreneurship Program and says, “I participated, never hesitated. We worked hard and smart.. I am proud that I convinced outsiders and not just my family and friends.”
Udhyam Shiksha combated the pandemic head-on and took to establishing itself through an online entrepreneurial learning program (OEP) to enable entrepreneurial mindsets in learners from the ages of 17-22. Udhyam Shiksha’s Online Entrepreneurship Program has brought a positive shift in learners’ self-efficacy and grit. Some of the participants have also shared that they have become more confident and better at communication. Additionally, several participants have started small businesses individually or in a group as a part of the program during this pandemic, such as making and selling handmade soaps, cloth masks, pickles or baked goods, and offering designing services.
Udhyam Shiksha’s Online Entrepreneurship Program has a total of 12 online sessions, where participants get to learn about different business concepts, and apply the knowledge in the real world through activities and assignments. This program also pushes the participants to reflect on their day-to-day journey of entrepreneurship to build self-efficacy in them.
The mindset changes learners experience through this program are learning to learn, confidence, competency to achieve goals, idea iteration, and improvements. Here are a handful of business posters the learners put together for their respective businesses.
None of this would have been possible without the wonderful teachers from our partner organizations facilitating and taking ownership of the program. The team at Udhyam Shiksha also trained 40+ teachers to implement this program.
Surabhi from the Online Entrepreneurship Program team at Udhyam Shiksha said, “We needed a short and crisp program that not only helped them learn about entrepreneurship and about entrepreneurial mindsets, but also pushed them to start small and start from home. Our participants have shared that they never thought that they could start something of their own before OEP. But after completing the program, they mentioned that they believe in themselves and feel more confident.”
Student-preneurs are quite excited about the opportunity of going through a 10-day program after which they seem to observe changes in themselves. Learners also realize capacity-building tendencies and work with newfound mindsets, like Tanuja, who said, “I don't generally learn new things. From this program, I started learning new things. Started searching for things online. Thinking more - not being free, not wasting time.”
The need of the hour during the pandemic has been to continue engaging learners. The activities in the curriculum have been reimagined to enable learners to be more independent, experience learning with limited facilitation from the teachers and more of their own agency. It has also opened up more opportunities for integrating real-life learning, which is one of our core learning principles. For example, now students can work on situations that are real for them and their immediate surroundings, which include their family and neighbourhood.
Similarly, reimagining the Live Entrepreneurship Interaction online, another key learning process that connects learners with entrepreneurs, has seen increased viewership and surfaced students’ keen interest in exploring entrepreneurship as a career option or more generally managing the stress that comes with making their own choices. They are also being encouraged to use social media channels such as Instagram and WhatsApp to start their businesses with their savings or small monetary help from their families while using the time with the program facilitator and their peers to solve issues they face.
To enquire about this program, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org