You Must Learn From Your Own Success: Deputy CM, Delhi
Manish Sisodia, Deputy CM, Delhi speaks about the Business Blaster Programme and its aim to create an entrepreneurial mindset among students. Excerpts.
Photo Credit : PTI,
What are the initiatives the Delhi government is taking in the education sector?
We have been working hard in the last six-seven years in Delhi, especially in the government schools’ segment. The infrastructure has improved, as has teacher motivation and teacher training. Now results are at an all-time high, with 99 to 100 per cent pass outs. Our next focus is on entrepreneurship, for which we have introduced a program called ‘Business Blasters’. Under this program, we are giving INR 2000 per student, following which they can form their groups and invest the money in some innovative idea which they can also earn from. The whole purpose of this program is to inspire them to become successful entrepreneurs. We recently conducted a pilot of this project, and we realised students coming from poor families have done really well and made a lot of profit out of it.
With the focus on primary and secondary education, why is there a focus on entrepreneurship?
We are not asking the students to become entrepreneurs, but the idea is to work on their mindset. Anyone who is coming for a job or doing business needs an entrepreneurial mindset. Joblessness is one problem, the other is development of the country. When we have the best of the best entrepreneurs in the country, we will have the best of the best companies in our country, and the best of the best economic scenario in the country, that is why we are working on it.
Entrepreneurship is more on the job training. With that said, how is the Delhi Government roping in the appropriate manpower to teach the students?
Students are learning on their own, given that they have the opportunity and the seed money. They are investing and learning from that. I am not saying they should run their business for their entire life, but for a shorter period. If you fail you learn from that, if you succeed then take it forward or you can leave it during one’s study. The idea is to prepare the younger population to be prepared for the country’s economy. If you are not adding value to the country’s economy, then you are not an asset to the country.
Can you tell us about a few success stories that emerged from the pilot project you were running?
We started the entrepreneurship mindset curriculum two years back. Then covid came and schools were not functioning the way they should be. Seeing this we started the seed money project which is one of the components of the entrepreneurial mindset curriculum. Under the pilot project, students from one school were offered seed money and were asked to come with their own ideas. They eventually came with their own ideas and many of them were innovative. While some were conventional, the students were willing to do the leg work of business planning, research, and raw supply. For instance, two students who made a group, took INR 2000 from the system and multiplied it to INR 26,000. There were nine different groups in this school, and every group made a profit. Two students knew how to make paintings, and together with five more who could do the marketing, designing, and selling took INR 7,000 from us and are now making a huge profit out of it. One student said I would like to do a business of sharing OTP passwords, and now he is doing wonderfully. Another group is selling Bluetooth speakers produced by themselves and selling them online. The ultimate profit is a confident student, a critical student, who is ready to learn from failures.
Do we have mentorship and incubation facilities in the ‘Business Blasters’ program?
The idea after seed funding from the school will be presented to the class, which will form the first level of scrutiny. The teachers are also being trained to help the students as budding entrepreneurs. When the proposed ideas get some success, we provide them mentorship also. I am not saying every student will start up and continue to work on that, I am saying at this stage we are investing in their learning. You must learn from your own success, as well as the success of others, only then can one become an entrepreneur. We are helping the students have an entrepreneurial mindset. While inaugurating this program I said we have 25 crore homeless people in this country, and we have lakhs of civil engineers standing in front of the doors to provide jobs, and a significant number looking for jobs. If you have entrepreneurs, then the capability of civil engineers can be exploited, and homes provided and both problems can be solved of joblessness and homelessness.
How do you intend to convince parents to encourage an 'entrepreneurial mindset' among children without compromising their studies?
I am not asking them to build a company, I am as asking them to learn how to run a company. If you can do that, you can be a good employee for a company, especially one looking for a leadership position, to lead a team. But if you don’t have an entrepreneurial mindset, no one would love to hire you. If you have the mindset, it will help you in your job. Not only that, jobs will come looking for you rather than you looking for a job. This will also help you become an asset to the country and not a liability. A jobless person who has the highest of the degrees though there are so many problems and so many problems are looking for talent, you are not able to solve the problem. Consequently, you become a liability.
What are the steps the Delhi government is taking in general to improve the quality of education?
We have started with improving the infrastructure of the government school system that was in a very shabby condition. We have started sending the teachers for IIM training, Cambridge training, and Singapore training. Now we have batches of teachers who are self-inspired, and they are in a better position to do something new. We worked on improving the results, which is the first thing people look into while analysing an education system. After improving the results, we are focusing on the actual content of the education. If the student is not confident of doing something creatively, then we have to work on that. The initiatives like ‘Happiness Curriculum’, ‘Entrepreneurship Curriculum’. We have also set up an examination board in Delhi, where IB is a partner.
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