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Techie turns teacher to kindle science spirit among children

Techies quit jobs to launch start-ups or opt for higher education, but a strange case of a techie quitting his job to become a ‘teacher’ has come to the fore. Dhruva V Rao was a software engineer at Infosys. But he gave up the lucrative career opportunities to become a teacher and offer better care for children and by doing so, found his true calling.

Dhruva born to supporting parents Vasudeva Rao, who is an Engineer and Rashmi, a school teacher, did his schooling at JSS Public School. Later, he completed his Pre-University course from Marimallapa’s College and Bachelors of Engineering at SJCE. The quest for innovation started at a very young age and Dhruva used to roam around Sub-Urban Bus Terminal, Gujris (scrap yard) and K T Street looking for scraps so that he can create something new out of it. The zest for making new things was always there.

Though he worked as an engineer, he felt the vacuum and that is where the idea to start a ‘Science Ashram’ sprouted. It is kind of a science enrichment centre where children learn science by experiencing it. Keeping this in mind, teachers of Science Ashram have designed the content to make sure the child succeeds academically and grows morally and emotionally where children could learn science by doing experiments, building robots and lot of science activities.

Different thinking

It so happened that one day Dhruva and his friend Rohan, were thinking of doing something new that benefits the society. They sat at Kannan Bakery and several ideas flashed in their minds, but were not satisfactory. However, the duo just casually thought of Science Ashram where science is taught by doing it. But they had to think twice, as they were the first to think of a science enrichment centre in city and they did not have any idea about whether it will be a success or not, again it is their first venture too. Before thinking too much, they decided to follow their heart and as a result came up with Science Ashram to promote science.

In the next 10 days they acquired a space and in the first three months they did not get any enrolment at the ashram.  Dhruva along with his friends started to work on innovative experiments on science teaching. In September 2014 the ashram witnessed the first admission and now has 200 students with 20 teaching enthusiasts.

What does science mean to you? Why is teaching science important?Science is the know-how of everyday things around work. I feel true understanding of the world lies in things around (which is science).

In what ways do you make learning science fun?

We believe science should be taught like a game, we allow kids to play with science, build interesting experiments, thus making it fun and interesting to learn. 

 Imagine if cricket/cycling/swimming is theoritically taught inside a classroom and then the candidate is made to write the examination without ever practically playing the game; by answering questions do you think one could be a good cricketer/cyclist/swimmer? Never! One has to meddle with things play to learn the art. 

I precisely think the same with science as well, one has to play around with science to learn and master the concepts. 

 As a teacher, how do you use technology to teach science?

 We at the Science Ashram, basically use a pre-recorded video cassette to introduce the concept and teachers are in the class to help a child to build, experiment and clear his doubts on a one-on-one basis. 

 All the classroom videos are available in the child’s profile on our website, so that kid can always go home and play again to revise the concept. 

 How can we gear up the training process to help improve science teaching?

 At Science Ashram we help government schools, and several CBSE and ISCE schools with model science experiments which have been developed and offered free in order to enable the teachers explain the concepts in a precise manner to kids. 

 Also Government of India is providing funding to a group of schools across the country to help them build their own tinkering labs – Check: http://niti.gov.in/content/atal-tinkering-laboratories , This helps kids to innovate and better learn the concepts. 

What do you think about the state of school-level education in India? Is it doing enough to trigger children’s interest in science?

 All schools genuinely want to do well, all the teachers have true dedication to do good to children. It’s just the very set up of running from time-to-time which provides less scope for creativity in schools. But I am sure with Atal tinkering lab and other government funds, will kindle kids interest in science and technology. 

Finally, what is your biggest goal in life?

To be able to help every child have his or her own personal lab/workshop and equip each child to build anything that he or she aspires to build. 

I want to see a world where innovations and breakthrough inventions happen at school level and not just at the corporate level. 

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