In recent years, we have seen a sudden boom in the development of various sectors in our country, India. With new, improved leadership and the introduction of new technologies all over the world, India has already buckled up its seat to head towards the development. However, the biggest problem in our country is that we always focus on the bigger picture and forget about the scattered images around us. The development of a nation takes place with the introduction of new technology, and other things in the system, sure but what if we could develop new technology in our country? How about becoming an inspiration for other countries instead of getting inspired by them?
The biggest problem that is faced by our country is that despite all the development, the education system of our country is covered in dust because the curriculum for schools and colleges is the same as it was ten years ago. The books for schools and colleges are marked as ‘revised edition,’ but the only revision in them is the change of color and the order of chapters, but the text in them is the same. This is the root cause of many problems as the things we study in our schools and colleges are outdated and while all this will help you get a degree in that course, finding a job turn into a “job hunt” due to fierce competition and lack of opportunities.
Meeting her nephews after several years for a pizza party, Aditi Agrawal had no idea that a pizza conversation will turn into a startup for her to educate young minds for a better future. The discussion was about her nephew’s experience in 10th grade and the board exams, but soon it turned into a big shocker for Aditi. She was happy to know that one of them was passionate about business and architecture, but what followed left her speechless and stunned. The books that he was studying in 2018 are the same books that she used to complete her 10th grade in 2008!
While the world is running towards a better future, the Indian education system is still crawling in the same era and between the same books. The fields where we will work and for which we will work are moving ahead as collaborations are taking place regularly at a global level between humans and machines. People are losing their jobs because of the gap between the level of education in our country and the level of technology used in this world. Aditi decided to sort this, and that’s how she launched the School of Future initiative.
The journey from small town to big cities
Born and brought up in a small village in Bihar called Andar, Aditi’s childhood was full of little joys like running around in the town with her friends, frolicking in the mud and playing with bubbles made by soap in the kitchen. Her early years were spent in the town where she attended the local school and stole pieces of chalk regularly for fun. At the age of five, she moved to New Delhi and got the opportunity to get a quality education.
During her summer vacations, she would visit her ancestral home in Ranchi, and even as a child, she was aware of the difference between the level of education she was getting and the education her friends received, and this made an invisible barrier between them. She graduated from Lady Shri Ram College for Women in the year 2013 and worked closely with Mr. Dinesh Trivedi as a parliamentary intern and then volunteered as a teacher on various occasions. She did her post-graduation from Amani Institute in Social Innovation Management and was the youngest in the group of 22 talented change-makers from 15 countries.
The vision of the ‘School of Future’
After that shocking meeting with her nephews, Aditi decided to help out the students of the country with the help of her startup, School of Future. This would serve as the first-ever online platform for young high-school students to learn the real-life entrepreneurship experience. The platform will train them for future work skills like Emotional Intelligence, Design Thinking, Financial Literacy, skills that are developed and taught at internationally acclaimed universities like Harvard and Stanford.
The platform runs a program called Entrepreneur’s Academy, which gives the students a platform to develop their ideas into a business in 100 days. The platform helps these students by providing them with the necessary skills and tools, a collaborative space, and one-on-one mentorship calls. By the end of those 100 days, the student entrepreneurs have to pitch their business idea in front of a jury to win exciting internships, cash prizes, and mentorship.
Challenges faced during the outset
In conversation with TimesNext, Aditi quotes a report to draw attention to the matter in hands. She tells us that according to a report by the Institute for the Future (IFTF), about 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 have not been invented yet. The industrial revolution is taking place in the country where the forces of globalization, collaboration, and automation are taking over at a much faster pace, and the country is not ready yet.
The main challenge faced by them is to get the user to register for their program, and the traditional education system is becoming a barrier for their growth in the country. Another issue that they faced was that the India bureaucracy is not adequately prepared for the growing startup culture of the country, as even with her resources and well-planned work, it took Aditi over two months to get registered.
The team working for the betterment of our country
With a team of five highly-motivated women, the School of Future is slowly working their way up to enlighten the young students of the country with the real challenges that they’ll face in the world.
Kelsey Root (co-founder and product lead)
A high-school teacher for almost four years in Michigan, Kelsey Root moved to India to work with Aditi and help her build and lead the product with utmost passion. Her teaching experience has helped her identify the inadequacies in the education system and enable students to understand their passion and talents.
Poornima Subramaniam (Design Lead)
Working as the design lead for the product, Poornima is a design student who graduated from IIT-Guwahati with an exceptional portfolio and over 2+ years of experience in the industry. She is passionate about creating a first character universe for the students who gain the skills on their journey with the School of Future.
Upali Bhattacharya (product and growth strategist)
Upali brings her invaluable work experience to the platform and the team. She is a sociological researcher and has worked with the Ministry of Human Resource Development in various Indian universities.
Vidushi Chhabra (product and growth strategist)
Starting her first project, Kancha, at the age of 19 that helped in promoting art and education for students at risk, Vidushi is another asset for the group. Her work experience with 200+ students, 100+ workshops, and her passion for education are beneficial for the company.
The first milestone of the journey
Aditi tells us that the most significant milestone for her was to come up with the idea of the program- Entrepreneur’s Academy. Executing the concept in less than one month with over 200 students registering for the program and selecting 22 students for the program, it was a tough task for the team.
They also built the world’s first Future Readiness Index Survey with 2400+ students that participated in it.
The growth of the project and Aditi’s vision for the company
The School of Future is part of a massive growing education-technology market that targets the growing trends like providing secondary supplemental education and focuses on upskilling students with marketable life skills.
India’s online education market is poised to grow at a CAGR of 52% to become a$196 billion markets and around 9.6 million users in 2021.
With the vision to make every child ready for the future and provide them the skills that are needed to thrive in the future, the School of Future wants to build a world where students feel ready to take on the evolving world. They want to create a world where every student knows its value and have the skills and mindset to disrupt the world.
The upcoming School of Future Expo
Come meet the team and explore the Entrepreneurs Academy on Jan 11th, 2020. It is India’s first showcase of student entrepreneurs for parents and students (from standards 9 – 12) who want to explore Future of Jobs and Emerging Careers.