Published: 15th May 2020
Students reimagine their classes with the Changemaker Challenge, which went virtual this year
Bengaluru's Inventure Academy's team event is encouraging high school students to push the boundaries of learning
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown, schools all over the country have been shut for almost two months now. With classes going online, education has been disrupted for lakhs of students like never before. So what is the solution? Bengaluru's Inventure Academy asks just that to students, from the city and beyond, in this year's Changemaker Challenge, which for the first time has also gone virtual. The challenge, which will take place over three rounds, began on April 1 and the finale is scheduled on May 30.
Held over three rounds, the challenge aims to encourage high school students to think about social entrepreneurship, says Mary Whabi, Head of Strategic Initiatives at Inventure Academy. "Initially, the challenge, which began in 2016, was restricted to the city," adds Mary. "We need an education system that motivates students to do their best and contribute to the world around them," says Nooraine Fazal, Managing Trustee and Co-founder, Inventure Academy, about the aim of the challenge.
So how does it work? This year, over 100 teams from schools across India, other South Asian countries and the Gulf, participated in the challenge. Only 25 teams made it to the next round, where they presented their ideas to the judges. From them, 10 teams and three wildcard entries moved to the next round. Prior to the finale, the students will create a pilot project based on their ideas, under the guidance of their mentors.
But going virtual did come with its challenges. "It has taken a lot more effort. There isn't any scope for the students to establish a relationship with their mentors. The only way one can figure out what the student thinks is if they write something on the chat. However, the students were disciplined and punctual," says Nooraine.
Students participating in the challenge have the opportunity to interact with and learn from people who are changemakers (Rahul Kulkarni and Vihari Komaragiri, Founders, DoNew) and have brought about change on the ground, says Nooraine. "Students can learn problem-solving, how to be more adaptive, flexible and how to work with a team," explains Nooraine. "It is also an opportunity for them to reimagine the way their classes are conducted. They also have the opportunity to look at how classes are conducted elsewhere, identify problems and solve them," adds Mary.