The protagonist of the following interview did not just learn for the sake of education. Instead, he delved deep into the actual aspects of learning. And when he came across opportunities, he traveled to many counties to understand the right value of education. Later, he came back to India to revolutionize the country’s education system.
Let’s see how Vinodh Kumar, Learning Coach of Smart Ninja Learning Solution, did that.
Please introduce yourself and your journey as an educator, to our readers, and also tell us what inspired you to pursue this career?
“Education is the manifestation of perfection already in man” – Swami Vivekananda. This quote has been my only pursuit of happiness since 2008, when I started my first STEM Training Company in Chennai. I did my Bachelors in Science and opted for a costly MBA from a B-School in New Delhi.
Ever since my school days, I have been very much focused on actual learnings and not just learning for the sake of education. Four months into the B-School program, I got an opportunity to do an internship in France and dropped out of the B-School program and went to France to learn in the real market.
For two years, I was working in various challenging projects for large conglomerates and worked in nearly 17 different countries. My travel made me understand the value of the right kind of education and hence came back to India in 2008 and started my STEM Training Company to educate the real value of education to kids.
Since then, for the past 12 years, I have started and run several landmark companies in the educational domain such as TechKnowledge Education, Space Trek Planetarium, Space Science Learning Club, Smart Ninja Global Pre School and have impacted more than 700000 students in South East Asia.
Today, STEM Education is a craze among parents and schools, but 12 years back then, we were among the firsts to use and propagate the concept of STEM Education in India.
Today, other than running my EdTech companies, I consult with schools and teachers to enhance the learning experience inside classrooms and introduce the novel, innovative concepts for the benefit of children.
More than 20+ schools have been running with SteadFast Learning Pedagogy, which I have founded and advocate more schools to follow to provide the best learning experience to students.
Kindly describe to our audience, what is SteadFast Learning Pedagogy?
SteadFast learning is a new model of delivery of education that is envisioned by me and implemented in classrooms all across the country. Children have been mere consumers of knowledge, and they are only tested on their prowess of remembering this knowledge, which is inadequate for today’s world.
Under SteadFast learning, children are pushed from being mere consumers of knowledge to become creators of knowledge from what they consumed. They create blogs, videos, tutorials, presentations, posters, etc. and express the knowledge that they have gained attaining critical skills 21st-century skills such as communication, computational thinking, problem-solving, etc.
The ultimate motive of SteadFast Learning Pedagogy is to make children own up their learning curve and become life-long learners.
Tell us more about Smart Ninja Learning Solutions and how you have helped young intellectuals to learn and grow.
Smart Ninja is an integrated learning studio to bring in the best of world-class education with access to real-world learning for kids from Kindergarten to Middle School. It is a First of a Kind concept in Tamil Nadu. The concept of school education is changing drastically around the world, and Smart Ninja Global School is an attempt in the direction of making a meaningful impact on children.
Today Smart Ninja operates a Kindergarten School with 60 kids providing new-age learning to parents who want a refreshing change from our outdated school education system.
Pertaining to your significant experience in the education sector, how, according to you, has the Indian Education Sector developed over the time?
With an astute overview with the World Education Sector, the Indian Education Sector has both grown and gone back at the same time. There has been tremendous growth in the personalized learning sector, while the school education sector has failed to capitalize on the growth of the personalized learning sector.
Today, the education sector is transitioning a phase where parents have understood the importance of skill enhancement and are actively looking to supplement school education with other programs.
I feel, once the schools look at the real value deliverable of the education they offer, the system is in for a major overhaul. In short, from an examination system, we need to move to a skill enhancement system.
What is your opinion on the necessity for early learning/preschools for the upcoming generation?
Science clearly points that 90% of a child’s brain development is complete before they are eight years, so it is important for kids to get a head start in the right direction and a good preschool will act to enhance and aid this brain development rather than engage them for a few hours with no(n)-sense activities.
I always recommend parents to look out for a child-centric product while choosing any kind of learning tools for their parents. A child-centric product needs very little teacher, and when children assimilate things on their own, they tend to learn more.
With the advent of smartphones in the hands of kids as young as six months, the passage of negative influences for them has grown manifold, and the right preschool will help kids to mitigate the negative effects of smartphone addiction.
What are the specials about Smart Ninja Global School?
Smart Ninja Global School has a very well researched child-centric curriculum that focuses on skill enhancement in young children. Other than the curriculum, the school has a state-of-the-art infrastructure for kids to enjoy the best of Play Way Learning. The school is the first school in India to follow the principles of SteadFast Learning Pedagogy.
Smart Ninja has never been about the growth of children but a place where the family grows. It is a proud fact that today more than 200 families are associated with Smart Ninja through various programs in Tiruchirappalli.
What would be your advice to those aspiring to become entrepreneurs in the education sector?
The education sector is not for the faint heart, and my heart will always bleed when I see entrepreneurs start something in this sector with only making quick money as the motive. The school education sector in India is a relationship selling sector.
Being in the sector for 12 long years, my only advice for new edupreneurs is to take the market into confidence while building a product and talk to people who will buy and use their product before spending time on building the product, Minimum Viable Product and Agile are not just words for the IT sector!
What have you envisioned for yourself and your organization in the near future?
With Smart Ninja, we want to create micro-schools across the country. Why should schools have 1000 or 2000 kids? If you see schools – mostly will resemble a factory. The current system focuses on judging a book by only its cover and I simply, refuse to accept it. My dream is to create a utopian education system, which truly reflects what Swami Vivekananda said all those years ago.
To create such a system, the front-line soldiers’ would-be teachers. That is why for the past year, we have been creating a lot of learning tools for teachers and made them available for FREE through our YouTube channel and podcasts.
In the next few years, I envision creating a very futuristic facilitator training program that will be in aid of every teacher who wants to create the best learning experience for their students in the classroom.