While many visionaries rise and take the mantle of revolutionizing the education system, seldom are any who have looked upon the traveled path, analyzed it, revamped it, and set out on a new course of redefining education for future generations.
The following interview with Piyush Keshav, the Founder of Orison Education India Limited, reveals exactly the same story and his quest to eradicating the roots of rote learning from our education system.
Let’s walk through the visionary’s journey in his own words.
Please introduce yourself and your journey in setting up Orison Learning Studio. Also, tell us what inspired you to pursue this career path at a young age?
I am passionate about learning and exploring future possibilities of science and humanity. I envisage that we will be able to bring the highest quality of skill and education to every child of this country with an annual reduction in fees, bringing it down to nearly free by 2030.
Orison was initially set up at a small garage of Darbhanga, Bihar, in 2009 with a humble vision to bring quality education within the town and nearby villages. Starting with a class on Vedic mathematics and English grammar to providing tuition for physics and mathematics to class 11th and 12th students and then to building a coaching institute for cracking entrance examinations was a full-on adventurous journey.
Orison became the talk of the town by 2012. Yet, after understanding the fact how regular teaching and coaching kills the creativity of a child in the long run, in 2013, I discontinued the well-established coaching institute to further explore and understand the purpose of education and getting educated.
For a year and so I traveled to different parts of India, spent time in Himalayan Ranges, read ancient Indian Scriptures and developed an idea of having Orison Learning Studio, to cultivate a culture of research-based education in India.
The Idea of India First was implanted in us by our grandfather. Having a vision of developed India is the strongest motivation for young minds. The biggest inspiration came from my parents, who allowed me to paint my own canvas and discover my own destiny. In a middle-class family like us, the biggest challenge is to overcome a mindset of having a settled life and getting a monthly paycheque.
Tell us more about Orison Learning Studio and the need for such an institute.
OLS is designed to build a culture of research-based education from as early as class VI. At Orison, the focus of students is more on diving deep into subject matters and learning in-depth and less in finding tricks to crack objective questions. In the beginning, it looks quite a slow process, but once the clarity happens, learning catapults. We help students move from frailty of spoon-feeding to a habit of self-learning.
India, in the past three decades, has become a nation of preparation. As a nation, we have forgotten the purpose of education and getting educated. India ranks 110th in the overall education category in the Global Innovation Index ranking 2019. India being the 2nd most populous country, ranks 77th in the number of researcher’s categories in GII 2019. These numbers are alarming, looking at the fact that this country has 60 crore plus young minds below age 25.
We have a miraculous opportunity to transform these young minds and hearts into Nation Builders. This decade could become our boon or curse, depending on our choices. India is in dire need to rethink and reimagine its education system.
Please share your views on incorporating technology with education. Also, how are you implementing the same?
Technological forces will shape the future of our education. The previous generation was learning technology. This generation is using technology to learn. Next-generation will use technology to think, imagine, and innovate. Learning will become obsolete.
The biggest beneficiary of the computing advancements will be teachers. They will not have to deliver monotonous lectures, and with freedom of time, they will be allowed to pursue research in their specific domain. Ed-tech companies are still a novice in using technology in the field of education. Technological forces have opened an entire horizon where we can reimagine and rethink education.
Our expert coaches guide students to select between millions of online resources, which are already free and can be used to catapult learning. With all these available online resources, it has become easy for us to focus on imparting knowledge and making them perform. We are developing an AI-based model to create customized and cumulative learning programs for our teachers and students.
Brief us about ‘SMILE’ and how it is reforming the educational model since its inception?
Galileo Galilei, father of modern science said, “You cannot teach a man anything, you can just create an environment to make him learn.” Yet, the majority focus of an educational institution has always been on how to teach effectively and efficiently.
In 2016, I published a paper at IIT Delhi, where I mentioned about creating a conducive learning environment. I conceived of having Self-Motivated Intelligent Learning Environment’ SMILE’. Every child’s learning journey should begin with self-motivation and should be self-paced. We must move from the industrial model of imparting education to more like an agricultural model. The role of a teacher is more like an expert farmer and a gardener, who understands the right proportion of nutrients for different plants and nourishes with patience in mind.
The model is receiving continuous appreciation from thousands of educators and institutions across the globe. It is helping many reformers and educationists think and talk about Self Learning in the age of innovation and creativity.
Please share your obstacles in Orison’s evolution from a coaching institute for competitive examinations to becoming a mascot for building a research-based education system in India.
The biggest obstacle was fighting my own thoughts. Himalayan yogis guided me, and with practice, I learned to dive deep in the ocean within and win my own battles. Once I had a clarity of thought, it was always an easy task to bring parents and educators on the same page.
Yet, as India has somehow become a nation of preparation, and everyone here from KG to PG is busy preparing for some competitive examination, it is a herculean task to create awareness about Research Based Education here in India.
Through our customized workshops at schools and colleges, we are making students, teachers, and parents understand the benefits of mindful learning and how it nourishes creativity with time and practice. Thousands of students have started calling themselves Self Motivated Insightful Learners.
What advice would you give to those who aspire to become entrepreneurs and influencers in the field of education?
In your hands, you have a seed that must be nourished such that they could stand on their own feet in the world twenty years from now. Fear of failure should not be a driving force among children for learning and getting educated.
As an aspiring entrepreneur and influencer in the field of education, your job is to design a product and services through which strength of mind is increased, intellect is expanded, and a child can carry his smile throughout his learning journey. You have got an opportunity to build Nation Builders, use all your resources and time wisely.
What have you envisioned for yourself and your organization in the near future?
As a team, we will play a pivotal role in transforming rural education in India. As an organization, we have plans to build 1,00,000 + learning studios in different villages across the nation. We will bring business opportunities to investors and educators for developing and running Orison Learning Studio in 100 different cities of India and the world by 2023.
After building a robust infrastructure and platform for imparting modern skillsets and education to young minds, I personally will shift my focus in bringing Hyperloop and Space Tourism to India.