Sridevi Duraiswamy: Changing the Paradigm of the Tech Education
MindSightz Education
Sridevi Duraiswamy | Founder & CEO | MindSightz Education Pvt Ltd

To state the obvious, humans have made tremendous progress when contrasted to the past million years. We’ve come a long way from being cavemen to becoming advanced futuristics. However, it is education, the sole factor which separates us from our ancestors. It encourages us to build better communities, to develop virtues, and give us a sense of freedom.

Such development in the educator sector could not have been possible without the contribution of education influencers such as Sridevi Duraiswamy, Founder & CEO of MindSightz Education Pvt Ltd. She undertook extensive research about the present state of the education, mastered the means to enhance it and made it easy for the upcoming generations by being the pedagogy initiator of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Curriculum and STEM education service provider for schools through robotics platform.

Please introduce yourself and your journey as an educator to our readers and also tell us what inspired you to pursue this career?

My father came from an agricultural family who lived in a small backward village. Hence, most of the communities were unfortunate to collect the gifts of education, including my grandfather. However, the difference came over when my father-who was fortunate enough to gain education- with his arduous work, interest, and excellent performance in school, as well as college, earned merit scholarship during his engineering studies.

Understanding the importance of education and mastering engineering skills with passion, he provided an excellent education to his wards, which lifted the disadvantaged status of the family in society. It was also his life, his arduous work, and passion, which inspired me to become an educational influencer.

Coming from an entrepreneurial family in Coimbatore, the Manchester of South India, I figured out the pacts of business at ease. But with the technological surge in the late 1990s, I perceived that the advancement was reachable and adaptable only to the highly trained and technically advanced ‘engineers.’

At that time, technology and technological thinking were not accessible to the common man. The situation was such that the rudimentary system of education in institutes could not groom even the pass outs of colleges.

Being a Gold Medalist in the post-graduation of Finance & Control with an undergraduate degree in Business Management, I understood the need to be more technically aligned right from a child’s upbringing. Hence, I sought a course in Software Technology and Systems Management at a prestigious institution but had some disparities with my associates from the engineering background.

After my stint for approximately two years at a Business Management School and being the placement director, I discovered a gap between the industry, where technically advanced graduates were turned to diverse opportunities, and the rest were left behind. After that, serving as an Operations Manager at an MNC, I recognized the role of technology, and being the forerunner in implementing technology at various aspects of management decision making, aided me to raise my performance bar.

The awareness of being tech-savvy left a ridge in my mind to identify an opportunity in the education sector at the early stages and address the problem. Being an early beginner in this sector from 2010, has given the edge to evolve as per the evolution of the generation of the students as per their requirements .

Tell us more about Hitech Kids, Robo Hub, and how you have helped young intellectuals to learn and acquire modern tech skills.

“ Tell me  and I forget,  Teach me and I remember, Involve me and I learn” – by Benjamin Franklin is our motto.

Hitech kids is a renowned name among the ICT Curriculum providers. It imparts knowledge to children using cutting-edge technology, and inculcate essential computational thinking skills, design, animation, programming skills and serve them through hands-on experience. We blend educational tools and implement project-based learning to develop digital creativity to meet the desired learning objectives. We design our curriculum to cooperate in promoting authentic, project-based, multi-dimensional learning experiences for life, simplifying the teaching of technology and take computer learning imparted in schools to the pinnacle.

On the other hand, Robo Hub is an established service provider which supports schools to incorporate STEM program in the platform of ROBOTICS. We present all students with access to quality education in the STEM disciplines.

We work with 100,000+ students daily developed on reverse engineering basis to cultivate brainstorming and stimulate creativity for grades 1 to 9. Emerging harmony and ameliorate qualities to form an individual’s distinct character is the principal element focused on divulging cohesive learning. This step is accomplished via LEGO kits, student-driven curriculum, innovative pedagogy, highest quality content, and methodologies implemented through a team of professional engineers spread across India.

Our mission at Mindsightz Education is to implant communication, creativity, collaboration, initiative, and inculcate innovative skillsets such as engineering design, technology skills, critical thinking, problem-solving, and adaptive learning with avid indoctrinated techniques.

At Mindsightz, we provide a podium to our students to confront real-life challenges and versatility in rapidly adapting to new demands and challenges. We advance a powerful connection and deep learning within adolescent minds for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

Pertaining to your significant experience in the education sector, how, according to you, has the Indian Education Sector developed over time?

When India attained independence, the literacy rate was merely 12%. Thereafter, from the 1950s to the 80s, the number of educational institutions in India tripled. The growth was enormous, especially for the primary schools, because of the decision of states to grant the highest priority to the universalization of elementary education.

The aim was to fulfill the constitutional directive of providing universal, free, and compulsory education for all children up to the age of 14. Most, but not all, children had a primary school within 1 km (0.6 miles) from their homes. Through the consistent efforts of the government and the private sector to run schools and colleges, the present literacy rate has expanded to a phenomenon of 74%.

Today, Coimbatore city, in Tamil Nadu State, occupies a pride of place in education even in the year 1960 when it had three Engineering colleges out of seven such colleges in the whole state, three Polytechnics, two Arts and Science colleges, and three colleges exclusively for women. Further, it had specialty colleges Agricultural, Forest, and Airforce Administrative colleges.

Now, in 2020, Coimbatore has six MBBS medical colleges, Tamil Nadu has 50 and 76 engineering colleges out of 552 available in the entire country.

Such has been the spur in the growth of institutions in India proportionally to cater the emerging needs of advanced India.

What is your opinion on the necessity of gaining relevant skills and knowledge for the upcoming generation?

In my opinion, skill development is a necessary aspect that everyone must master. Novel ways of thinking, including creativity and critical thinking, along with collaboration and communication using new tools for working, incorporating digital technologies, will be the necessity for the future. Inexperienced people will demand to be innovative, responsible, and aware.

I realize how valuable it is to build up a set of skills that you can deliver immediately to unusual situations. I believe it’s so crucial for students to graduate from the school with skills that help them rise between jobs and between countries – so they are ready to take up whatever opportunities’ life offers them.

When students apply for jobs, they will need to be evident of these distinct types of skills to be successful. And on the other side, employers are ready to enlist who are excellent communicators, collaborators, and problem solvers.

As an educator, what challenges have you faced while building your venture in the education domain?

As an educator, the first concern, invariably, is to develop the product that would match the expectations of the varied sector of educators and students. In my case, the authentication and validation from the experts, psychologists, and NLP practitioners were sought and practiced to the IT, in the product’s development.

After the development, the sale of the product, along with the USP, was another hurdle. The need to enlighten the decision-makers and compete with the established 100-200-year-old publishing houses was in store for us at every doorstep, which we knocked.

The brand value associated with the product and the mileage of the brand was invariably a stern reference point to the decision-makers as we were just another startup. The reliability of the product and the results after the usage of the product was consistently a questionable factor before the lives to be touched, were handed over to us.

Once we disrupted the industry with the output and ease of our operations, we were visible to the top management, and there was no looking back for us. We repeatedly had to keep our clients happy with our service and results.

We have enriched our ICT curriculum to offer even the Microsoft Professional Certification for children from grades 5-12.

In robotics, we represented India in the World finals of World Robot Olympiad from 2013 to date and had earned accolades and positioned ourselves as 2, 3, 4,6 out of the top 8 countries from 153 participating countries.

What would be your advice to those aspiring to become entrepreneurs in the education sector?

The determination should always be to keep upgrading, dedicate, and stretch beyond all the impossible to provide excellent service.

What have you envisioned for yourself and your organization in the near future?

I was selected among the Top 30 women Entrepreneurs of India by TIE AIRSWEE and US Embassy’s Scale-up Series in 2019 and likewise among Top 100 women entrepreneurs of India in 2017. I was imbibed about paying it forward for the upliftment of women community by the Indus Valley Entrepreneurs and the US embassy as a part of the social campaign.

I was also facilitated and forged to draw into an understanding with IIT Mumbai by another mentee of the TIE Airswee Scale-up series. Additionally, I recently got onboarded into the Wadhawani Advantage Program to expand and mount the business for PAN India presence.

As far as the organization is positioned, we want it to scale greater heights with a widespread presence in the closer regions of Tamil Nadu with individual woman’s business partners and for PAN India partners to impact more than 5 lakh students on daily basis in the next 5 years.

Since the present-day scenario has sent urgency signals to redefine the learning experience forever, We strive to see tomorrow…today.

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