Techi-turned-teacher-turned entrepreneur: Meet Manish Kumar

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(MS Spoorthi)

“The unlucky batch of 2020” is a phrase most graduating students are familiar with, be it college graduates or high school graduates. But, I’d say the college graduates are actually very lucky, because they didn’t have to sit infront of a screen for 6+ hours a day.

The concept of online classes was very foreign to most of us, until a year ago, when the pandemic broke out. But now, even PT classes are being conducted online!

Though e-learning has become the new normal all around the world, there are still many apprehensions about the effectiveness of this was of education.

Especially, when it comes to Labs, where students’ physical presence is vital for them to properly understand the experiment. The online alternative for that is virtual lab, which according to many students is not helpful at all.

Added to these problems, is the topic of students’ mental health, which rarely is ever taken into consideration during online classes. Recent studies show that there has been a massive hike in the stress levels and anxiety of students attending classes online. Despite this being a pressing issue, none has paid attention to it.

Or at least that’s what everyone thought. So here’s Manish Kumar, a 33 year old teacher turned entrepreneur, who is an alumni of prestigious universities like IIT Kharagpur and IIM Bangalore is all set to solve this very problem through his new initiative, the Curious Minds Institute.

Manish, who has 12 patents filed in his name for various inventions seems to have found a solution for virtual labs. He substituted the usual animated forms of experiments with live demonstrations of various scientific on his platform, thereby invoking the curiosity of the students which is a far more effective way of imparting knowledge according to experts.

The USP of this change that Manish is trying to bring about in his portal is that he is making the task of performing these experiments more accessible by replacing lab apparatus with everyday household things.

Apart from this, the Curious Minds Institute also lays special emphasis on the mental health of the students, where asteps are taken to make instil a sense of interest among students, rather than trying to bombard students with knowledge that they aren’t interested in.

When asked about what made Manish quit a comfortable MNC job in order to start this new venture, founder of Curious Minds, Manish Kumar said, “After entering the professional circuit post my graduation, I came across a lot of individuals who limited themselves to just memorising text books while in school and facing massive hurdles a decade later once they become professionals only due to the same.

There’s a lot more, over and above the prescribed syllabus that one needs to be taught/ learn in order to make a mark in this highly competitive world. I felt the need to change the way are imparting knowledge, the way we are teaching children to become machines that can memorize thousands of pages without even understand the logic behind it.

Therefore , I decided to quit the MNC and start Curious Minds. Under our programme, LEAP, we wish to educate hard working students using various ‘experiential learning’ methods. People have been talking about’ experiential learning’ for quite some time now but I see that no concrete steps have been taken to make it mainstream, so that it reaches a significant number of students if not all. All we require the student to cater is 5-6 hours a week for the classes and 4-6 hours of after study”. (The author is a first year B.Tech- Aerospace Engineering student).

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