BENGALURU:What does it take to become an educational entrepreneur? It is a passion to learn while teaching, says Komal Arora, an IIT/IIM alumna who gave up her lucrative job at McKinsey India to start an after-school programme, Merry-Go-Learn (MGL), where learning is a fun experience for children.
Studying business at IIM, Komal had always wanted to start her own enterprise, and her love for imparting and absorbing information made her an entrepreneur in education sector. Handling education projects at McKinsey helped her to understand that students lost interest in studies after eighth standard as mugging has become a way of learning.
Komal wanted to change things by setting up her own enterprise and today she gets to teach mathematics/science to students in a practical manner.
“Initially, it was a challenge for me to convince parents to send their children to my after-school classes as they could not understand my approach for learning. I made an effort to go door to door and reach people but it was all worth it as I have 60 students now. We need to give students the education they truly deserve,” says Komal.
In Merry-Go-Learn, children apply the knowledge they have acquired in school. “Science concepts taught in school are not imbibed by students as teachers run through the syllabus to finish it. When they learn the same concept in a practical manner, they understand better and gain confidence,” says Usha Krishnamurthy, centre manager. “Apart from science and math, we also teach communication skills by organising debates and creative writing exercises,” she added.
Merry-Go-Learn programmes are designed to be hands-on engaging experiences for the students. Young people from collegea and universities are recruited as teachers as they would connect more with children. Merry-Go-Learn has four batches, addressing different age groups. The batch strength is kept minimal to give attention to every child.
Summer at Merry-Go-Learn is a time for developing higher-order thinking skills where children engage in interesting projects like creating a projector to understand lenses, making a water alarm, executing a rubber band powered boat to figure out density, building model aero planes to learn mechanism, and much more. The children also experience the magic of chemistry with acids, bases.
“My daughter has been going to MGL for the past one year. She enjoys the interactive sessions, the experiments, where they get to do things themselves (playing with dry ice, cooking Maggi in solar cooker). Initially, we had enrolled her at MGL because we felt a lack of interest in her towards science subjects. We wanted to bring back the spark and make her understand that science can be fun and interesting,” says Ruchira, a mother.
Komal is now working on expanding her initiative to more cities.
For more information about Merry-Go-Learn, check out http://www.merrygolearn.com