Delhi government plans to launch an annual investment summit for its students from next year onwards which will feature some of the best ideas under its Business Blasters initiative. As part of the scheme, students in Classes XI and XII will be mentored by business coaches and are being provided Rs 2,000 as seed money to help kick-start their business ideas.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who also holds the education portfolio, talks to The Morning Standard’s Vatsala Shrangi on his vision of Delhi government school students creating some of the world’s top-ranking companies in India, changing the approach to teaching in universities, and creating 400 seats across some of its best institutions for direct admissions to top performers. Excerpts:
The scheme aims to churn out young entrepreneurs who can become future job creators. Does the government have a plan of supporting these students/projects once they complete school? The initiative involves charting a business plan spanning 1-2 years for these students. Students with some of the most promising ideas will be assigned business coaches and connected to investors in an investment summit we plan to organise in February-March next year at Pragati Maidan or Thyagraj stadium, which will become an annual feature.
The investors will directly talk to the student teams on the kind of capital they are looking for their business models, the terms and conditions of which will be decided by them alone. There are around 3.5 lakh students enrolled in classes 11 and 12 across Delhi government schools. Of these, we have received 51,000 ideas.
What is your vision for these students?
My vision for these students is not just limited to school or after school, but 20 years down the line when some of these ideas/start-ups would have turned into some of the world’s top ranking companies.
I am proud of the fact that so far the best talent from India is being picked up by top companies abroad, be it Twitter or Google, but unfortunately none of these companies are being created by us.
With this project, we aim to create a nursery of the best business start-ups in the city. I dream of creating some of the world’s top companies here, which will be born out of these start-ups. These students from our schools, who will go to college with their start-ups already running, will make it. Also, we have created 400 seats across our institutions such as Delhi Technological University (DTU) and Netaji Subhash University of Technology (NSUT), where direct admission will be given to the top-performing
students. They will not have to come through an entrance test.
We will change the approach of teaching in these universities from theory to creating real start-ups.
How do these students balance academics along with developing business models? Firstly, even if a student lands 99%, there is no guarantee that they will get a job. It has been said time and again to bring students out of the rat race.
This is their best chance to be out of it and be on their own feet. Secondly, what students have told me over this concern is something totally different. The student teams said that they now have their concepts clear with the application of theory in real life. Plus, they said that it has enabled them to focus better on studies as their minds have opened up and they can plan and think better.
Also, some of them told me during an interaction that previously they would sit through their studies five to six hours but now even with lesser hours of study they can grasp things well and feel more energetic.
Schools were reopened after 20 months and have now been shut again over concerns about growing pollution, which has become an annual feature. Also, with the new covid-19 variant emerging in the country and the uncertainty around the pandemic, do you think hybrid teaching is the future?
While there is no substitute to offline classrooms and the environment in which children learn when they attend school physically, with the given circumstances and uncertainty looming large, hybrid mode is here to co-exist.
This is the biggest challenge that we and all others are facing at present. The pandemic has forced people in the Indian set-up to adopt the online and hybrid modes of working. However, we plan to ramp up the hybrid mode as well with better connectivity and larger outreach and inclusiveness.