'Unschooled' but climbing right to the top: One kid in MIT, another a mountaineer

Malvika and Radha who are school dropouts, are earning thumping accolades for pursuing and excelling in their chosen fields of interest.

Published: 31st August 2016 05:02 PM  |   Last Updated: 31st August 2016 05:18 PM   |  A+A-


screenshot.PNGMUMBAI: A Mumbai couple's teenaged daughters -- Malvika and Radha who are school dropouts, are earning thumping accolades for pursuing and excelling in their chosen fields of interest.

The couple -- Raj and Supriya Joshi -- are virtually on cloud nine as Malvika, 18, has shot into headlines for bagging a scholarship in Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for her programming talents, while her younger sibling Radha, 16, is an acclaimed photographer and mountaineer.

"A computer freak, Malvika has bagged two silvers and a bronze at the International Olympiad of Informatics or 'Programming Olympiad' in the past. Now, she is happily pursuing research in her favourite subject Computer Science at MIT, Boston," Supriya Joshi told IANS.

Similarly, Radha is scaling new heights of achievements -- besides being an accomplished photographer, she won the Best Student Trophy-2016 of the prestigious Jawaharlal Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports at Pahalgam in Jammu and Kashmir.

For both parents, hailing from a traditional middle-class Maharashtrian family and living in Wadala, the decision was difficult -- to allow both daughters to 'drop out' from school and pursue careers of their choice, Supriya admits.

It was around four years ago when the couple decided to stop sending their two daughters to Dadar Parsee Youth Assembly School, though they were very intelligent students.

"Somehow, we both got the feeling that our daughters needed to be happy in life... it's more important than mere academics," Supriya reminisced, recalling their path-breaking decision on "un-schooling" them.

On her part, Malvika explored various academic choices, career options and finally found computer programming to be her "calling" in life and concentrated on it happily.

Similarly, Radha explored photography and mountaineering and excelled in both.

Both have not acquired conventional school-college education by sheer choice and do not have the SSC/HSC (secondary/higher secondary) passing certificates, but the teenagers are far ahead of their contemporaries.

"Though Radha was underage for the JIM&WS, she was not only selected and excelled in the month-long course, she even bagged this year's Best Student Trophy," said Supriya, smiling with obvious pride.

The Joshis are relieved that their decision proved to be a bull's eye and they could silence all critics that it is indeed possible to become capable first and success would definitely follow.

When asked whether they were inspired by Bollywood actor Aamir Khan's refrain on this in the 2009 mega-hit "3 Idiots", Supriya said the Joshi family was into it before the film came. "Probably, we inspired the film!" she laughed.

Though Malvika did not attempt admission in the IITs, she got admitted to the Chennai Mathematical Institute for Masters in Science as her knowledge was equivalent to B.Sc. in the subject.

Supriya left her job at a social NGO and devised a curriculum for the now "home-schooled" daughters and both came up trumps. Now, she is working for a support group, ChaShaK Gurukul in Mumbai.

Raj, who runs an engineering business in Mumbai, made it a point to spend maximum time with Malvika and Radha, and acted as a critical support to his wife in their unique initiative.

While Malvika has already gone to Boston a few days ago, Radha is exploring suitable options in her chosen and complementing outdoor activities.

MIT, among the world's topmost institutions where securing admissions for even top scholars is a daunting challenge, has a category to admit extremely meritorious or talented candidates like Malvika, a Programming Olympiad champ for three years.

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