Children are not our future; they are our present, and they need to be empowered now.
What if we have kids sitting on their school management committee or the Prime Minister has an advisory council of students where they could express how they want the next India to be, muses Shaheen Mistri, Founder and Chief Executive of the NGO Teach For India. She has accomplished a mammoth task, providing quality education to more than 40,000 children through her NGO and helping another 1.5 lakh through the network of 200-odd Teach For India Fellows. These Fellows did a two-year fellowship at Teach For India, taught at various municipal schools and have now set up their ventures in the field of education). Her next agenda is student empowerment.
The Teach in India office in Mumbai is bustling with excited children who have got together from municipal schools across the city to apply for positions in the organising committee of Mistri's upcoming event called Kids Education Revolution. "Children are not our future; they are our present. They need to be empowered now," affirms Mistri.
Kids Education Revolution will be a five-day summit where 100 student leaders will exchange ideas while 600-odd teachers will be in learning mode. The event will also host workshops on communication and critical thinking.
For Mistri, education is not the means to pass examinations but a tool to quiz students what they are passionate about and build the values in the classroom to drive those changes.
Her larger goal is to revolutionise education in India, to make it a collaborative effort where both students and teachers learn from each other. But that will require a change in thinking and take a while. In the short term, her goal is to offer holistic education to one million children and expand her network of people in the field of education to 6,000.