Becoming and being a Shifu (a Master)
A one-year program for youth to Master – skills, competencies and inner capacities
What this program wants to shift
- From theoretical, simplistic and outdated education to up-to-date program for mastering
- skills used in the industry (programming, VLSI design, desk research),
- competencies to use these skills to shift culture: including noticing patterns and systems, team work, powerful communication, problem solving, critical thinking.
- inner capacity of understanding themselves (self-awareness) and taking responsibility of their life, courage to create, dignity, equity.
- From a low engagement and intensity program catering primarily to memory with some application to a high intensity, immersive program that helps one take responsibility of their entire being – mind, body, heart and soul.
- From mediocracy and an inability to engage in real-life challenges to excellence and having the courage to research and create solutions for real-life problems.
- From dependence on others to independence to interdependence with others.
- From being unaware of how one learns to taking responsibility of one’s learning, learning innovative learning processes and ability to create learning communities.
- From ‘finishing’ education to get a job to appreciating that education is an unending process of constant refinement at work, home and community life.
- From programs framed and executed by technology and leadership leaders with the latest learning methodologies being available only for the privileged to being available to rural youth in India.
Who will run the program?
C3STREAM Land Designs (C3SLD) is an innovative integral enterprise that looks at supporting youth learn, grow, work and teach. It works with industry leaders – Aura Semiconductor Pvt. Ltd., Quilt.AI to provide engaging employment for rural youth in embedded systems software, VLSI layout and design, AI and visualization, desk research and content creation. Providing them an opportunity to work with world class mentors with combined industry experience of over a 100 yrs who have chosen to commit their lives to Auroville with a vision of human unity.
The mentors include Dr. Sanjeev Ranganathan (B.Tech, MS IITM and PhD from Columbia University, Lewis Winner award for best paper at IISCC and part of teams that have delivered over a billion chips in analog and RF design), Anupama Balaji (with over 20 yrs of experience in software development), Sriman Kota (over 20 yrs of experience in business development and marketing), Vimal Babu (over 15 yrs of experience running large groups as well as running his own startup), Sanjay Tumati (B.Tech IITB, MS Texas A & M, 14 years of experience in Electronics in US, Canada and Singapore) and Siva Perumal (over 14 years of teaching experience in Engineering collages and schools). Over the last 6 years the youth themselves have developed into mentors like Sundar (6 yrs of experience in embedded systems, AI software and the first youth to be part of C3SLD), Poovizhi (manager of the embedded product line with Aura Semi), Arun (4 yrs of experience in hardware automation, embedded systems and hardware) and Ranjith (manager of the design/layout services with Aura Semi). The organization has 30 youth who are engaged both in teaching and the four technical areas mentioned before.
C3SLD believes in the values of Responsibility, Equality and Courage to Create and exhibits these qualities in all its activities. Over the years C3SLD has critiqued the current education system by creating STEM lands and researching alternative educational paradigms working with over 250 children in schools. The youth who work at C3STREAM land put aside time every day to invest in their communities by working with these children in 3 schools and 2 other centers. The research has also been presented and published in 5 papers in international conferences including MES10 (Mathematics Education and Society), epiSTEME6, epiSTEME7 and epiSTEME8 and MTA (Mathematics Teachers Association). In addition, they have presented at various workshops, seminars, magazines, etc on how children learn STEM. The work carried out in spirit and action is much in line with the NEP (National Education Policy) that has highlighted the need for such activities with children.
C3SLD has also partnered with Dr. Monica Sharma (former director of the UN for leadership and capacity development) to train and deliver leadership programs that develop competencies (listening, effective team work, bringing values into the systems we are part of) and inner capacities (self-awareness, self-regulation, responsibility, courage to create). Some of the mentors mentioned including Sanjeev, Sundar, Poovizhi, Arun, Ranjith are practioner coaches who other than their technical mentoring provide programs for alignment for the youth and the organization.
Just as school education, higher education e.g. undergrad engineering Computer Science and Electronics Engineering is limited by theoretical, simplistic and outdated curriculum. Even diploma education that are meant to be for specific skills of being technicians have outdated curriculum. In addition none of them cater to competencies and inner capacities of the five minds of the future required to access (ethical) high-end jobs.
This results in youth who graduate with an undergraduate degree with very few skills to make a real difference to the world or even take care of themselves e.g. most engineering graduates have not built anything nor are capable of it. Most industries have come to expect very little from them and do aptitude testing and train them on their own. These issues are compounded in rural India with poor college leadership, issues of limited English skills, poor reading habits. Further most graduate with substantial loans that forces them to work in any job available often unrelated with their education and not invest in continued learning. Not having been given an opportunity to reflect on themselves or their life: self-awareness, understanding patterns in society is low leading to generally following the crowd and being too afraid to try something different and take an initiative or to up skill themselves to make a difference to themselves and their communities.
Some of the reasons why jobs beyond technicians are not available in rural India are the limitation of infrastructure (power, internet, etc.), not having reliable mentors who will work with rural youth. However, another significant reason is the limited development of the competencies and inner capacities. The figure above maps the 5 minds of the future and their development corresponding to the stages of mastery and jobs available.
A solution from C3STREAM land
C3STREAM land Designs and STEM land will run a residential program that will work on capacity development integrally with a conscious-full spectrum response rather than silos design addressing skills (for technical solutions), competencies (addressing systems and cultural transformation) and inner capacities (embodying values).
What is addressed in this program?
- Stream 2: VLSI Design – VLSI design and layout – Basic circuit design, analog VLSI design and layout,
- Stream 3: Desk research and Content development (English) – being able to research by searching the internet for relevant information, coming up with perspectives and finding relevant data for the same. Learning how to quickly read, scan, interpret and reflect. This will include improving English in grammar, writing styles, etc. Creating powerful narratives and blogging skills. Using tools of the trade – wordpress, xls, etc.
(Common to all STREAMS – revisiting important concepts in school in basic Mathematics and English, as required e.g. logic, algebra, grammar though innovative learning/teaching paradigms with and without technology)
Competencies – Noticing systems and patterns and being able to come up with principled alternatives, being a principled change maker; Higher order thinking skills – to analyze, compare, critique, create. Problem solving, learn how to learn, learning how to support others learn (teach); teamwork and building healthy workplaces. Some of these are subject agnostic and will be across streams, some will be incorporated within the scope of the skills.
Inner capacities – Self-awareness, self-regulation, responsibility, dignity, equity and courage to create alternatives.
Who is the program for?
Those who have completed an undergraduate degree in any field and are disillusioned by the current education system want to experience the education needed for them to become their full potential. Exceptional youth who have completed schooling 5+3+3+4 under NEP or 10+2 or equivalent will also be considered.
To join the program, we will be looking at the following criteria in selecting the youth:
- interested, inclined to the stream of choice
- willing to commit to and persevere through the intense and immersive program
- believe in the higher potential in themselves and in all in human beings
- take responsibility for their life – invest in themselves and change themselves
- want to see a better world and are want to contribute to changing the world
- can foster growth in others
This immersive program is inspired by the successful model at Navgurukul. It will be residential even for locals who may visit their families once a month.
It will be a full day and other than the time for learning and working on programming, electronics andEnglish, the schedule will include meditation, physical activity and sports, leadership training, taking care of basic needs and campus maintenance.
The campus will be organized and maintained by the youth. This will not only support teamwork and life skills, but also minimize expenses of the program. The organization will need to follow the qualities that the program and C3STREAM land stands for Responsibility, Equality and Courage to Create. i.e. it is expected that the participants of the program are from the future and are able to step beyond gender, caste, etc.
There will be monthly reviews for a participant with his allocated mentor based on his ability to use the program for his/her development. This includes the ability to complete all the activities andcoursework in their plan. Those repeatedly failing to meet expectations of goals and/or demonstrate competencies that they need to develop will be terminated from the course.
Why would the program work?
The program is coming from a high-end business unit offering skills that are required by the industry urgently. We are practitioner coaches not just coaches and are offering the skills and competencies we are using in real world projects. There is focus on true 21st century skills of learning how to learn, being adaptable, higher order thinking skills and leadership skills that could allow the youth to start something of their own. Of course, there is ample opportunity for the youth graduating to be integrated from the program into our teams. We have wide variety of resource people, mentors, identified and developed various courses and programs that have already time tested including online resources with programming, electronics. We have set up the cutting-edge digital infrastructure with the NKN (National Knowledge Network) a fiber optic cable network that will be used by the program to connect to high end programs and individuals throughout the world. We have the physical infrastructure to support an entire batch of youth. A large team of youth and mentors who are already in the industry.
The program will be subsidized to make it possible for the youth to access such a program.
We have found that it takes us over a year for graduates to learn how to learn and apply oneself and be effective in the workspace. It is important to give enough challenges for the HOT skills as well as reflection on learning and growth. We notice this develops in children very quickly and would like to work with youth as early as possible. It is likely the program will initially attract graduates, but we would like to see if we can catch youth who are inclined even younger.