Welcoming the 3rd Batch

We welcomed our third batch of the STTI Club at Delhi Public School, Hyderabad with a session by Aayushi from Ashoka University.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FStudentThinkTankForIndia%2Fposts%2F511739889036933&width=500

What does an intro session look like?

  1. A warm welcome, by college students who know exactly what it felt like to be a school student with lots of questions and lots of ideas
  2. Brainstorming to fill three boxes: what issues and problems do you see around you globally, nationally and locally?
  3. Do we see any patterns between these boxes?
  4. Why is it important to discuss – to Baatcheet – to solve these issues?
  5. Forming an STTI Core Leaders team

World Bank’s Global Youth Forum 2016 – STTI at Washington D.C.

DSC_0223.jpg

STTI was invited to the World Bank‘s Global Youth Forum at their HQ in Washington, DC. As a partner at the forum, we got to share our experiences and learn about youth development from 150 organisations around the world.

 

The forum featured a number of panel discussions and keynote addresses on issues that are most critical to youth development, such as education, employment, security, gender and climate change. Speakers ranged from leaders of international organisations such as the UN and the World Bank, to grassroots youth leaders from Brunei to Brazil, Ghana to Guatemala.

The message we gathered from hearing these speakers was that all of these large social and environmental issues call for youth to actively participate in understanding and solving them. Their involvement in these issues is not a matter of charity or choosing – it is integral to their own well-being and future.

We had the honour of presenting our work at the forum from leaders of educational organisations such as Educate!, the Jamaican Ministry of Education, Ashoka Changemaker Schools and representatives from the governments of Turkey, Brazil, Mali and Cambodia. We talked about the mission and model of Student Think Tank for India’s school clubs. (Click on link to read full text).

These conversations gave us a lot of encouragement, and valuable feedback on how to create the next generation of thoughtful and involved citizens.

We are excited to bring back the learning from this international forum to our school clubs in India, and hope to continue doing justice to the wonderful individuals and communities who generously support us!

 

 

 

Summer 2016: Join us!

Student Think Tank for India started in the year 2014, and was originally envisioned as a network of college students across the world, with the objective of promoting a culture of involved inquiry. The rationale for STTI was that an effective education should include spaces that promote civic engagement and critical thinking – and that if it doesn’t exist, we should create one. The benefits of are wide ranging – be it for personal, professional or civic reasons.

Throughout 2014, as we continued our discussions and research papers, we changed our question to ask: how can we create similar spaces in schools?

Over the last year, we have partnered with schools to set up clubs for students from class 9 to 12.  It’s an open space where we’re learning to raise and answer important questions about social, economic, political and environmental problems. These clubs are led and organised by Moderators, usually college students or young adults. Our model is built on student initiative: participation is voluntary, and we choose topics that students want to talk about (See our sessions on topics ranging from gender to food systems to engineering education). As Moderators, all of us passed out from school not too long ago, and we’ve made a conscious effort to not turn this into a lecture series.

 

Our discussions and activities are interactive – using Project Based Learning, Service Learning and Thinking routines – so that students really think about the issues and form their own interesting questions and opinions. Apart from regular sessions, we often invite eminent guests who conduct workshops, and take part in field trips to observe and understand the world up close.

Annual Update poster(Click on the image to see our annual update of 2015!)

What Do We Have Going For Us?

  • Global network: One of the most prominent STTI chapters is based in Purdue University. Besides this we have active members from UPenn and Cornell University. STTI is supported by professors and students from some of the best universities within the country and internationally.
  • Fast Paced Growth: We started with 2 school clubs in Hyderabad in 2015. Within a year, the enthusiastic response has led us to start 5 clubs in Hyderabad, and new chapters in Delhi, Bangalore and Coimbatore.
  • Recognition from Ashoka India’s first Youth Venture programme, which makes us part of a network of some of the world’s biggest names in social innovation.

How Can You Get Involved?

Currently, we’re looking for Moderators in all 4 cities. As a Moderator, you are required to dedicate a couple of hours a week through June and July. You can be from any stream of study, but the only real requirement is that you bring curiosity, and fulfil your responsibility as an educators: the last thing we want to do is pass on wrong/ incomplete information, or conduct boring and ineffective activities. There will be a short period of training before entering schools, so that Moderators are able to better understand STTI’s structure, and then use it to craft the learning experience in their micro learning communities.

We also invite people who can help bring critical thinking to life by creating session plans for the school clubs — eg: how would we get high school kids to appreciate the nuances of freedom of speech? What instances of pop culture would we use, and how would role-playing an event from history help them to see that complexity? These session plans would be used in our clubs across the country.

What Is In It For You?

10269597_453993344811588_1917832873350029910_n

Along with the chance to impact the learning experience of many students and their schools, working with STTI is a frame to explore various professionally valued qualities: research, mentorship, networking, and entrepreneurship. This opportunity is guaranteed to be a growth experience, and is structured as an internship with a letter of recommendation at completion.

What’s the end goal?

All of us at STTI are involved in it because we are convinced that the value of a real education lies in fuelling the inherent curiosity of students. No matter which career students choose to enter, we want that people do so as  engaged and critical citizens – with a basic working knowledge of all the issues that the country faces, so they can channel their energy – in big or small ways – to solving them. And we want to do this at scale. untitled-1

STTI is our moonshot at marginally reforming the education system, one club at a time.

If you share this vision, we would love to hear from you! Write to us at studentthinktankforindia@gmail.com, and explore our past work on the website. If you’re interested in applying to be a moderator, visit this page: https://studentthinktankforindia.com/moderators/ 

Note: Credits to Isha Malik for putting together this great post!

2015 – what did we do?

We’ve had a great 2015, and that’s making us wish for a bigger 2016!

Highlights of this year included – setting up two school clubs, expanding our Moderator team, and a recognition by Ashoka India’s Youth Venture programme.

STTI’s Annual Update for 2015 (click on the image to read it) is a snapshot of where the organisation is right now, and where it aims to go in 2016. There has been an encouraging amount of growth since this report was written – schools are opening up to us, partnerships are being formed, and we’re finding newer ways and ‘why’s of doing what we do.

Thank you for your support in the last year, and we look forward to keeping that up in 2016!

Annual Update poster.jpg

Drip irrigation, the ban on Maggi, and more

On November 3, the STTI club at DPS, Hyderabad had a great discussion with Mr.Salim David, who “hung up his corporate boots to be a farmer near Hyderabad”. One of the strengths of the school clubs is that it acts as a platform for students to discuss and listen to people and perspectives from various fields.

IMG_7240 copy

 
In Mr. David’s words:

I had a very fruitful and interactive session with about 70 senior children.

We talked about farming and the woes therein despite the serene and uninhibited lives we think rural people enjoy.

Low incomes, especially to cater to unusual expenditures like illnesses, marriages, crop failure, force them to borrow at exorbitant interest rates and die in penury attempting repayment.

Low prices due to high retailer margins of their products, and high wastage, are another bane that could be addressed through direct marketing venues like in some places in Tamil Nadu have.

High use of chemical fertiliser impoverishes the soil requiring more and more application every year with lower yields.

Lack of knowledge of best farming practices often result in crop failure or low yields for many marginal farmers.

Out of all these the biggest disappointment for a farmer is the drying up of his ground water, which as we know, is getting depleted faster than it’s getting replenished.

Drip irrigation which saves 70% water with a host of other benefits explained to the children, is a potential saviour. Government schemes exist but do not reach the farmer. The children were asked to give their views on how this could be bettered.

Another topic discussed was the recent ban of Nestle s Maggi. The children were given the pros and cons of the decision to ban it and asked to write their views.

Keep up the good work. Make a difference!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

New STTI School Club at Meridian School, Banjara Hills

We are very happy to announce our second school club at Meridian School, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad!Meridian Banjara

To the students of Meridian – a very warm welcome from us. To start with, here is a welcome post.

For all further discussion, please do join the Facebook group: STTI Club of Meridian School, Banjara Hills. 

You can always contact us with any questions at studentthinktankforindia@gmail.com.

We look forward to a great journey with you guys!

Gender Inequality: Discussion with Dr. Mangala Subramaniam

STTI Chapter at Purdue University, October 4, 2015. 

With a focus on gender inequality this week, the Purdue Chapter of STTI delved into the statistics of gender inequality in Indian society to understand the extent of the issue.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

20151108190645This was followed up with an interaction with Dr. Mangala Subramaniam, Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology, Purdue University.

Some of the questions explored during the discussion:
Why is there more violence in joint families?
Why are the laws that are made on sexual abuse not implemented/enforced in a strong manner?
How is the power distribution affecting the physical and mental abuse of women in families?

20151108190645 (1) 20151108190646

The issue of violence on women is a complex one, and for many of us who come from the urban, modern, “shining” India, it is easy to overlook the extent of the problem. Thus, it was invaluable to have Dr.Subramaniam’s deep insights on the matter.