Innovating Education in Mumbai, Bangalore, and Delhi: Four 2016 Finalists

18 Jan 2016 |

Four incredible teachers across India who are changing their communities through innovative youth education — many of them have received several international awards for their great work and are now Global Teacher Prize 2016 Top 50 Finalists in recognition and appreciation of their great work.

1. Dhaval Bathia - Mumbai, India

Dhaval was a mathematical child prodigy who became known for his his ability to calculate very fast when he was a child. Although he graduated as a lawyer, he decided to enter the world of teaching. He is on a global crusade to eliminate the phobia of mathematics among young learners, and has taught in many countries, including Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, USA, United Kingdom, Oman, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Singapore. He has advised the governments of India and Mauritius on policy matters in education, and has received 16 national and international awards and titles for his work. Though only 32 years old, he has published 5 books (available in 14 languages) and 19 CDs for teachers and students. He has taught in 345 different schools around the world and personally trained over 12,000 teachers and one million students. Dhaval also holds the Guinness World Record for teaching the most students in a single venue. He is now writing his sixth book, including over 70 innovative ideas on improving the classroom environment. Rather than being based in a standard school, he took over his mother’s training school, Genesis Education. The organisation is financed by the royalties from Dhaval’s book sales, and offers free classes for teachers and students focusing on mathematics, memory enhancement and 3D learning. Games are used to solve puzzles in probability and other fields, and the 3D videos on topics like the solar system and molecular biology are so engaging that students recall the content with ease.

2. Santhi Karamcheti - Bangalore, India

While doing her masters in Human Genetics, Santhi used to spend time volunteering at a nearby orphanage for children with hearing and speech impairments. At one point she decided that she was born for special education and applied for remedial teaching posts. Her first assignment was a 16-year-old boy with severe learning disabilities. Over the course of a very difficult year she managed to help him pass his Grade 10 exams. Next Santhi registered as a special educator and in 2011 set up a special needs school called EDventure Academy. Since 2007, 500 children, aged between two and a half and twenty three years old, have been trained and subsequently integrated into normal schools. They increase their capacities in essential areas like personality development, socio-communication skills, self-esteem and self-belief. In addition, the older students are taught maths as well as vocational and pre-vocational skills. Her school offers free places for the under-privileged and has raised money for places in regular schools. In one example, a girl with autism was told that she would never speak or be independent, and yet after some months at the Academy she was able to communicate verbally and now excels at math and computer coding. Santhi has conducted workshops and training for teachers, including the latest awareness workshop in Bangalore. In 2014 she received the ‘Extraordinary Teacher Award’ from the Information Resource Centre, a Unit of Shringeri Sharadha Peetham, Mysore.

3. Rashmi Kathuria - Delhi, India

Rashmi has been working as a maths teacher in Delhi for twenty years. She decided to teach mathematics in a new way, using a blended approach, instead of following the standard textbook method. Apart from covering literacy and numeracy, she includes life skills, entrepreneurial skills and global citizenship in her classes. In 2000 she set up a Mathematics Laboratory in her school that helps students visualise and experiment with mathematical concepts using concrete objects. She supplemented the lab with a blog for students and other teachers, providing over 500 enriching resources, project ideas and more. For making her materials available on the Internet in this way she received awards from two Presidents of India: the National Best E-Teacher Award from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam in 2007 and the National ICT Award from President Dr Pranab Mukherjee in 2010. To make maths more realistic and teach students entrepreneurial skills, she helped set up a school business, “Udaan Creating Identity”. This project won the Top Global Prize in the School Enterprise Challenge from the organization, Teach a Man to Fish. Rashmi shares her methods widely by conducting workshops for teachers and university students, advising organisations that develop teaching materials, and building an international network of maths educators. Rashmi is a Google Certified teacher/innovator, won Pearson’s Teaching Excellence in Mathematics award 2015, AIRMC National Best Mathematics teacher 2010, Face to Faith Gold award 2014 and Outstanding award 2015.

4. Robin Chaurasiya - Mumbai, India

Robin founded and teaches at Kranti, a nonprofit that empowers marginalised girls from Mumbai’s red-light areas to become agents of social change. Her students, girls aged 12-20, include survivors of trafficking and daughters of sex workers.  She has formalised a Social Justice curriculum at Kranti covering the key issues that affect the girls’ lives, such as caste, class, religion, environment and healthcare. The school week consists of Music Mondays, TED Talk Tuesdays, Worldly Wednesdays, Thinking Thursdays and Field Trip Fridays. Weekends include plays, films, and exhibits, as well as required volunteer work in an NGO of their choice. Robin’s students, called ‘Revolutionaries’ (Krantikaries), are turned into teachers and community leaders, creating a ripple effect of children teaching each other. They have conducted workshops at schools and NGOs for more than 100,000 students and parents, and delivered 11 TEDx talks around the world. They have also written a play about their experiences, which they performed across the US and even at Facebook’s and Google’s headquarters. Congratulations to these 2016 Top 50 Finalists from India! Your work for youth in India is an inspiration. Learn more about these and others from their Global Teacher Prize profiles.