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Know Your Star: Stemming the drop-out rate in schools
February 14, 2016• By Team ICMYC
Students in Government and unaided schools, more often than not, fall victim to various factors that push them to drop out. Among other reasons, lack of inspiring role models, low confidence, along with ignorance of the existence of a wide range of career opportunities, play an important role in the perpetuation of drop-out rates. Baffled by this phenomenon, and an urge to develop confidence among these students brought five Bangaloreans together to start a unique initiative Know Your Star. One of its programs, Mentor India, creates a curriculum aimed at changing the status quo and introduces students to achievers from various walks of life, to motivate them into studying further. Know Your Star’s website also chronicles the lives of these achievers, to promote positivity.
Speaking about Mentor India and Know You Star, Jaideep Rao, one of the founders says, “We were taken aback when we learned that the pupil to teacher ratio is 28: 1 and the drop-out rate is 47.4 % in India for students who are in their 8th, 9th, and 10th Grade. This is a crucial juncture where a student should ideally take career decisions, which will shape their future. And, we believe that demographics should not determine their destiny, nor should they get influenced just by the popular professional streams. At KnowYourStar.com, we have profiled over 100 achievers from various disciplines and we feel we can open up this world to our real users—students—most of who are usually ignorant about the variety of career options at their disposal.”
He further adds, “we were concerned with the fact that high school students have succumbed to society pressure to pursue popular professional courses, and not really follow their hearts” He also points out, “We look out for incredible stories which can reach the high school students and inspire them,” he says.
Inspire and Motivate:
Mentor India was first initiated in Chikkarasinkere Govt. High School. “With our prior experiences helping students with personality development, we formulated new content and methodologies which can upskill students in 30 hours spread across six days. Currently, this is in the pilot phase.
Key topics focused in six Saturdays in Mentor India for high school students through medium of charting, games, music, art, quizzing, street play and other interactive means are: communication skills and vocabulary building, design thinking and mindfulness, confidence building and public speaking, team work and “Pay it Forward”, career guidance with vast database of achievers KYS has.
“Biggest challenge was to instill confidence so that students don’t hesitate to make mistakes. We never had a preaching session and created a friendly environment so that children could bring in their creative minds to grasp and learn these life skills,” he explains.
The team comprises people who have full-time day jobs but find out enough time to make Know Your Star a force. “All of us have our day jobs which help us to self-sustain our initiatives. We spend our weekends with KYS and the journey that started in 2012, has only surged gathering more and more supporters trying to make a dent with positive work. All of us have a big heart to work for the causes we pick up, and not necessarily ample time or money. We have focused on giving our readers inspiring story with quality content every week and have also taken up various issues,” he says.
“The team comprises Sharath P R, our mentor, Kiran V C, the Editorial Chief, Pranita Bhat, Ashwin, and me. Our core team has remained intact till date. Later, other enthusiasts joined in to help us. We have Nachiket, who joined our journey in 2013 and he comes up with RK Laxman style caricatures in his toon-spiration section, the highlight of our website. We have Archi Garg, who is leading Mentor India program for KYS. Past contributors and current sponsors have also been with us- Jenifer Vijay, Kiran E and Manikanteshwara Madala,” he adds.
Jaideep adds that their future plans include posting inspiring stories every week and ensure that it reaches to rural India with our Mission Mentor India. With Mentor India, the team has created open source content which any interested bunch of people can pick and use them in their rural schools. "We would deem our approach as a successful one, only when the students are empowered to choose their field of interest, excel in it, and “Pay it Forward” (or “Give it Back”) in their own village, in their own way!," he adds.
“Our victory lies in stopping the brain drain from villages into towns in the pursuit of money. We would continue our efforts till we make everyone believe that Everyone is Good at Something,” says this Changemaker.
For more information log onto their website.