‘For the first time, we are telling students to dream of a business’: Sisodia

  • Sisodia, who holds the education portfolio, said some of the promising ideas that had come up as part of the Business Blaster initiative will be televised.
Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia.
Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia.
Updated on Nov 28, 2021 03:44 AM IST
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BySadia Akhtar

Ahead of the Delhi government’s launch of an eight-episode TV programme featuring its ambitious Business Blasters scheme, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia spoke to HT’s Sadia Akhtar. Sisodia, who holds the education portfolio, said some of the promising ideas that had come up as part of the Business Blaster initiative will be televised. As part of the programme, students in class 11 and 12 will be mentored and provided financial capital of 2,000 as seed money to help kick-start their business ideas. Edited excerpts:

In schools, entrepreneurship is usually restricted to theory or business studies. What is the motivation behind initiating something like this in schools?

Through the Business Blasters programme, we are offering a full-fledged option to students to pursue a career in business. In our society, students are primed to pursue jobs. They are not encouraged to harbour dreams of starting their own company or business or innovation. We are introducing this dream to students for the first time, and I believe it is being done at the right age. By the time students enter college, they are too conditioned to pursuing jobs their seniors have been doing. Changing the mindset at that stage, within three years, is tough. This is why we began the entrepreneurship mindset curriculum in school.

How will the government ensure that the projects students work on with the seed money will not come to a halt after school?

Delhi government schools have around 350,000 students in classes 11 and 12. We asked them for business ideas and received around 51,000 ideas. Among these, some will fail. Some students may succeed, but might not be inclined to pursue their ideas further and could choose something else in life. The third set of students will be those who succeed. They will be progressive and innovative and will create jobs. These ideas will be taken to the last stage in February, when we will connect investors with the 10 best ideas. We will give direct admission to the top 100 students into institutions such as Delhi Technological University.

Will we see stakeholders from the industry mentoring students?

Yes, it is already happening. We have asked schools to engage local entrepreneurs and create a panel. At the second stage, as students go to the district and state levels, we will attach business coaches with them. MBA students or others in higher education could serve as coaches. Lastly, investors are aware they are dealing with school students and will coach them.

Do you think students might struggle to juggle the demands of the project along with other academic requirements?

We are seeking no-objection certificates from parents. Parents are largely in agreement.

I have also asked children and they say their studies are unaffected since the programme has energised them and opened up their minds, which will help them focus better.

While schools reopened after 19 months, the uncertainty due to Covid-19 has not abated. Has the state considered a response that will allow learning to continue without disruptions?

We all have to be prepared but no one knows what needs to be done. The pandemic compelled us to take online exams, prepare results based on past assessments and rethink schooling. Taking a cue from these developments, we are bringing a new online school that we announced in the budget last year. Online education cannot be just limited to a technical shift of the classroom.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2022