Grooming young innovators

Published On: August 18, 2017 02:37 PM NPT By: Republica

Karkhana is yet again welcoming eight to 15-year-olds to join their new sessions on learning the basics of robotics. And, as one would expect, as they try and explain the workshop, words like coding, software, electronics, hardware, power tools constantly pop up. Now these are jargons that Nepalis still don’t associate with kids and their classes but, yet again, Karkhana emphasizes that this is a program especially for them.  

Irina Sthapit is set to be one of the facilitators in this upcoming robotics session. Having majored in Electronics and Communication, she knows the ins and outs of all this, but still there is slight envy on her part. “If I had an opportunity like this when I was in school, it would have been amazing,” she says. We see her point too. It’s the reason why the education company’s after-school program is garnering such good reviews.

Karkhana has been consistently hosting these kinds of programs for youngsters. If we scroll through their Facebook page, there are even accounts of students as they share their experiences tinkering with their respective electronic projects. From the standpoint of our Nepali education system this approach to learning is unique indeed. And the results from it seem to be apparent as well. 

“While the kids may eventually be able to build something, that’s not the main goal. We want to teach them not to be afraid of trying new things and exploring.”


When asked why robotics and what’s the purpose of teaching kids this subject, Sthapit explains, “We place utmost importance in encouraging experimentation. While the kids may eventually be able to build something, that’s not the main goal. We want to teach them not to be afraid of trying new things and exploring. It’s the process that is important.”

While almost all the kids who tend to participate in these programs come on their own, Sthapit shares that initially majority of them are intimidated by the prospect of the classes. So, Sthapit describes it as a gradual process. Apparently, they have to start from scratch and work on building confidence in the kids to work and play with the tools as well as the concept of electronics. 
Facilitators like her opt for a hands-on teaching approach where they not only guide the children but also allow the kids to immediately see the results of their work. For instance, if the kids are learning how to code, they can see the results of their coding on spot. The Karkhana team claims these kind of practical lessons have had the best results in helping the kids overcome their fears. 
Then there are the stereotypes. Every year, Karkhana holds at least one electronics or robotics workshop targeting girls. Here the facilitators as well as the students are all female. “Girls do tend to be hesitant,” reveals Sthapit, “However, at the same time, when they see me or other female teachers working with power tools or wires and such, they take initiative as well. It’s not difficult to change their mindset. ”

Ultimately, the aim is to groom the young minds by giving them a playground to create, collaborate and be creative with one another. We highly recommend parents and kids alike to keep tabs on their workshops. Their next basics in robotics session is scheduled to begin on August 19. 

(Priyanka Gurung)

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