Meet 18-year-old Aniket Gupta – a proud recipient of this year’s The Diana Award. Established in memory of the late Princess Diana, the award is given to ‘some of the most inspirational young people from across the world who have demonstrated their ability to inspire and mobilise new generations to serve their communities and create long lasting change on a global scale.’
Aniket was awarded for his work in the field of science education (STEAM). He founded an NGO by the name Indian Science and Technology Campaign in April 2018 to explain school students the complex scientific concepts through practical experiments, and thus encourage them to be innovative and creative in their thinking. His vision ‘practicality is everything’ grew from the realisation that the tendency to cram for exams meant that many students failed when it came to ‘thinking skills and understanding concepts.’ So far, as per the teenager, the NGO has supported 19,000 students and 900 teachers with practical initiatives, including a programme combining science with entrepreneurial skills to create innovative, economical and constructive prototypes with worldwide benefits for big problems. Now, Aniket’s initiative has been joined by a volunteer team of 600 university students to develop low-cost practical experiments to explain complex scientific concepts at school level.
Speaking about the inspiration behind his work, Aniket said, “Indian education system is developed for masses. But every child is different and if we do not have resources to individualise the educational curriculum, then we’re just pushing the kids through a funnel that may not fit them; and that’s something what worried me. Our notion that every child is going to learn in the same way at the same time is disastrous and it just creates box checkers who then take up careers for which they may not be fit.”
A student of Lovely Public Senior Secondary School, East Delhi, Aniket is happy that his efforts are finding takers from around the world. But while his happiness knows no bounds, he, at present, is keeping his fingers crossed for his class XII board exam results, which are likely to be declared anytime soon.