A school filled will some of the youngest tech innovators of Bangladesh and being groomed by some evenly great creative innovators, 4Matters talks with The Tech School and also finds out how they are creating innovative sustainable technology.
- What was the main aim behind the idea of developing a ‘tech school’?
The aim was to set up an alternative model of education system and to bring technological advancement all over the country, ultimately the world with our young prodigies.
- How many people were involved in starting up The Tech School?
I along with a fellow friend of mine, Shams Jaber sowed the first seed of The Tech School which was known as WNES (World’s Next Education System) back then. Two more business entity, Bengal Family and Cubic Art School later on joined in and The Tech School took the form it has now.
- What was that one hard-earned success in your life which you think made all the difference?
All the realizations that happened to me and all the people who I came across all the way through my journey made all the difference.
- Throughout the journey with this initiative, what do you think you have learnt? What qualities have you found changing or developing in yourself?
The biggest of all is the following piece of wisdom that I have gained,
“The most significant doable thing in every human’s life is to find out what s/he wants to do in life listening to the deep conscience and once it is found out always sticking to it no matter what happens or no matter what the world says about it because this at the break of the day certainly will take him/her to the destiny.
Yes, throughout my life I have evolved a lot! Firstly, I believe I could have known what my destiny is all about. So that was the biggest turning point of my life and did change many things. Another significant realization I came across is the positivity of the people.
Now, I am optimistic about people more than ever because the world is all about them being the ultimate source of power, the biggest asset or resource that anything can ever have. So that belief also got strongly developed within me throughout my journey having hundreds of examples from my personal experience.
- Your aim has been stated as given the education sector of this country, a new meaning. How well do you think technology has helped this country till now?
It definitely did help the country to some degree but not as much as it is supposed to, I would say. Yes, we can see the ongoing progress starting from the increasing number of cell phone and Internet users to all the tech innovations and startups all over the country but they are not helping the matter much. The core reason for that is the group of majority of the population is not taken into any types of consideration.
For instance, if somebody develops an “Augmented Reality” , how will it help the life of a small service holder or a rickshaw puller! If we increase the Internet accessibility to the mass, how will it help many people who do not know English or do not know how to use it and more importantly, when more than 80% of the population can not afford a smartphone! The situation is even worse when you see many places in the country with no Electricity!
If we think of finding out a way to bring the existing technologies to them, I see these problems will never be solved; rather things get changed if we flip it around which is developing technologies and businesses keeping that particular group as the prime focus.
- Is Tech School concerned about the environment? If so, how is it helping the environment?
Yes, we are much concerned about it. We along with our kids are very much inspired by concepts like Renewable Energy, Frugal Innovation and Recycling. We already have developed some prototypes of Renewable Energy Sources and still working on them for better efficiency and performance in order to get them to the people.
- We at 4Matters understand that Tech School was part of an sustainable event Matir Mela organized by Jatra Biroti? In what way did Tech School support the event?
Yes, we played a very key role there at the event. Our kids demonstrated some of their creations such as generating electricity from plants, soil, lemon, kinetic energy and a prototype of solar powered car in the event and they also conducted a session on them with the all the attendees.
“The most significant doable thing in every human’s life is to find out what s/he wants to do in life listening to the deep conscience and once it is found out always sticking to it no matter what happens or no matter what the world says about it because this at the break of the day certainly will take him/her to the destiny.”
- Is Tech School involved in teaching the students with sustainable ideas and technology? If so, what are they?
Yes, some of our senior students and developers at the moment are working on our cooling system which is totally powered by renewable energy. In the long run, I have a plan to make our whole place off the grid with our kids.
- What are the major limitations that you think are the barriers towards the digital development of the country?
There are tremendous potentials I have seen in many of our young tech developers and opportunities for them are too growing bigger as we can noticeably see at different national level and inter-university tech competitions. I think, the major problem is that there is no proper connection between the tech developers and the business people. So, all that brilliant innovations ain’t going public for that. This problem is the biggest problem, I think and is in a dire need to be solved .
Another reason being quite a famous phenomena is most of the tech innovators and developers do not have the willingness to go into a business with their innovations. While talking to them in different tech events and competitions I got to learn, most of them build tech-stuffs because in that way they are pursuing their passion. This is certainly fine but the problem lies at times when they do not have any plan to go public with it even if given the resources and opportunities. So, we have to create the entrepreneurial spirit in them.
Lastly, I would say the system itself is also very much responsible for this. I can certainly say, a tech expert who we address as “a mechanic” or “an electrician” can do things that many of the graduates even can not! So, we have to get out from the stereotype mindset and value the skill not the degree and try to create opportunities for them where they can even flourish more!
- Digitally asserting, in terms of technology, where do we mainly lack when compared to the other developing countries?
I would like to refer to my answer to question number 5.
- In terms of reinventing the education system, what do you think the education system essentially lacks?
The current education system is not at all flawed. I’ll say It is very well structured but outdated! It is more than a century old and now when everything including social context, economy, business, access to knowledge, our rationality has changed, nothing is more absurd than sticking to it. We need to keep up with the time and its demand and evolve accordingly. This is all it needs, I think.
Few aspects I would like to mention it needs to evolve into-
- Comprehensible purpose and Creativity: We, humans are very much driven by reason for everything and it all starts from the childhood. Learning happens the most for one when there is a solid understandable reason for him/her and in a way that engages creativity, real life worth and doing good to the mankind. We don’t teach these to our children. We do not encourage them to be creative. The schools should be a place where a child’s creativity is nurtured.
- Interest based learning: Every child must be really interested in what s/he is learning. It’s much evident that our children most of the time are forced into learning things that do not interest them at all and hence, they miss the joys of learning. At break of the day as a consequence, the system is producing some programmed robots. So, we have to take this issue very seriously.
- Learning something through doing it: The reality stands polar opposite to it at this moment, even though this is very primitive and a fundamental aspect of development psychology and learning. We do not remember all what we learned at school but we do for things that we experience. Knowledge can never be at its best and productive if it is acquired through memorising pages from a book. For instance, if someone wants to learn swimming, s/he has to get into a pool; reading books, journals or looking into google won’t help at all.
- If you would have to give a piece of advice to the technological experts of the country, what would it be?
Let’s make the country a better place with Technology! All it takes is just our willingness!
- What near future plans do you hold for your school?
Having it as a full time school and bringing it to every district of Bangladesh; from big cities to remote areas. I wish to see every child of Bangladesh as a tech developer. For that, I plan to go to their door inspiring and helping them with everything it needs.
- If you have to sum up your journey with this project in a few words, what would it be?
I am not sure what I am supposed to say to that!