More than 150 Students from 10 government schools showcase 40 innovative prototypes

Marks the culmination of year-long interventions that brought integrated computer science education to public schools, making them future-ready

10th January 2023, Mumbai: A weighing sensor to alert you when your gas cylinder might need a refill soon; a digital platform to make children aware of good and bad touch; or a game that nudges one to reduce pollution of ocean and rivers- these were just some of the creative and thoughtful prototypes built by 5th to 8th graders, that were on display at Maker’s Factory held at Tilak Nagar BMC School, this year. Some of the key dignitaries present included Mr. Ramanan Ramanathan, Director, First Mission Director, Atal Innovation Mission, Mr. Anurag Pratap, CSR Lead, Capgemini, Mr. Kailash Pagare, State Project Director, Samagra Shiksha, and M.r Ramkumar Rajendran, HOD Education Technology, IIT Bombay.

Maker’s Factory is organized by Pi Jam Foundation to mark another year of successful interventions across public schools in nurturing the love for computer sciences, helping them build 21-century skills including computational thinking, design thinking, and problem-solving skills, enabling them to leverage tech to solve problems from the natural world around them.

Guests shared their surprise and satisfaction in seeing young students innovate and think about solving real problems around them. “It is always such a thrilling and heartening experience to see young enthusiastic students from schools talking excitedly about an idea conceived by them, eager to demonstrate energetically, while they passionately talk about 3D printing, IoT, cloud and web services, Raspberry Pi, and Arduino boards. The joy is more than doubled when you learn that these students are from government schools, especially when they include girl children. It shows enormous potential and transformative youth energy coursing through New India,” said Mr. Ramanan Ramanathan, First Mission Director, AIM.

This event is a celebration as much as a platform for students to demonstrate what they learned and the prototypes they built using the same skills of innovation, problem-solving and creative thinking. Students showcase their solution prototypes and digital creations to real-world problems. Pi Jam Foundation works towards democratizing computer science education, making it accessible, innovative, and fun for kids in government schools.

“Three things are essential to me to understand when I am interacting with people, especially students- Can we become a problem-solving country rather than a country that is always looking at others to solve our problems? Secondly, can we fire up the spirit of innovation in our youth? All these millions of youth who will enter the workforce, we all have something precious: the demographic dividend of youth power, the youth energy coursing through the nation, which we see here (at Maker’s Factory)” said Mr. Pratap.

Sharing about his interaction with the students he said, “I was talking with a group of students who had identified a major problem that they see at that young age, which is phone addiction and they offered a tech-based solution and other ideas to counter it. That’s the kind of energy I am talking about, which often does not get transformed.”

We were also joined by Mr. Navin Shah, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development, and Mr. Rama Kamaraju, Advisor Aspirational Districts, Niti Aayog virtually, shared that such an exhibition of talent, skill, and innovation from young Indians gave them plenty of hope for a bright digital-ready future for India. “I was surprised to see 8th graders thinking along the lines of solving real-world problems around them. Some projects like the one on reducing water wastage were very impressive. We have about 3000 villages and I would be happy to implement the project throughout our villages,” said Mr. Naveen Shah, Hon. Joint Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development.

Pi Jam Foundation’s vision of democratizing computer science education for students and teachers of BMC and PCMC (Pimpri Chinchwad Mahanagar Corporation) schools is supported by and in collaboration with Capgemini. Mr. Rama Kamaraju, Advisor for Aspirational Districts, Niti Ayog, expressed in his virtual address, “I was curious to know how they innovated, ideated, problem solved and implemented these interesting projects. I also wanted to know where they see their futures to be.”

Praising the Foundation’s work in his speech, Mr. Kailash Pagare, State Project Director for Samagra Shiksha said, “I deeply appreciate the work Pi Jam Foundation is doing and I look forward to collaborating with them for projects in the coming years. An event like Maker’s Factory shows the potential and what is possible when students are given the tools to build 21st-century skills. It is a place for all our stakeholders, be it, students, parents, teachers, government stakeholders, and corporate and NGO partners, to come together and experience a space that is a result of all of us converging in support of the collective CS vision for our children.

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