Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Super Success Story of "Super 30" in India. From poverty into IIT schools.

About Super 30:

Wharton School of Management, University of Pennsylvania article:

The Method Behind the 'Math-ness'

Anand Kumar believes Super 30 works primarily because of the absence of alternatives. He says it teaches that education is students' best and only way out of economic and caste discrimination, especially in a state that has historically attracted less industrial investment than others and one where floods routinely play havoc. "We tell them to take up education as a weapon. We give them garam bhashan ("intense lectures") and they forget about their poverty," Kumar says. 

Adequately fired up, Super 30's students study from 14 to 16 hours a day. A community-living format helps. 

Contrary to popular perception, the students do not learn by rote; they are taught to approach problems multi-dimensionally, Kumar says.

A popular Super 30 module delivered through multimedia projectors features two teens, "B" and "R". "R", a rich kid, rides a bike and indulges in pizzas and burgers. "B", who represents a Super 30 student, is a poor kid in a kurta (light cotton shirt) and slippers who rides a cheap bicycle. But when grappling with a question, "B" responds creatively with five to eight solutions; "R" uses traditional methods of thinking. "In a geometry problem, "B" uses algebra or calculus to solve it creatively," Kumar says. 

The two takeaways from the above exercise
  • Poor kids can solve problems too
  • "Math and Science can be very interesting."

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