Vinod Tiwari

Regional Mentor of Change for the Gujarat State, Niti Ayog, UAE’s number one Entrepreneurship Consultant, Bestseller Author & International Speaker

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How important is the role of Mentor of Change?

Mentorship is a unique relationship with mentee, where he is neither a boss and nor a friend and good mentor views problem as opportunities, visualise end goals, encourage collaboration, practice and teach empathy, celebrate mistakes and help mentee inculcate a growth mindset.

In ancient Indian traditions it has contextual meanings with significance beyond what teacher means in English. The guru or Mentor is more than someone, who teaches specific type of knowledge, who is also a counsellor, who helps mould values, an exemplar in life, an inspirational source and who reveals the meaning of life. 

Mentor plays a significant role in individual’s life for personal, professional and social development. Mentorship is a unique relationship with mentee, where he is neither a boss and nor a friend and good mentor views problem as opportunities, visualise end goals, encourage collaboration, practice and teach empathy, celebrate mistakes and help mentee inculcate a growth mindset. 

Mentor of Change’ is an India’s strategic nation building initiative to engage leaders who can guide and mentor students in 5000+ Atal Tinkering Labs that Atal Innovation Mission has established in various schools. To create a positive change in the society, mentors do spare few hours every week and spend their time in one or more such labs and enable students to experience, learn and practice future skills such as design and computational thinking.

It is a part of flagship initiative by NITI Aayog to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the country. The lab activities are designed to spur the spark of creativity, and go beyond regular curriculum and text book learning. 

These labs are non-prescriptive by nature, and mentors are expected to be enablers rather than instructors. Possible five major areas of contribution could be, but not limited to: 

1) Technical Knowhow: building prototypes, 

2) Innovation and Design: inculcating solution oriented approach, 

3) Inspirational: leadership and self-motivation, and 

4) Business and Entrepreneurship: encouraging ideas and team building 

5) Sounding board/ guide, break stereotypes and bias to bring about mind set and behavioural change 

This initiative of Government of India for starting innovative ATL labs is going to be proved a remarkable step in coming future, as there is a vision of making young minds skilled for Industrial Revolution 4.0. As we need huge number of technological skilled resources in coming decade for smart manufacturing facilities in India. In this program, we need to develop new skills for miniaturisation, digitisation automation and information technology right from high school level along with understanding of big data, 3D printing and Internet of Things, robotics, etc.

Main objective of setting up these labs is to provide freedom to children to analyse and find solution of a challenge in different micro environment culture. Not only students, but teachers and mentors are also allowed to design their own theme to solve challenges by out of the box thinking, analytical thinking and critical thinking. Since years we have been focused on theoretical approach, whereas now new education policy is aligned with 21st century parameters for young children who are encouraged to learn by doing the things by collectively thinking to develop innovative ideas. 

Under the mission of NITI Aayog, each school is given an opportunity to be mentored by a leader and respective authority, which itself is a new innovative approach. Exemplary motivated professionals and personalities from different background have been called to join the initiative and volunteer their time without expecting rewards but to transfer their wisdom like technical, behavioural, soft, analytical, interpersonal skills to nurture the young minds. It is a good sense of feeling, and satisfaction of contribution towards the new India development.

Today, we have 5000 plus mentors across India from all walks of life and they are adding value on pro bono basis. To name a few, we have Scientists, Engineers, Entrepreneurs, Professionals, Businessman, Professors, Teachers and even young graduates coming from large and medium sized public, private companies, including retired professionals.

“I do not expect thank you and appreciation, as I consider mentoring as a part of my duty to give back to society” says Dr. Sudhir joshi, MD (Ayurveda), District Ayurveda Officer, ‘Mentor of Change’ from Vadodara, Gujarat. He is mentoring two schools, New Era School and DPS Harni on interesting topics and recently conducted online session on Emotional Intelligence boost up awareness through right brain development method via systemic approach. Despite of his busy schedule, he is enthusiastically associated to coordinate between ‘Teacher of Change and Students’. 

During last year, NITI Aayog created a new position ‘Regional Mentor of Change’ for each and every state of India. The role of R-MoC is to closely working with AIM team to guide and assist their state mentor community for mentoring the mentors, activating the mentors, solving their operational problems, training, and innovate events as an ambassador. There are around 34 Regional Mentor of Change has been successfully nominated to each region to help all India mentors. In the same fashion to cater all the ATL In-charge/teacher across India, ‘Regional Teacher of Change’ has been selected on various aspects on national level.

It is just the beginning of the nationwide revolution enabling innovation at the grassroots to empowering and nurture the scientific temperament of young minds to think and dream big to transform India into a world class innovation hub, which seems to be possible with the new education policy launched recently, because the world is eyeing on us being a young country having 65% of population under 35 years of age.

However, the success journey seems to be so smooth, theoretically, but it was not, even having a big support of the Modi led government and various bodies like MyGov, IBM, Dell, Adobe etcetera. Together we all are determined to have tinkering lab in each school and mission of having 2-3 mentors assigned to all schools.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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