Educating young India is one of the biggest challenges the country is facing right now. Education is like the springboard which can leapfrog any country on the path of development. Creating responsible and rational citizens is a must and only a well-directed education can do that. To take a step forward in this direction, Ruchik Gandhi, a young aspiring social entrepreneur came up with a very simple but effective idea to give the school going students a well-rounded education. With this aim, he started Accelerate to train students for the future and the initiative is being supported very well by the maturing society. Many parents requested him to devote more time from his already busy schedule as an engineering student and that has inspired him to take this forward. YourStory.in caught up with Ruchik to know more.Ruchik, when was Accelerate started? Where is it based?
“ACCELERATE” was started during the summer of 2009, when I went home for a short vacation after completing the fourth semester of my engineering. We are based in Ahmedabad.
Why did you start Accelerate?
My intention for the summer vacation was to help my mom(who is a tuition teacher) with her students. But in the process, I realized how inadequate the school students especially in the age group of 12-17 are regarding their knowledge base other than the curriculum. Hence, I decided to do something to widen this knowledge base and make studying/learning interesting, and my vacation time more fruitful rather than just getting bored. This gave birth to “Accelerate- Don’t just Study, Learn | Grow | Win”.
So, how does Accelerate go about this seemingly difficult task?
Accelerate started as a summer workshop, the duration of which was 2 weeks, and during this a lot of things were taught, conveyed and discussed. The first priority was to imbibe a newspaper reading habit and hence, the headlines of each day’s news were discussed and so were its potential impacts on the student’s lives in general. The main courses of the workshop included the same syllabi of their curriculum but taught from the real world’s perspective. Hence, instead of directly teaching them the geometry concepts, it importance was made known to them by giving a believable case study like organizing a sports meet in their school with constraints of space. And hence, they had to carve out a way to accommodate all the different sports ground. The concepts of area, volume and circumference were now easily understood by them. Similarly, chapters like measurement, trigonometry, space, distance, time in mathematics and sections like optics, chemical reactions, and science were taught to them. Apart from these, a whole lot of personality development, communication skills improvement and confidence boosting lectures were also conducted. Psychoanalysts, Bloggers, young entrepreneurs and other trainers were invited from time and again to share their experiences with the students.
What is the revenue model of Accelerate?
When it started, Accelerate was not an entrepreneurial venture. Though fees were taken from students, kits amounting to the same value were given to the student’s. Though over a period of these two years, the concept has taken form and I’ve meddled with the idea of making it a career for me. If that happens, I’d have to make enough money to provide for myself and my team.How big is your team? Are you looking at hiring?
The team consists of 5 trainers apart from me, all of whom are based out of Ahmedabad. Though special lecturers are also invited when the need arises. College Students from in and around Ahmedabad are always invited to be a part of our team and help us reach more and more students.
Tell us about your expansion plans.
Seeing the kind of response, we have got from the students in these 3 years, we are now planning to expand it to many other places in Ahmedabad in the next two years.
How did you publicize Accelerate?
Initially we had to publicize the concept through distributing leaflets in newspapers and advertising in other such material. Though from the very next year, we never felt the need for marketing as students came on their own through word-of-mouth publicity. Since the past two years, we have to book special auditoriums to accommodate the huge increase in the number of students which don’t fit in the infrastructure of our own classes.
What are the biggest challenges you face?
The major challenge was the initial struggle where the parents did not understand what we wanted to do. Summer workshop for them was for music, dance or handwriting improvement, none of which we dealt in. Changing this mindset was what needed the maximum sweat.
What tie-ups have helped you in the past?
We presently function in association with ALOHA and IL&FS educational services. Association with them has helped us become more professional and gain expertise in the services we render.
What kind of support are you looking at from readers at YourStory.in?
Not for the enterprise, but I would like to request all the readers to do something similar in their own locality and try to create a similar movement that we have created in Ahmedabad. We are always there to help with all the resources and content that you may need.
Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Vardan Kabra (IIT B and IIM A Alumnus) – Head of FountainHead School at Surat, interning under whom gave me the opportunity of learning, “how learning, if dealt in the right way can change the way we look at things”. And, India today does need this kind of an education revolution.