In simple words, it is only a
virtual classroom. But what makes it different is the attitude of Nagpur-based
WatchWitz Technologies Private Limited which has come out with this innovative
model. It starts with being a virtual classroom but aims to end the disadvantage
faced by students in small cities in the matter of exposure to the guidance of
the country’s top scientists, experts and business leaders.
We have chosen to call this
initiative ‘Apropos Gumption.’ 'Apropos Gumption' literally means –‘A
relevant initiative.’ And the reason, these installations are free of cost are
cause, “The company has developed this model as its self- sustainable social
initiative. The aim is to make virtual learning easy, affordable and accessible
to colleges and students in small cities.”
So impressed was the Science and Technology Park (an organization promoted by
Department of Science and Technology, Government of India) with this initiative,
that it became a shareholder in WatchWitz Technologies. It then mobilized a list
of speakers which not only include the above mentioned names, but several other
illustrious ones. These include Padmashri Dr.Vasant Gowarikar, Padmabhushan Dr.
Jayant Naralikar, Padmashri Dr. Govind Swaroop, Shiromani award winner Prof.
Arun Nigavekar, Padma veterans Dr. Anil Kakodkar and Prof. CNR Rao, Padmashri
Dr. Thirumalachari Ramasami and Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award winner Prof. Samir
Obviously WatchWitz is set to do today to the country what internet should have done some 10 years back. When the internet was introduced in India it was thought that it would be capitalized on to deliver high-quality education to the non-metro and rural centres of the country. However, this did not materialize due to the prohibitive cost of the technology involved and other issues. The basic problem with the earlier formats of virtual classroom projects was that they ran on lease lines whose cost itself ran into lakhs of rupees. Colleges, especially in the hinterlands, have not been able to afford such a costly system.
“Apropos Gumption has removed this difficulty because it works on simple broadband connection. This is quite affordable and is available in B and C grade cities also. Moreover, as a social initiative, the company would be installing the required system free of cost at a total 50 locations.”
At a time when it is fashionable
to talk of social disparity, the chasm is widest in the field of education. The
scenario today is that while big institutions in big cities have the wherewithal
to invite world-renowned lecturers to address their students, institutions in
smaller cities become Children of Lesser Gods. The disparity split is almost ‘Haves’
and ‘Have-nots’ when it comes to the level of exposure. 'Apropos Gumption'
seeks to remove this disparity by ensuring that a top scientist is heard and
spoken to by thousands of students in various towns and cities. Such exposure,
it is expected, would bring students in small cities on an equal footing with
students in the big cities. All that is required from such an institution
benefiting under the initiative is a computer, a trained operator and a one-time
registration fee. An essential condition for a college to become a member of
'Apropos Gumption' is that it should not restrict such learning sessions only to
its own students but also invite all students in its neighboring community.
Our vision and dream of 'Apropos
Gumption' does not end here. We have also in discussions with 17 universities
abroad having Indian students. These students will share their experiences
real-time through the same system regarding not only the disciplines of learning
but the reality of issues, finance and opportunities of education abroad. “Our
students have a fascination for foreign universities. It is only when they end
up at some of these that they realize that financially, academically and
career-wise it was not a sound decision. 'Apropos Gumption' may end up saving
Ask Karnik, The man behind this
initiative, why he chose to launch this mega-initiative from Nagpur and his
reason is simple, though emotional. “It is my city, the company’s
city," he says. The company was strongly urged to launch the initiative
from Mumbai or Pune, the commercial and IT hubs of the country. "But I
chose Nagpur over them. The other and bigger reason was that the launch affords
an opportunity to convince industry bigwigs that cities like Nagpur too have
talent and the scientific temperament to innovate,” Karnik concludes.
We are sure that Apropos Gumption will prove to be a revolution, it would be a
huge stride in the field of education even live up to its name –A relevant