Payal Rajpal, Director Robotex India talks about her mission of promoting STEM education in India and bridging the education to employment gap.
Payal Rajpal, the founder of Robotex India, is a B.Tech IT student, and the former Spokesperson of Study Estonia. Robotex India is a non-profit organization that was modelled after the 22-year-old Robotex International that started in Estonia. Robotex India was launched in 2018, focusing on making the youth ready for a digital India, however the participation at the 2018 championship was from the private schools solely. The ones who were able learn coding, robotics from the private institutions. This led to the establishment of 'Robotex for Rural' as a patent program in 2019. With the basic premise of educating children from the government schools in urban, rural and tribal areas and equipping them with the skills of the future, like robotics, artificial intelligence, coding, and even soft skills like analytical thinking.
Payal believes that to empower and uplift others we don't necessarily need to be a master of skills, but rather we need to have the conviction and determination to plan a vision and to go through with the mission and goals we set for ourselves and others. “Our patent programs 'Robotex for Rural’ and ‘Girls Who Build Robots’ are the first initiatives of Future Skills education pan-India wherein thousands of students have made some remarkable capstone projects. These students come from areas where there's a dearth of electricity, no wifi, no computer but one device at home. What they do have are aspirations, career dreams, and the conviction to achieve them,” she said.
Payal received an overwhelming wave of support as she began her initiative for the underprivileged kids. From the government institutions to the kids and their parents, the feedback remains greatly positive. Payal elaborates that the reason for the support was the STEM education that she was trying to promote. It covers all the subjects of a conventional education system and builds potential for greater things in the children.
Every venture comes with its own set of struggles and the same goes for Payal and Robotex India. The main challenge that they continue to face is the lack of digital infrastructure in the rural and tribal areas of India. The poor accessibility of the internet and wifi raised another cause for concern in post-pandemic India.
"The fact that there would be challenges remains constant but we are motivated to overcome them witnessing the enthusiasm of the children and their ever-growing zeal to learn. We owe our success and growth to the children who are our truest super stars. The pandemic lockdown, school closures, and exam postponement made us grow even stronger with workshops aligned digitally and 20,000 underprivileged students from government schools trained via online programs during the covid19 school shutdown," Payal explained.
The following is Payal's advice for the readers,
"As the internet and digital way of life took the world by storm in the current pandemic era, it has become more so important to learn digital skills and the pandemic accelerated this need. While looking at STEM, digital literacy, and innovation, via. technology, they have rapidly become the pillars of a successful future career. The intervention of technology increases day by day in every sector. To a STEM aspirant, it is clear that the future lies in technology, as it attaches itself creatively in every field. The future of STEM is here to stay and is studded with infinite possibilities."
To know better about the Non-profit organization of Robotex, click on the link below: