Being a subscriber of TEDx YouTube channel, I prefer to keep myself updated on the TEDx Talk videos. Recently, I came across a TEDx Talk featuring two tech-lovers, but this time they were no grownups, but kids of age 9 and 11. To my wonder, in front of the rows of big shots, these kids seamlessly talked about their dreams of contributing to something larger than life through their tech inventions. They mentioned terms like java, Adruino, Raspberry-Pie as if they were playthings. Scrolling down, I found out that these two wonder kids were Abrar Jawad and Safwan Rahman who are apprentices at The Tech School.
Amused by their humorous, enticing and equally inspiring talk, I could not resist myself from knowing more about The Tech School. After some easy research, I soon found out the mentors of Abrar and Safwan- the ingenious pair- Shams Jaber and Neloy Anik. I conveyed my wish to know more about this very atypical genre of school to one of the co-founders, and being the nice person he is, Shams Jaber invited me to a conversation with him where we talked about his venture, the ideas behind it, the tale of connecting the dots, the roadblocks, their vision and a lot more in between.
At FS, since we believe in big and powerful ideas to bring profound change, we decided to run a four part series on The Tech School to understand the core idea, to know more about the founders, to look back to comprehend their journey and struggle during early days, and to get a hint of their vision for the future.
This is first part of the series.
Back in 2013, when Shams was still a student of BRAC University, he came up with a unique idea and shared it with his friend Neloy, the other co-founder of, now infamous, The Tech School. Both of the founders were discontent with the prevailing education system. The current education system discourages one to pursue his/her imagination and creativity and presents a generic curriculum irrespective of the students’ capabilities and dreams. Under such system students are unaware of the purpose of their studies. Moreover, such an education system is mostly exam-oriented. Our education system is such that once our exams are over; we don’t remember anything that we have learnt most of the time, we fail to understand what we are taught because of the way in which we are taught. Shams and Neloy’s perspectives were proven right when they made some research and found out that most of the education experts and thinkers thought of the current education system as obsolete and a misfit in the real life.
Much dejected, Shams and Neloy thought of coming up with an alternative institution for children that would encourage their imagination and creativity rather than forcing them into the conventional educational framework. To kick start their vision, in February 2013, Shams took a semester off from university and began imparting their knowledge among street children with his entrepreneurial half, Neloy. This was their initial step towards creating a revolution in the conventional norms of the society. It took few alterations before Shams and Neloy’s vision got itself a name ‘The Tech School’. Various issues forced the duo to shut down their first venture of serving the underprivileged kids. Next they targeted kids from financially solvent families offering diverse curriculum and again they failed. This time they rose from their ashes and constricted their curriculum focusing solely on robotics and named it WNES Robotics School.
As always, after every failure comes success, this venture started grabbing attention mainly due to the participation of its apprentices in national competitions. Thus WNES got a new name The Tech School and the venture that started with very few students now has 15 regular students with many kids showing their interest in the school.
The Tech School is a venture supported by a group of teachers and tech fanatics to bring the joy of electronic and computer engineering as well as robotics technology to the young generation. Phones, gadgets, computers are now integral parts of our lives. The Tech School aims to provide the kids an insight into these devices they use in their everyday lives. It helps kids to unify their own potential, passion and curiosity to learn more about technology so that they can play their part in the society through their ground-breaking inventions.
Seneca wrote: “life is not short, life is wasted”. If you consider the way our education system works, this assertion of Seneca is absolutely true. It takes undue amount of time to get a degree that does very little to validate our lives other than confirming status quo and society. At the same time, it does disservice to our imagination and creativity. It robs of courage of doing something beyond norm from majority of attendees and makes them to confirm to the societal standard.
Since we are here for a very short time, we should start early. We should have opportunity to keep our imagination alive even when we are adult. The Tech School is introducing a model that can bridge this gap. It gives our kids an opportunity to start early, follow their passion and curiosity.
Credit: This Story is written by Fatema Mohammad for Future Startup and Edited by Ruhul Kader. Images by The Tech School.