In Delhi government classrooms, when entrepreneurs speak to children, the conversation is expected to be freewheeling, except on two themes — sales pitches and religion.
The Education Department, which is firming up its standard operation procedure (SOP) before entrepreneurs start interacting with students as part of the entrepreneurship curriculum next week, is holding meetings with those who volunteered their time to talk to students about their journeys. The department has already started a pilot with 10 entrepreneurs in 10 schools.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had earlier told The Indian Express that the government is looking at empanelling 7,000 entrepreneurs to interact with students from Classes IX to XII.
“In interactions with the entrepreneurs, we’ve made it very clear they will not make any sales pitch to students, teachers or the principal. They may be very passionate about their products, but we’ve asked them to focus on their journey of becoming an entrepreneur. We’ve also asked them to refrain from talking about their religious and spiritual beliefs,” said Abhishek Gupta, advisor to the Deputy CM.
The SOP will be circulated among those who have signed up, and will also include basic guidelines and the direction to take, as well as how to tell children about their journey.
“The idea is to help children develop an entrepreneurship mindset more than helping them understand the nitty-gritty of setting up a business,” Gupta said.
The curriculum was rolled out in all classrooms this month. Each day, 40 minutes are kept aside for discussions. So far, over 5,000 entrepreneurs have signed up.
Sisodia has been meeting these entrepreneurs in batches of 200. One such meeting saw women who have started HR consultancy firms, men who have started design companies and film producers to understand their roles better.
The department is looking to engage entrepreneurs with whom children can relate to more easily. “We have received applications from many people running small restaurants and shops. Some are also alumni of government schools, something the department believes will motivate children more,” Gupta said.
Ritu Singh Suri, who studied at a government school in Moti Nagar, started an HR consultancy firm a few years ago. She heard about the programme through advertisements. “Mindsets in schools need to change… People believe opportunities do not exist. I just want to tell children that they do, and we are all examples,” she said. Kunal Sehdev, who studied design at NIFT Delhi and went to Naval Public School in Delhi, worked with an export house before he decided to start his own firm. “I think sharing experiences is intrinsic to entrepreneurship,” he said.