What is NEEVA? Why did you choose this name?

Mostly a cool name. Acronym for Novel Education and Entrepreneurship Vocational Academy.

What do you aim to accomplish?

Inspire the love of learning for life among young and old people, empower and guide them to ask questions and come up with practical solutions to problems. We wish to study problems together and find solutions that help overall society and help the planet. The solutions we collectively discover could be deployed with business, non-profit NGOs or government.

What background do you expect for students?

You can be of any age, from any educational background. We don’t care what subjects you were good at in school or how many years have passed since you set foot in any school.

The basic requirements we expect are : 1) deep curiosity, 2) willingness to learn, teach and share, 3) critical thinking / logical thinking and tendency to question everything and evaluate evidence.

Of course basic knowledge of computers and internet and English are the most useful tools necessary for effective learning since vast majority of easily accessible knowledge is on English language Internet. But, if you really have a desire to learn, you would first learn Internet and English as these are your first tools.

Which topics would you help us learn?

In an ideal world, we would all be living in heaven – learning / working just on our hobbies and making infinite amount of money just playing. Reality is somewhat of a balance. The actual list of topics would keep changing as science and technology change at a rapid pace. But, it would also depend on your passions and hobbies as well as your practical considerations on being employable etc. The best tools of yesterday (e.g. type-writer) are obsolete today and this process will continue. However, current topics that we think you would find very useful and interesting to you are: Linux, Raspberry pi, Arduino, Mobile Phone App development, Design / Development of Solar and Wind power systems, Permaculture, Hydroponics, Aquaponics, etc, low-cost and sustainable water filtration, sustainable home building, etc.

What is wrong with traditional education? How do you help the students?

There are two major problems with traditional education:

1) It is often based on rote learning, memorizing facts which you don’t have to memorize any more since you can let wikipedia remember all that. And it doesn’t focus on problem solving. When it focusses on problem solving, it describes hypothetical problems that make no sense to average student. This traditional education doesn’t focus on practical problems in every day life.

2) Pace of technological change is so blazingly fast that textbooks become outdated soon after being delivered to classrooms.

What to study and why to study is much more important than actual studying or how to study. Too much of emphasis in society is on how to study – buy the guidebooks, tutorials, join coaching classes, etc. Parents and students are mindlessly focussed on “how to study” without questioning¬†what we should study this and why? Most so-called “bad” students are bad primarily because they don’t understand why they should comply and surrender to mindless reading and how it will help them. This is especially a problem for those with rebellious personality while conformists just comply and do enough of studying to stay out of trouble. We believe we can really explain what should be studied and show concrete logic of how the study will help them and so we are really good at motivating, inspiring and educating students. Once students are motivated they will study even when parents don’t force them. The key is that students should have freedom to decide what to study and they need an understand of why they should study.

We are very experienced and knowledgeable in cutting edge science and technology. We know the technological landscape and how it has been evolving and we understand future trends. We can tell you what is worth studying and what you should not waste your time to study.

Pace of technological change is very rapid and confusing. Extremely rapid changes in technology mean that what you study in school might end up being obsolete and useless when you graduate. The study majors or fields that may be in high demand for job prospects when you enter college may have very little economic demand when you graduate. We want to help you avoid wasting the most precious years of your life! Ask any grown up and they will share stories about wasted years studying to get a particular degree.

We wish to turn students into budding entrepreneurs and scientists. This doesn’t mean they will all turn into multimillionaire businessmen or PhDs with big scientific prizes but they will genuinely experience the happiness that comes to scientists when they discover new knowledge, and when they create a useful product. And we are sure that they will have some very good practical skills that make them employable and among the most sought-after employees since they will be like samurai warriors – those proficient with the sharpest and latest tools. Once you master the right tools, your actual degree or how many years you wasted in university is all immaterial.

How do you help parents?

Do you end up arguing with your child about study? Do you wish to avoid risk that your child may end up in a field with low employemnt demand? If your child is devoting more time playing than studying, we feel that it is most likely because he hasn’t found his passion in education. And he hasn’t found a teacher / mentor who would help him discover his true passion. He would spend way more time studying than you ask him to but only after he finds education that is more like his hobby. We know this first hand because we saw this in our lives and in lives of several others.

We can serve as a bridge between parents and students.

How would students study with you? What about exams, scores, rankings etc.?

We are not professional teachers, professors, etc. While we may have little more¬†knowledge or experience than you in some topics, please don’t consider us as someone of authority whom you can never question. We are ignorants in many topics and we will immediately share our ignorance. Consider us as your friends, your fellow travellers on this journey of exploration and learning, fellow seekers of knowledge.

We don’t believe in textbooks, exams, scores, rankings etc. While we might ask you to read a textbook sometimes, big part of your learning will come from your favourite activity – browsing the internet!! But, there is a huge difference between junk internet and high quality internet and we will show you the difference. Also, you will learn from experimenting, building real things.

Instead of exams, we will work with you to evaluate your knowledge similar to the way two friends engage in an intellectual discussion and have a fun debate. On your chosen topic, we will make you our teacher and ask you to explain it as you would explain to your best friend. If you don’t know something we will explain it to you as your friend would. The style will be very different from classroom lectures from a pedestal!

We will suggest several practical problems and let you choose one you wish to solve. We will work with you to solve it. If you cannot teach us something that is a critical part of the solution or cannot solve the problem, we will suggest how you can dig deeper. We will suggest how you can experiment to discover the truth for yourself. If you solved the problem, we will suggest ways to improve the solution or some other problems that you might find interesting.

You will not be ranked higher or lower than other fellow students. But, you will be considered unique because your journey of exploration will be different from everyone’s!!

How can I participate?

Check Get Involved