ABOUT THE MILLENNIUM FELLOWSHIP - CLASS OF 2021

United Nations Academic Impact and MCN are proud to partner on the Millennium Fellowship. In 2021, over 25,000 young leaders on 2,000+ campuses across 153 nations applied to join the Class of 2021. 136 campuses worldwide (just 6%) were selected to host the 2,000+ Millennium Fellows. The Class of 2021 is bold, innovative, and inclusive.

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UNITED NATIONS ACADEMIC IMPACT AND MCN PROUDLY PRESENT ABHAY GOVIND BHAT, A MILLENNIUM FELLOW FOR THE CLASS OF 2021.

PES University | Bengaluru, India | Advancing SDG 4 & UNAI 5

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" The Millennium Fellowship is an exemplary platform to engage and interact with young leaders from all around the world. The diversity and the exposure this program offers will not only elevate our projects, but give it the opportunity to make a global impact. I am extremely thrilled to be connected with like minds, determined to change the world for the better. "

Millennium Fellowship Project: Out of Syllabus

Out of Syllabus, initially conceived in the Covid-19 days, was imagined to be an online platform where people from all economic backgrounds would have the opportunity to learn topics that are simply never taught at any point in time, be it school or college. Unless one takes it up in their own interest, these topics would remain in the shadows, some even as taboos. Mental health, Sexual Education, Basic Laws, Finance and Taxes were some subjects.
But unfortunately, this conceptualised online platform had its fair share of problems. Primarily, India is a developing country. People from lower economic backgrounds do not get access to internet connections and these online platforms easily. There was no way to effectively reach out to that vital demographic without the help of an established procedure. Thus, from the online platform, an offline course was born. India had slowly started vaccinating its colossal population, but schools were far from being opened.
But time is not the main thing. It’s the only thing. It was necessary to utilise this time, even though teaching was not technically feasible. Talking to people already in the field of Education for the underprivileged and gaining their insights was very helpful. When teaching a class of 8th-10th grade students, it’s almost imperative to keep them engaged in class for any productive learning. Children from the ages of 14-16 prioritize interactive and hands-on learning over strict textbook learning. So instead of trying to suppress that spirit, it would be more effective to embrace it.
Finance and Taxes was the first topic to be considered, finding its relevance in the Covid-19 affected economic seesaw. The initial sessions were to be followed by activities and games that not only reinforced that learning, but kept the students entertained.
The first session would serve as an introduction to the importance of money handling and prudent behaviour, why savings are important, and investment even more so. Subsequent classes would include more topics, exploring the different aspects of Economics and Finance.
And with our methodology being strictly at odds with exams and the rote learning many of us have been subjected to, testing whether the concepts have been understood by the kids turned out to be quite the problem to crack. But after several rounds of brainstorming, Monopoly and the Game of Life had the answer. An interactive game where the students, divided into groups of 3, would have to face hypothetical scenarios given to them and are expected to use the financial knowledge learnt to make correct decisions.
Initially, the groups are all presented with jobs of their choice with varied salaries, but with the respective risks accompanying them. As the game begins, the students will have the option of choosing various insurance strategies. Once their steady income and security options are ready, the game begins. Real-life scenarios are presented to them such as losing jobs, financial crashes, weddings, etc. The players will be encouraged to invest their money in various locations such as stocks, gold and fixed deposits, but will be warned of the risk/reward for each beforehand. They are expected to make the right decisions based on logical economic thinking. This way, this interactive activity embraces the whole course.
Even after designing the course, quite a few wrinkles were to be ironed out. Primarily, this general course could not be extrapolated and used for children of all economic backgrounds. It has to remain sensitive and relatable to each class of our society and modified accordingly to have a large-scale positive effect.
As of now, nearby local government schools have been contacted and these sessions will take place immediately when the attendance in these schools rises. Teachers seem to be really excited about this idea, particularly how the teaching will actually be done.
Before the end of this Fellowship, Out of Syllabus hopes to be able to teach in at least a few local schools, and gather more insights as to how education on untouched topics can be improved, and made accessible to everyone.

About the Millennium Fellow

Abhay Bhat is a simple guy with big dreams. Passionate about Neurobiology and the Cognitive Sciences, he hopes to work toward the perfect blend of mind and machine, and all the possibilities it holds. Abhay also aspires to use his skills and passion in a purposeful approach and hopes to influence the world positively. He is really excited about the prospects of life, especially in a world we all live in as one.