Aakash Saraf, a class 11th student from Pathways School Gurgaon, has launched a website, Fearless Math School, to help underprivileged school girls from age five to eleven to overcome their fear for four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Besides, he provides interactive internet sessions through Zoom and Google Meet to teachers and students in NGOs and schools to engage them and refine their skills in STEM.
Driven by his passion to do something for female students, Aakash says he always wondered why the gender discrepancy in STEM was so vast.
His research revealed that women often withhold themselves from achieving maximum potential in these subjects due to the theoretical ‘fear’ they have towards it as well as other social pressures.
“Taking this initiative forward is just another small step in the journey to reduce the prominent gender imbalance in the STEM community,” Aakash, said.
He has been working on this project for the past ten months and till now he has provided skill-enhancing sessions to two schools, Maanas Shiksha in Gurgaon and Vivek Ananda Public School in Hyderabad.
Speaking about the experience, Rupa Mahajan, Principal, Maanas Shiksha said, “We thank Aakash for conducting the maths session for our teachers at Maanas Shiksha. We were always aware that there are issues engaging girls in maths at early stages. Aakash’s techniques certainly provided a new dimension for addressing this challenge. We will continue to work with him to implement his techniques that will enhance participation in maths from our school children.”
Aakash uploads interactive videos and worksheets on the website to present his ideas and research as an educational tool in the simplest possible manner which makes learning a playful experience.
“The website consists of resources that can be used by students across many regions. Furthermore, the website presents reports based on the interaction of teachers and students,” Akash said.
In the process, Aakash experienced several barriers the educators and students face while helping them break free of their theoretical ‘fear’ of math. This included keeping students engaged, motivated and exercising a persistent work ethic and establishing a relationship with the students.
Aakash plans to expand and reach a larger audience. He firmly believes that this is a small step that is necessary to bring about a change in society and to achieve gender equality in the field of STEM.