Breaking stereotypes, Malvika Raj Joshi of Mumbai has made it to the reputed Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) without a std 10th or 12th certificate. What she owns is hardwork, talent and confidence in herself.
The 17-year-old is an extremely dexterous computer programmer and her story in interesting for more than one reason. Malvika opted out of formal education not because she couldn’t afford it but for happiness. She has bagged a scholarship from the MIT and will study Bachelor Of Science. What will interest you further is that this comes after she completed MSc equivalent from Chennai Mathematical Institute.
She has been accepted by the MIT because of her medals at International Olympiad For Informatics which is commonly known as Programming Olympiad. The institute accepts students who are medal winners at International Olympiads. Malvika has won two silvers and one bronze at the International Programming Olympiad.
Malvika was looking to get admission in a reputed technology institute and wanted to research computer science. She could not get admission in reputed Indian institutes in Indian Institute of Technology because these institutes need a std 12th certificate for admission. However, she was allowed by the Chennai Mathematical Institute (CMI) where she did an MSc level course because he knowledge was on par with BSc needs.
“When I started unschooling four years back, I explored many different subjects. Programming was one of them. I found it very interesting and gave it more time to it than to other subjects,” Malvika says.
Malvika’s mother Supriya was running an NGO working for Cancer patients. She met many students who were undergoing Cancer treatment and their only need was happiness. She thought that her children need happiness more that formal education. It was difficult to convince Malvika’s father, Raj, to take this step, but she did it quoting the happiness of Malvika.
“We are a middle-class family. Malvika was doing well in school but somehow I felt that my children need to be happy. Happiness is more important than conventional knowledge,” says Supriya. The decision no way was an easy one. “In India, people are still not very aware of the term “homeschooled” or “unschooled” as it is commonly referred.”
It also took some time to convince Malvika’s father, an engineer who runs his own business.
“My husband Raj wasn’t convinced initially as it was a risky proposition. The kids won’t have a 10th or 12th standard certificate and there was bound to be fear. I quit my NGO job and designed an academic curriculum for Malvika. I created a simulation (classroom like situation) at home. The confidence I had as a mother was that I am capable of imparting knowledge to my daughter.”
But it worked and wonderfully so. Her story will inspire many young Indians who want to ditch formal education and pave theor own path.