Universe Simplified Foundation (USF)

Partner From
07/01/2017 - On Going
USF logo

https://universesimplified.org/


Supported by: Wipro

Universe Simplified Foundation

About the organization

Universe Simplified Foundation (USF), a Mumbai-based nonprofit, is setting up STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) based Innovation hubs within schools and community centers for economically challenged children in semi-rural areas.

Vision Statement: We envision a world where education empowers students and communities to find innovative solutions to real life challenges.

Mission Statement: To make hands-on, inquiry driven STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) education accessible to everyone.

Location

The organization works in villages along Kalyan, Murbad Road, Thane District, Maharashtra

Program updates

The problem we are trying to address: The Indian education system is still based on rote learning and textbooks. USF is addressing the need to make STEM education accessible to all which will not only give children relevant skills but also the ability to apply them to real-life challenges. Such a mandate gains added relevance in light of two crucial factors:

 

  • There are numerous growing challenges around us such as garbage, water-related issues, pollution, etc., which will need a generation of problem solvers who can leverage science and technology to find solutions.
  • The face of future jobs is also changing. AI-powered robots and programs are on course to be so sophisticated that as many as 400 to 800 million jobs are predicted to be lost by 2030. The skills that will then be most relevant in the future are collaboration and problem-solving.

 

Challenges: Bringing inquiry-driven, STEM education to government schools in India is a big challenge for us, given that such schools are very under-resourced. Traditional innovation hubs have a high setup and annual operating cost and need the schools to have a permanent room. There is also a lack of infrastructure regarding IT in government schools.

Our solution: Our solution for making STEM accessible to all is to be a STEM research and development organization, which relies on three strategies:

  • Bring the cost of implementing STEM-based innovation hubs as low as possible so that the adoption and feasibility rates go higher;
  • Remove the need for a permanent room to be set up as a maker space;
  • Support inquiry-driven facilitation through worksheets and documents thereby making facilitation easier.

Learnings and Challenges from FY 22 – 23: Organization should first be made ready for scale and then scaled up; Culture and people are as important as funds for an organization if not more.

Plan for the next 1 – 3 years

To stabilize the growth phase at USF taking the current number of students from 1,500 to around 2,000 over the next two to three years, while keeping the focus on strengthening the program and building the culture and second line of leadership in the organization. Also, to evolve the curriculum based on the data from internal assessments.