I have heard that with age comes new skills, and as I grew older and wiser and closer to the fifties, I did acquire new skills. Now I can laugh, cough and even sneeze at the same time.
Certainly these are not skills which I can boast about apart from mentioning in a lighter vein as I did, but I certainly learnt today that there was at least one skill which I honestly missed out acquiring during my school days.
The Abacus and the art of counting with it, as an amazing skill is what I realised when I was called to witness the little kids in action at the 13th National SIP Abacus and Mental Arithmetic Competition held at the CIDCO Convention Center, Vashi, Navi Mumbai.
The major highlight of the event was the participation of over 3500 kids of the age group of 7-12 years from 400 schools spread across 22 different states of the country which enthralled me with their amazing skills on calculating and computing by using a simple device that consists of beads that they move up and down on a series of sticks within a frame.
The little kids were encouraged by Dr. Sanjay Deshmukh, Vice-Chancellor, Mumbai University who along with other dignitaries present mentioned and highlighted the fact that every child is unique and different and hence children should never be compared with other children but only with their own past performance.
Till a day before, if I were to be asked whether it is possible for a human being to solve 280 arithmetic sums in 11 minutes flat, my answer would have been in a categorical negative. I realised how illiterate I am, when I observed these kids showcasing their arithmetic prowess with the aid of this simple device.
Another significant thing that I learnt watching these kids breaking the fear of math as just a myth is that the abacus itself doesn’t calculate; it’s simply a device for helping a human mind to calculate by remembering what has been counted. After the first level, as the kids graduated to the next levels of the competition, the mechanical device in the form of the counting frame was discarded and the kids were visualising the counts in their minds while surfing through the complex arithmetic problems with absolute ease.
Founded in 1997 by the visionary Malaysian entrepreneur Mr. Kelvin Tham, the SIP Abacus programme is an international program currently successfully adopted in around 12 countries and having benefitted over 5.50 lakh students across 900 learning centres.
The SIP Academy India was started in 2003 by another visionary intellectual, Mr. Dinesh Victor, a man of few words but surely someone who considers education as one of the most important tools to realise personal and professional goals. With an initial vision of just 2 institutes while making a humble beginning, thirteen years back, the academy has grown leaps and bounds with a strong network in over 275 cities and towns spread across 22 states with more than 750 learning centres in the country today.
Mr. Victor is ably supported by a team of passionate leaders with invaluable experience behind them and a branch of the dedicated course instructors working across the franchises spread across the country, ensuring absolute and uncompromised delivery of quality education in the same way in each of the learning centres, thus benefitting over 4.80 lakh students so far.
Understanding that each kid is unique with a potential to be a winner, SIP Academy India follows the fun learning methodology keeping the child in mind and has successfully developed various world-class programmes. Their methodology has ensured that the objective is achieved successfully of not only making the child excel in academics, but also in other walks of life and thus empowering them with the required key skills of creativity and innovation, critical thinking, communication, collaboration and confidence with the active involvement of parents, teachers and the child.
With its headquarters in Chennai and a wide network spread across the length and breadth of the country, SIP Academy India is making a significant impact on the mental potential of the children with its various learning programs. An ISO:9001:2008 certified organisation, the holding of five Limca Book of Records is just another feather in its cap.
Well on its way to achieving greater heights, I am absolutely confident that you can count on them to create child prodigies with razor sharp instincts.