“What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge, not knowledge in pursuit of the child.”
This popular quote by George Bernard Shaw could be one of the motivations behind Malvika’s mother’s decision to withdraw her from formal learning after the 7th standard but which has landed her an MIT Scholarship.
Malvika Raj Joshi was doing very well in school at Dadar Parsee Youth Assembly School in Mumbai when her mother suddenly decided to pull her out of school.
Her mother, Supriya, worked for an NGO that cared for cancer patients. Seeing children in the 8th or 9th standard being affected by the disease affected her deeply.
This prompted her decision to withdraw her daughter from school. She said she wanted her daughter to be happier, rather than just accumulate knowledge.
Her mother went on to quit her job and started tutoring Malvika at home. She simulated a classroom and made academic courses for her daughter.
This turned out to be the right decision as Malvika became happier and more passionate about acquiring knowledge.
She explored different subjects but paid more attention to Programming. ”I found programming interesting and I used to give more time to it than to other subjects, so, I started liking it at that time” she said.
Malvika was able to get into an MSc course in Chennai Mathematical Institute and has represented India at the International Programming Olympiads, three times.
Chennai Mathematical Institute’s Madhavan Mukund, who is also National coordinator of Indian Computing Olympiad commented on Malvika’s MIT acceptance. He said
There is absolutely no question that Malvika’s admission to MIT is based on her superlative achievements at IOI. It is a credit to MIT’s flexibility that they can offer admission to a student who demonstrates excellent intellectual potential despite having no formal high school credentials
The only sad twist to Malvika’s story is that she dreamed to attend the IIT institutes in India. Her application was rejected because of the strict rules about passing the 12th standard board exams.
Massachusetts Institute Of Technology (MIT), however, accepts students who have excelled in Olympiads.