Mumbai: 17 Years Old unschooled ‘Malvika Joshi’ Makes It To MIT :- Malvika Raj Joshi 17-year-old does not have the certificate of a class X or XII, but she has made it to the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), thanks to her computer programming talent.
MIT has provided scholarship to the Mumbai teenager. She is pursuing her Bachelor of Science degree after getting a seat for being a three-time medal winner at International Olympiad of Informatics or commonly known as Programming Olympiad. She had won two silver medal and one bronze medal at the competition.
The MIT has a provision for accepting students who are medal winners at various Olympiads (Computer, Physics or Maths). It was Malvika’s medals that ensured that she can achieve her dream of pursuing research work in her favourite subject – Computer Science.
During an emailed interaction from Boston, Malvika recalls those early days.
She says that When I started unschooling, that was 4 years back, I studied many different subjects. Programming subject was one of them. I found programming interesting. So I gave more time to the Programming than to other subjects.
Malvika found it difficult to get admission in IIT because it has strict rules as one needs to pass class XII exams.
National Co-ordinator of Indian Computing Olympiad – Madhavan Mukund says that there is absolutely no question that the admission of Malvika to MIT is based on her achievements at IOI. It is a credit to the flexibility of MIT that they can offer admission to a student who does excellent work despite having no formal high school certificates.
He added that this is possible only for a student whose academic achievements are outstanding, which is the case with the performance of Malvika at IOI.
When her mother decided to pull her out of school, Malvika was in class VII at Dadar Parsee Youth Assembly School in Mumbai. She was doing exceedingly well in academics.
Th mother of Malvika – Supriya told PTI explaining her decision that we are a middle class family. Malvika was doing well in school but somehow I felt that my children need to be happy. Malvika has a sister also named as Radha. Happiness is more important than conventional knowledge.
Her mother said that I was working with an NGO that takes care of cancer patients. I would see students who study in 8th or 9th class being affected by cancer. It affected me deeply and I decided that my daughters need to be happy.
The decision was not an easy one. People are still not aware about the term home schooled or unschooled in India as it is commonly referred.
It also took sometime to convince the father of Malvika – Raj who is an engineer and runs his own business.
She said that initially my husband Raj was not convinced as it was a risky proposition. The kids would not have the certificates of 10th or 12th standard and there was bound to be fear.
She further added that I quit my NGO job and designed an academic curriculum for Malvika at home. I created a simulation at home. The confidence I had as a mother was that I am capable of imparting knowledge in my daughter’s.
The proud mother recalls that Suddenly I saw that my daughter was so happy. She was learning more than ever – from the time she woke up to the time she was off to sleep. Knowledge became a passion.
She was among the top four students who represented India at the Programming Olympiad for three consecutive years.
Madhavan said that during the past three years she spent extensive periods at CMI to acquire the background in algorithms and mathematics that she needed to excel at Informatics Olympiad.
He said that she had never studied matrices. She was never intimidated even when faced with a mountain of things to learn, and went about achieving her goals very methodically.
When Supriya was asked if more parents want to know about her daughter Malvika, she laughs and she says that they are all interested in knowing how to get admission into MIT. I just tell them that we never aimed for her admission in MIT. I tell parents to understand what their children like.