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Pragyan 2011 - Sugata Mitra


Discoverer of Hole-in-the-Wall, Academic behind ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, Chief Scientist, NIIT

About the Speaker:

When Dr. Mitra’s team carved out a ‘hole in the wall’ of a slum and put an easily accessible computer there, he discovered a path-breaking phenomenon. With no prior experience, the children living in the slum learnt to use the computer on their own without guidance. All they needed was a little entertainment and stimuli. This experiment revolutionised the face of Education as-usual. Dr. Mitra’s work challenged the conventional.

Pragyan’11 presents Prof. Sugata Mitra, a man who has not only been exploring the unmapped terrain between human and machine learning and achieving extraordinary results but has worked in a plethora of fields, transforming concepts and innovating along the way.

The ‘Hole in the Wall’ project inspired the Oscar winning movie ‘Slumdog Millionaire’.  The experiment turned out so successful that companies came in to support this endeavour and this project is being carried out nation-wide.Since the 1970s, Professor Mitra’s publications and work has resulted in training and development of nearly a million young Indians, amongst them some of the poorest children in the world. Consequently, he has changed people’s lives.

Dr Mitra is a Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University in the UK and heads research as Chief Scientist Emeritus with NIIT Limited, India. His academic achievements and career has been incredible. His 30 years of research has spanned a variety of disciplines, inducing the University of London to describe him as a polymath.

He was amongst the first in the world to show that simulated neural networks can help decipher the mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease.He set up India’s first local area network based newspaper publishing system. This led to the invention of LAN based database publishing and he created the “Yellow Pages” industry in India and Bangladesh.After a Ph.D. in Solid State Physics from the IIT, Delhi, he went on to research energy storage systems, leading to a new design for Zinc-Chlorine batteries that is now in use by the military.

Dr. Mitra is a winner of "Man of Peace Award" from Together for Peace Foundation, USA, and "Social Innovation Award"from Institute of Social Inventions, UK. He was recently conferred with the "Dewang Mehta Award" by the Government of India.

Be there this Pragyan to witness a true educator and innovator.

Click here to View Dr. Mitra's TED TALK.

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