Meeting of minds

A new business oriented reality TV show is helping students gain more practical experience in analysing and dealing with issues of real time organization
By Madhushala Senaratne, Pix by Sanka Vidanagama

Tasks, tasks and more tasks… Yep, round two of Pathbreakers Aspirations Conquest starts this week and there's more in store for everyone. Presented by Aspirations Education (Pvt) Ltd and produced by Vanguard Management Services (Pvt.) Ltd / ETV, this business oriented reality TV show is designed to help students gain a more practical experience in analysing and dealing with issues of real time organisation.

And for those of you who missed it, the last five weeks (episodes) saw 50 very talented school children competing in a series of tasks and challenges that tested their knowledge and skills, including their entrepreneurial skills, general knowledge, team working and leadership skills as well as their athletic skills, Each week featured a group of 10 students battling it out in teams, at the end of which, two were selected for the second round.

Now, only 10 are left. They are – Thamina Adnan (15) from Ilma International Girl's School, Kishan Gunawardena (18), Radhika de Silva (18) and Vinura Welgama (15) from Royal College, Kushan Felix (17) and Dreno Mortier (17) from St. Peter's College, Fahmy Rahman (18) from Gateway College, Muditha Mahindaratne (18) from Ananda College, Pamith Kodikara (19) from Nalanda College and Clyde Rodrigo (18) from St. Joseph's College.

We caught up with the 10 finalists as well as some members of the Aspirations Education team who told us about the (very interesting) journey so far.

"These tasks were fun, apart from the make-up. Aaaaand, we learnt a lot", say quite a few of the boys. Of course they were. After all, where else would you get to run around in front of a camera, solving little puzzles and quizzes, wearing layers of make-up all day? Ah, the agony (for the boys).

But, it was a good experience, they are quick to add, saying they are certainly looking forward to more.
"We learnt how to work with others as a team and also made a lot of new friends. It was very challenging and a new experience for most of us, because we've not participated in events such as these," says Muditha, Kishan and Clyde.

"There were instances where we had to guess," says Dreno, adding that this was another benefit of the programme. Like he says, you can't just guess. Your guess has got to be right. So it involves a lot of thinking, analysing and debating possible answers. The boys say they also learnt some other very valuable lessons. "You've got to think well before you do something. You should never rush into tasks. It's not always wise to play the hero."

The only girl in the second round, Thamina says she's looking forward to working with the boys. "I wish there was another girl, but it's good to be working with boys. It's different," she says, adding that coming into the second round was not something she expected.

"We also learnt what it's like being in front of the camera, which was another really good experience," she adds. Chairman of Aspirations Education, Ajith Abeysekera noted that there was much enthusiasm among the students. "This was something different to what they usually do in schools. They had to work with people they've not known before.

There was a lot the students were able to gain from such a programme," he said, adding that the programme helped them gain more self-confidence and also showcase their abilities and realise their aspirations.

Manager Marketing and Business Development of Aspirations Education, Nadeen Kumarasinghe said that in the second round every episode would be based on a theme such as science, mathematics, politics and general knowledge. This would be the ultimate challenge for the students as it tests their competitiveness and intelligence. The main sponsor for the event is Navitas, while the print media partner is The Sunday Times. Pathbreakers Aspirations Conquest is telecast on ETV and Derana TV.

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