A British woman of Indian heritage thought a bit of ancient instruction might help her son tackle a modern problem.
Growing up in India, a young Dr. Rashmi Mantri used an abacus to help her visually comprehend mathematics. After noticing her son Dhruv was struggling with math, she started employing that same ancient tool to help him after school.
In just six days he started to show progress with the abacus and would go on to become a regular whizz kid with numbers, with even his classmates’ parents reaching out for help.
Dhruv has now landed an apprenticeship at international beverage firm Diageo and said he reckons his teachers would be shocked by the career choice considering his difficulties with math.
“Dhruv was in [fifth-grade] when I started to notice he was struggling with simple [arithmetic,]” said Dhruv’s mom Dr. Mantri. “I would ask him something like 35 – 13 and he couldn’t do it.”
“I never thought I would teach him using an abacus, but it was something I used as a child in India and it was always helpful. Within six days I started to notice a difference and see results.”
So dramatic was the turnaround, that school staff asked him to perform with the abacus at an assembly, where some parents even came to ask for advice on using it for their kids.
In 2016 Dr. Mantri launched the British Youth International College (BYITC) and is now using her abacus tutoring to teach to thousands of kids around the world.
IT specialist Dr. Mantri said the humble abacus can be used for calculations into the trillions and kids enjoy learning on it because it’s like a game.
“I decided to change the way he looked at numbers,” she said. “An abacus is a tried and tested method, the Egyptians used them for building the pyramids.”
“They become a playing tool for younger children, it feels like a game. I think the success comes because children can touch and feel an abacus and visualize them.”
By the age of 12, Dhruv was giving online cyber security seminars and is now pursuing a career in data science and analytics. During the four-year apprenticeship, he will spend one day a week studying Data Science and Artificial Intelligence at Glasgow Caledonian University.
“He is so confident now and I am so proud,” she said, with Dhruv adding “I don’t think my teachers would have guessed that I would be following a career in data science at that time.”
Hard to argue with the results, not least of which the Pyramids.