EDUCATION innovator Dr Rashmi Mantri has been presented with a business achievement honour at the Inspiring Indian Women (IIW) She Inspires awards.
Born in India and settled in Glasgow, Dr Rashmi Mantri is a multi-business manager, IT specialist and educator with a PhD in computer science – as well as the founder of the world’s first online abacus maths learning application.
Being honoured with the Best Entrepreneur award at the IIW She Inspires Awards was doubly significant for Rashmi – not only highlighting her business achievements, but also her commitment to women’s empowerment. As the head of a “99.99%” women-driven workforce, Rashmi continues to provide mentorship to women across all fields.
The annual IIW She Inspires Awards celebrates the work and achievements of women of Indian origin across the world. This year, more than 150 nominations were received for categories including Community Spirit, Remarkable Mentor and Champion of the Earth, followed by two rounds of judging.
The awards ceremony, hosted by MP Bob Blackman, took place on May 23, 2022, at Portcullis House on the Parliamentary Estate in Westminster.
Rashmi said: “Women are inspiring in every area; they are very strong. So, when a woman is recognised for her achievements, she can definitely inspire others.”
The 45-year-old started her career as a software developer and IT trainer, making a shift towards youth education after a “life changing” moment when she noticed gaps in her son’s mathematical ability.
One day when Rashmi’s son Dhruv was in primary 5, she happened to ask him a simple arithmetic sum, and was “shocked and disappointed” when he couldn’t tell her the answer. Rashmi set out to help her son by teaching him an alternative arithmetic method, using the abacus model she had learned in her own youth.
She said: “It struck me that his inability to compute a simple sum reflected the actual situation of maths skills in a great many children. I decided to change the way he looked at numbers.”
It worked. The improvement in Dhruv’s arithmetic skills was so notable that his school arranged an assembly to share the abacus technique. In response to a growing demand for abacus tuition from fellow parents, Rashmi started an after-school tuition programme, founding the British Youth International College (BYITC) in 2015.
Rashmi has since developed, and self-funded, several youth and adult education programmes – covering mathematics, English, programming, and, most recently, cyber security. And from what started as in-person classes in Glasgow and Edinburgh, the BYITC has now grown to provide online courses to thousands of students worldwide.
For Rashmi, the success of the BYITC programmes is not reflected in grades, but in the confidence instilled in young people through these research-driven learning methods.
She said: “With the Abacus learning application, kids can learn to calculate faster than with a calculator. It’s not just about maths, I call it a brain development tool.”
“There is nothing better than providing an education to someone. I am blessed that I am helping children learn new things.”