Associate Director

Position: Associate Director, State Reform

Founded in 2012, Central Square Foundation is a non-profit philanthropic foundation working with the vision of ensuring quality school education for all children in India. We are driven by a mission to transform the school education system in India with a focus on improving learning outcomes for all children, especially from low-income communities.

Over the past six years, we have closely engaged with leading practitioners, foundations and think tanks in India and around the world on different elements of building high-quality school education. We have supported social entrepreneurs, worked on generating evidence, established collaborative platforms for knowledge building and provided strategic & implementation support to Central and State governments in India.

In the past one year, we have consolidated all our learnings and prioritized on ensuring that all children in India achieve foundational learning by class 3 i.e. attain basic proficiency in literacy and numeracy. We believe that achieving foundational learning is a gateway skill since a child who does not achieve foundational learning in early years is unlikely to catch up in later grades.This is impactful at both an individual and system level as it is directly correlated to increased workforce participation and better life outcomes. It is a key lever in pulling up the entire system’s performance.

In order to achieve this ambitious goal, our strategy looks at this issue holistically, including informing policy, improving classroom instruction, partnering with governments to scale programs, filling gaps in research and incubating high-quality organizations.

About Our Founder – Ashish Dhawan

Ashish Dhawan is one of India’s leading philanthropists and a key voice for education reform in the country. In his corporate stint, he founded and led one of India’s leading private equity firms, ChrysCapital, before shifting tracks about 6 years ago to focus on India’s education transformation. He founded CSF with the mission to improve learning levels of students from low-income communities.

In 2014, he spearheaded the launch of India’s first liberal arts university, Ashoka University, a philanthropic effort of over forty leaders in education and industry.

Ashish currently serves on the board of several other non-profits including Bharti Foundation,Teach For India, Akanksha Foundation, Centre for Civil Society, Janaagraha, India School Leadership Institute, 3.2.1 Education Foundation.

Role Summary:

CSF has adopted a system reform approach to strengthening foundational learning and our State engagements are at the core of our efforts. We partner with State governments to design and scale programs based on our learnings and research.

To begin with, CSF conducts a thorough diagnostic exercise to identify and prioritize critical interventions necessary for improving the quality of foundational literacy and numeracy. We support the State on design and implementation of these interventions, while also strengthening governance and other key enablers that are critical for reform. These interventions focus on academics and pedagogy, while also improving the accountability structures. They make the Education system more accountable to outcomes and performance.

Our State team(s) front-end these efforts, build relationships with Government stakeholders and support the implementation process in States. We work in close partnership with the Education Department(s) and the political leadership to build system capacity and truly embed the program within the system. The State team, as a horizontal, works with all other teams at CSF to contextualize and implement their solutions in the State. The Associate Director, State Reform will be required to work in close collaboration with teams working on different issue areas and lead these efforts across our partner State(s).

Our State engagement work has also benefitted from advise of key experts like Luis Crouch (Chief Technical Officer, RTI International), Prof. Karthik Muralidharan (Professor -Economics, University of California, San Diego and co-chair of the education programme, JPAL), Dhir Jhingran (Founder Director- Language and Learning Foundation, ex-Principal Secretary of Education, Assam) and Jayshree Oza (Founder Director, Centre for Education Management and Research).

S/he will join a high caliber leadership team with a collective experience of over 70 years working in both corporate and development sector organizations like BCG, Accenture, Citibank,Dasra, NITI Aayog, and National Skill Development Corporation.

The role reports to the Managing Directors at CSF.

Key responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Lead CSF’s State Strategy:

    • Design CSF’s overall state engagement (from creating and contextualizing an education program to scaling it in partnership with the government) and synthesize learnings from research and national & international best practices in implementation.
    • Build platforms and processes for smooth coordination and alignment between all internal and external stakeholders (advisors, technical experts, funders,implementation partners, vendors, and Government stakeholders across all levels of hierarchy).
  • Manage existing State engagements:

    • Provide supervision, oversight, and support to State teams for implementing State reform
    • Guide the State teams in preparing strategic roadmaps and implementation plans with goals and milestones; set-up review and/or evaluation processes to track progress and correct course.
  • Build relationships and set-up new partnerships with States:

    • Set-up and manage State partnerships, develop and manage relationships with key senior officials, influencers and policymakers at the state level.
  • Support CSF strategy and Team-Building:

    • Lead and manage a high-quality team and effectively break down workstreams and ensure high outcome-orientation
    • Set up well-functioning Program Management Units through internal staffing and/or grants
    • Actively build internal capabilities and support team members by sharing learnings, providing feedback, and ensuring their training and development.

Required Qualifications, Skills and Abilities:

  • Master’s degree or equivalent in relevant fields, including management, economics, or public policy.
  • 12+years of relevant work experience.
  • Prior exposure to either the education sector, public sector, development sector, or consulting is desirable.
  • Experience in growing and managing team members
  • Experience in designing (and iterating) on large-scale programs is a must. A strong background in project management (ideally with the Government) is also highly desirable.
  • Demonstrated interest in working in the social sector.
  • Excellent leadership skills, including the ability to manage multiple projects at a time and diverse teams.
  • Strong skills in Operations, and an ability to think about how different elements in a State machinery can be brought together.

Personal Characteristics and Desired Qualities:

  • Ability to align multiple stakeholders and build platforms for collaboration and coordination.
  • Passion for working in reforming school education in India.
  • Ability to think creatively, willing to take risks to experiment with new ideas and the ability to turn ideas into action.
  • Excellent people management skills, with the ability to develop and motivate teams to work towards a common goal.
  • High ability to collaborate and actively listen to others, understanding and valuing others’ views.
  • Operating style suited to working in a small-organization setting, where teamwork and resourcefulness are highly valued.

Location:

This role will be based out of the CSF office in Delhi.

Important: In the first year, the AD-State would be expected to travel extensively to Gandhinagar, Gujarat and another focus State. This is important because we believe that a firsthand experience in leading a complex education reform initiative is critical for long-term success in this role.

Compensation:

Remuneration will be competitive with Indian philanthropy pay scales and will depend upon the candidate’s experience levels.

Apply:

Interested candidates can click on the Application Form and fill the required details in the form.

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