2014: A Year of Collaboration and Learning

December 16, 2014 by Ashish Dhawan, Central Square Foundation

Dear Friend,

As we come to the end of 2014, I look back on a year of collaboration and learning with partners, and engagement with governments at the national, state and municipal levels. Together, we are building the continuum of action from innovation at the community level to reform at the policy level.

We started this year by joining hands with Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Omidyar Network and ARK to create The Education Alliance, an organisation focused on enabling public-private partnerships (PPP) in school education. The Education Alliance is supporting policymakers in South Delhi Municipal Corporation, Corporation of Chennai and Government of Madhya Pradesh to develop PPP frameworks that will help the Government attract high-quality non-profit school operators, provide them financial sustainability by reimbursing them at government cost per child, while holding them accountable for student achievement.

The Government of Himachal Pradesh invited us to join their Project Management Unit for State Learning Achievement Survey (SLAS) along with Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Educational Initiatives and Learning Links Foundation. We are working together to strengthen the implementation of their survey and support them in using the survey results for education decision making. As part of this engagement, we jointly facilitated a vision workshop that helped the Government frame overarching objectives for implementing large-scale student assessments.

We are partnering with IIM-Ahmedabad, Accountability Initiative and Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy on a “State of the Nation- Implementation of RTE Section 12(1)(c)” report to analyse the comparative performance of different states on implementation of Section 12(1)(c) of the Right to Education (RTE) Act. This section of the RTE mandates reservation of 25 percent seats in unaided private schools for children from economically and socially disadvantaged sections. This provision has the potential to transform the lives of over 16 million children across the country, and improve accountability and governance of the private school system. The report will also share best practices from states that have taken the lead in implementation of this provision and address issues that Governments are facing in design and implementation. We are actively engaging with Government and civil society organisations for taking our learnings on the implementation of this clause to states across the country.

We entered into our first large-scale systemic transformation project with the South Delhi Municipal Corporation. We worked closely with the Chairman of the SDMC Education Committee, Mr. Ashish Sood, to develop SDMC’s Education Vision 2017. We continue to support SDMC in developing a plan for operationalising this vision.

The Companies Act, 2013, which mandates CSR spend for companies of a certain size, presents a huge opportunity for corporates to catalyse improvements in the quality of education through their CSR investments. To guide companies on how they can strategically invest their CSR resources to improve quality of education, we launched a report in association with FICCI titled “Investment in Learning: Promoting Quality School Education through Corporate Social Responsibility”.

We continue to invest in innovate programmes in education that have the potential for scale. Over the course of the last quarter we have made commitments in the following areas:

  • We have deepened our commitment to school leadership by investing in Creatnet Education (CE). This initiative is focused on building the capacity of 1,000 school principals in Delhi government schools in partnership with Delhi State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT)
  • Recognising the dearth of high quality educational resources in local Indian languages, we partnered with Khan Academy to launch their personalised learning platform in Hindi. This platform will offer Maths tutorials and exercises, mapped to NCERT curriculum for students of Classes 5-8.

With so much happening in the education space, we recognise the need to keep all our stakeholders informed of various education developments in the country. Towards this we launched the CSF EdMonitor, a weekly roundup of news on school education in India. Please subscribe hereto receive the CSF EdMonitor in your inbox every Friday.

To accommodate our growing team, which has doubled this year, we have moved into a new office space. We would welcome a visit from you.

On behalf of the team at Central Square Foundation, I wish you all a Happy and Prosperous 2015. We hope that the new year will bring with it new hopes and ambitions for all our children.

Warm Regards
Ashish dhawan signature
Ashish Dhawan