2016, the year that was: Education

February 02, 2017 by Ashish Dhawan, Central Square Foundation

It is with great pleasure that I share Central Square Foundation’s (CSF) Annual Report for the year 2015-16. This has been the year of consultation where the major focus was to scale our efforts across thematic areas of education. Our annual report is a compilation of the work being done by us at the ecosystem level and by our grantees at the grassroots. It has been a landmark year where we continued to support 23 organisations, explored new thematic areas, deepened existing partnerships and rolled out new government engagements, both at central and state level.

Organisational Initiatives

As we begin the New Year at CSF, I want to share with you some significant milestones that we have achieved in the recent quarter. One of our major highlights was hosting EduSquare, a two day residential convening for all CSF partners in November 2016. A first of its kind event – EduSquare brought all our partners together to learn, interact and collaborate with each other. The sessions conducted at the event, co-created with our partners, included a wide range of themes such as vision setting, fundraising, government engagement, building organisational culture, along with dedicated time for networking. We hope to make this an annual event, thereby creating a community of continuous learning in the education ecosystem. We captured some of the action from the event in a short video – Take a look!

CSF is also planning to launch an Entrepreneur-in-Residence programme in the year 2017 which will focus on engaging with promising entrepreneurs to solve some of the biggest problems in education reform. These individuals will be incubated within CSF for the first year, after which they will be supported to become full-fledged organisations in their own right.

Governmental Initiatives

In the last quarter we achieved another milestone by having more than 90% of the District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs) submit their data on the portal Prashikshak. Along with our central government engagements, CSF started collaborating more actively with state governments including Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka on various initiatives. We saw a rise in number of states that are now looking to align ICT usage to enable personalised learning for students. We have recently signed a MoU with the Andhra Pradesh government to work on strengthening their school data systems by developing an EdTech vision and operational plan for the state. We are also supporting the state’s online teacher training initiative, APEKS, by partnering with existing online course providers and practitioners. In addition, CSF is working with MSDF and FourthLion to develop a robust learning data system for AP.

The Government of Rajasthan signed a MoU with our partner Khan Academy (KA) – India, to pilot KA for Math remediation for 1400+ students in 12 schools. The Nalanda Project, another CSF grantee, will be the implementation partner for this pilot. We’ve also signed an MoU with the Government of Karnataka to work on private school regulations, school consolidation and implementation of RTE’s Section 12 (1) (c).

Research Initiatives

We are also strengthening our efforts in the private schools space which is largely a fragmented market governed by complex and sometimes impractical regulation. In this light, CSF continued its engagement with Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy to frame a set of model regulations for private schools. Vidhi has analysed the ‘as is’ case of 5-6 states against the World Bank’s SABER framework and created a report on their work so far. The final version will be out by the end of January 2017. Our work on the State of the Nation report is in process with RTERC-IIM-A researchers having visited six states and analysing their e-governance systems dedicated to the implementation of Section 12(1)(c). The State of the Nation Report 2017 will focus on how implementation of Section 12 1)(c) can be strengthened through an e-governance system. CSF has also given a grant to Bharat Abhyudaya Foundation, which has successfully collaborated with the Uttar Pradesh government to adopt an MIS from this admission cycle.

Partnership Initiatives

Over the course of the last quarter, our partners continued to invest their efforts in the education space:

  • Million Sparks Foundation has signed a MoU with Delhi SCERT to conduct online teacher training for 60,000 teachers across all grades.
  • Language and Learning Foundation (LLF), has successfully completed implementation of its 8-month blended course on early literacy with over 95 teacher educators in five states and will soon be inducting a new cohort of 300 teacher educators.
  • Science Education Initiative (SEI) has placed fellows in over 50 classrooms, and has built out standardised lesson plans and formative assessments for 5 to 8 grades.

In the effort to build a more nuanced perspective on the teaching profession in India, CSF has collaborated with Centre for Teacher Accreditation (CENTA), a teacher assessment and certification organisation. The project aims to publish a book on effective classroom practices, authored by the winners of the Teaching Professionals’ Olympiad (TPO), a national competition to reward and recognise teachers, conducted by CENTA. We are also collaborating on a research study to understand how teacher participation data of the TPO can be used to build evidence on accreditation and certification to recognise and motivate teachers.

We hope that the next year at CSF will remain as exciting and enriching as this year has been. On behalf of our entire team, I wish you and your family a happy and prosperous 2017.


Ashish dhawan signature

Ashish Dhawan
Founder and Chairman
Central Square Foundation