CSF pushes for tablet based centralised digital education governance

June 30, 2017 by Ashish Dhawan, Central Square Foundation

Dear Friend,

As we complete five years in the education ecosystem, Central Square Foundation’s commitment towards educational excellence is getting deeper with each passing year, month and day. I want to thank you all for your continued support as we are making inroads to various responsible departments dedicated to enhance the educational quality and environment across the length and breadth of the country.

As we enter our next phase of growth, we began the year by sharpening our focus in the area of advocacy to support governments at central, state and local levels.

Governmental Initiatives

CSF started working on a lighthouse project with Ministry of Human Resources and Development (MHRD) to distribute one tablet to each government and government-aided school in the country. CSF will help in the design and development of a centralised digital system for the tablet, which will be a unified platform for entire school related data collection, analysis and usage across the country.

NCERT has rolled out the pilot phase of the Census – based National Achievement Survey (C-NAS), which was designed and developed by CSF. It is currently being used by 18 states as a pilot project. This unique data system enables schools to enter student assessment data and generate instant report cards for students, classes and schools to provide a personalised feedback to them related to their performance in the test.

This quarter, we achieved another milestone by going live with Prashikshak portal in the public domain. This innovative open online platform collects and reports data from all District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs) in India, which was launched by MHRD in collaboration with CSF in 2016. By logging on to www.prashikshak.in, anyone can now access the information reported by 589 DIETs across the country in form of report cards and dashboards. The portal will help different stakeholders to make progressive decisions based on this information.

We continue to deepen our engagement with states to bring a prospective change in the assessment skills and identify the gaps at basic level. In Andhra Pradesh, CSF is partnering with Samagra and Centre for Science of Student Learning (CSSL) to establish a forward-looking, reform-oriented assessment cell at the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT). The assessment cell will have a team of highly motivated and qualified staff with specialised skills in assessments and learning research to drive the entire reform process.

The Centrally Sponsored Scheme on Restructuring Teacher Education, 2012 focuses on revitalising a state’s academic institutions – namely SCERT and DIETs. In this light, CSF is assisting Delhi government in this restructuring process to review the existing structure and priorities of the department. This exercise will help empower SCERT to take on new initiatives, strengthen its current system and procedures, and renew its model of teacher education toward achieving quality outcomes.

Research Initiatives

In the language learning space, we commissioned an independent study to evaluate the effect of introducing a language-learning app Hello English (HE) for school children in India. The study, designed and executed by a team of statisticians and language researchers, suggested that around 73% of the students using HE app improved their English language proficiency, compared to 42% of the control group. This difference was statistically significant. Read the full report here.

CSF believes that we need to nurture the existing academic talent pool apart from introducing the technologically advanced education tools. On the issue of human capital development, organisations are increasingly thinking of pivoting their model of working primarily with school leaders, to now include training of block and cluster level officers. In an attempt to understand the relevance and importance of these mid level officers, we have invested in a research project to analyse their life cycle in various states pertaining to recruitment process, capacity building and career progression. The outcomes will serve as a benchmark to model recommendations for strengthening the middle management layer in Indian education system.

Partnership Initiatives

Over the course of the last quarter, we continued to translate our efforts into a collective impact through our partners’ achievements –

  • Khan Academy launched India Talent Search programme to find impactful video developers to help students succeed in school and find joy in learning. With over 500 entries from across the country, the top 10 finalists received a cash prize contributed to Khan Academy’s growing library of content
  • Million Sparks Foundation (MSF) and Foundation for Learning Equality (FLE), two of our partner organisations, successfully raised US$ 1.2 million and US$ 0.5 million from Google.org to expand and scale up their activities

In addition to above initiatives, I am happy to announce our publication ‘Teaching and Technology: Case Studies from India’ in collaboration with British Council. Understanding the need of technology in the current scenario, this publication illustrates how teachers are using various types of tools and tech-supported innovation in India. With over 440 applications received, the top 22 teachers and organisations working with teachers were featured, highlighting a broad range of hardware and software amalgamation to improve students’ learning and professional development of teachers.

Over the years CSF has developed a basic understanding of the education system in India and subsequent areas of opportunities. As always, we appreciate you being a part of the movement to achieve quality school education for all our children. Please do drop us a line with any feedback you may have for us.


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Ashish Dhawan