Strengthening Our Commitment to EdTech and Supporting Policymakers for Systemic Reform

September 08, 2015 by Ashish Dhawan, Central Square Foundation

This is an exciting time for our country’s education system. As the consultation process for the New Education Policy continues, Prime Minister Modi also announced the launch of the Digital India campaign. This initiative, aimed at making India a digitally empowered nation, also has the potential to transform our education system.

Recognising the policy emphasis on digital education and as an organisation committed to leveraging the potential of technology in our school system, we launched a report titled The EdTech Promise: Catalysing Quality School Education at Scale. This report highlights the role that technology can play in improving student learning, teacher training and instruction, and school governance. It also analyses EdTech innovations from India and abroad to demonstrate how technology-based models are evolving in different contexts to produce higher learning outcomes and raise administrative efficiency. We also conducted a survey to analyse the availability and usage, perceptions, and challenges with technology adoption among teachers across India and launched our findings in a report titled Teaching with Technology: Early EdTech Adoption among Indian School Teachers.

We have also deepened our commitment to ventures in the technology space. We have partnered with Khan Academy to develop their Hindi platform by localising over 500 Maths videos and practice exercises mapped to the NCERT curriculum for classes 5 to 8. We are piloting this platform in five government schools in Haryana and the Maharashtra government is experimenting with it as a teacher development tool. We hope to partner with other state governments and civil society organisations to implement this platform across Hindi medium schools in India.

We have also seed funded the Language and Learning Foundation (LLF ) to provide an online course that will help teacher educators to develop instructional designs and other components of an early grade reading programme. We are supporting SocialEmergence.Org to pilot their mobile-based social networking project in the Pardada Pardadi Girls Vocational School in Anupshahar, Uttar Pradesh.

We continue to build the continuum between innovation and policy change and are delighted that the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) is engaging with two of our grantees, Saajha and India School Leadership Institute (ISLI) to improve learning in 30 schools under its jurisdiction. Saajha is launching a community leadership programme and building capacity of School Management Committees (SMCs) and ISLI is conducting a City Fellowship programme for school principals to build their leadership skills.

In parallel, the Delhi State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) asked Saajha to train SMCs across 2,700 schools under its jurisdiction. SCERT is also engaging with one of our grantees working in the school leadership space, Creatnet Education, to train 1,000 government school principals as well as 50 headmasters of model schools.

We also recently partnered with the Government of Andhra Pradesh to organise a vision workshop on “Role of technology in improving quality of school education”. The workshop was attended by selected group of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, SCERT, District Education Officers, Mandal Education Officers, Principals, faculty of District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs), Resource persons and Girl Child Development Officers. In addition, various stakeholders from state governments, implementation NGOs such and EdTech firms participated in the workshop.

To strengthen our engagement with policymakers and opinion leaders, we also launched EdPolicy, a monthly compilation of innovations in school education in India. Our first edition focused on merit based selection of headmasters and illustrated the Gujarat Head Teacher Aptitude Test as an exemplary case. If you would like to stay updated on innovative models and policy interventions in the area of school education, I would urge you to subscribe here.

I am also pleased to share with you that given the positive response we received, we also launched a revised version of the EdMonitor, to create a resource that goes beyond news and captures important developments in school education through blogs, research and events. We hope you will continue to find this useful and please feel free to share your feedback here.

Finally, I would like to share with you that CSF is now going through a leadership transition phase as we bid adieu to our Executive Director and first employee, Azad Oommen. Azad has been a pillar of strength for CSF since its inception and will continue to engage with us by serving on our Board of Directors.

As Azad transitions out, we are ready to welcome on board, our new CEO, Harsh Shetty.

Harsh joins us with 16 years of experience in diverse sectors such as education, healthcare, investment banking and technology. Prior to joining CSF, Harsh was associated with World Health Partners (Delhi), where he worked extensively with the central and state governments to improve delivery of health services. His last stint in education was with his entrepreneurial venture Firefish, an education technology products company that creates online education programmes for students across India. Before founding Firefish, Harsh worked at the Pratham Education Initiative in a variety of roles including leading new initiatives, operations, business development and advocacy.

I welcome you all to join Harsh and our team at CSF in this journey towards achieving education equity for all children in India. We hope to continue our engagement with you and thank you for your support.


Ashish dhawan signature

Ashish Dhawan