CSF Education Conclave 2023 highlights ways to achieve Foundational Learning as per the NIPUN Bharat Mission targets

New Delhi, April 12, 2023: Establishing a new benchmark in the education domain, the inaugural edition of CSF Education Conclave 2023, held in New Delhi, was a great success. The event served as a unique platform for policymakers, academics, educators, and tech innovators to delve into the theme, “Building a Strong Foundation for School Education in India.”

The expert speaking and panelists engaged in meaningful conversations around the status of foundational literacy and numeracy (FLN), skill-building and ways of improving student learning outcomes in India.

The conclave commenced with a welcome address by Shaveta Sharma-Kukreja, CEO-MD, Central Square Foundation following which a panel of eminent experts discussed ways of mainstreaming conversations on state-level reforms to strengthen foundational literacy and numeracy skills in students.

Focussing on the opening topic “Moving the Needle on FLN, from Commitment to Change” the panel also emphasised leveraging technology to enhance learning outcomes in children.

The experts comprised- Dr Anshaj Singh IAS (State Project Director, Samagra Shiksha, Dept. of Education, Govt. of Haryana); Lokesh Jangid IAS (Additional MD, Samagra Shiksha, Dept. of School Education, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh); Sourav Banerjee (Country Director, Room to Read India); Karuna Vakati IAS (Secretary, Dept. of School Education, Govt. of Telangana).

Some of the key takeaways to improve monitoring for the NIPUN Mission in Haryana were summarized by Dr Anshaj Singh. ‘’The key to the success of any mission is monitoring, be it a government organisation or a non-government one. In this regard, we have adopted some specific measures to improve governance including systematised monitoring at the school level, block level, district level and state level. We have also designed a specific framework like weekly assessments to measure the competency, mentors visit, capacity building of teachers and ensure the attendance of students and teachers,’’ said Dr Anshaj Singh IAS, State Project Director, Samagra Shiksha, Dept. of Education, Govt. of Haryana.

‘’Furthermore, we have also started a program from the state headquarters – Shiksha, Dikhsa, and Paryavekshan in which we have trained a pool of 150 officials to visit the school on defined parameters and they have to stay from assembly till the completion of the school. The major part of Paryavekshan is academic monitoring. For the Nipun Bharat Mission, we are especially focussing on pedagogy and are training teachers. In this way, we have covered around 700 schools and have real-time data,’’ added Dr Singh.

The conclave also witnessed a thought-provoking conversation on the effective implementation of the mandates laid out in NEP 2020 and the NIPUN Bharat Mission. The insights and perspectives of the speakers shed light on the crucial role of collaboration between the government, education sector, and society in transforming education delivery and realising the goals of these initiatives.

Detailing the growth journey of the commendable initiative, Teacher Connection at the conclave, Neelesh Misra, Storyteller & author stated, ‘’We started an initiative by the name of Teacher Connection to understand what the teachers want and realised that teachers in rural regions wanted to know how to become better teachers. We also started online classes long before the advent of Covid-19 via installing projectors in villages and asked individuals from across the country to teach the children in the village and surprisingly individuals from across the globe came forward for this noble initiative.’’

The Conclave also saw the unveiling of an independently conducted first-of-its-kind household survey on EdTech products called ‘BaSE: Bharat Survey for EdTech’ that covered almost 10K children, across SIX states between November 2022 and January 2023.

Voicing the opinion of parents and children from across the country, the survey comes as a stepping stone for policymakers, educators, and technology innovators to create a conducive environment for edtech and work towards enhancing the quality of education for all.

Demystifying the adoption of EdTech in India, Dr Sahana Murthy, Professor of Education Technology, IIT-Bombay said, “The first thing which institutions, schools, governments, and parents should do is to get clarity on what they are using the technology for. For instance, are they using it for access and inclusion or to gain efficiency? Are we talking about problem-solving in mathematics? or experimentation in science? Individuals who are in the position to select and use the technology need to have this kind of clarity for procuring the appropriate tech.’’

The unveiling of the survey was followed by an extensive panel discussion on- “Imperatives for EdTech in India – Way Forward” which saw participation from speakers including- Rahul Kulkarni (Co-Founder and Partner, DoNew and Chief Technologist, Samagra); Dr Sahana Murthy, Professor of Education Technology, IIT-Bombay; & Shashank Pandey (Co-Founder and President, ConveGenius).

The panellists shared their views on the potential of technology to improve learning outcomes, bridge the digital divide, and ensure quality & affordable education for all. The discussions also revolved around government policies, industry collaboration, and innovation in shaping the future of EdTech in India.

Delivering the closing remarks at the event, Shaveta Sharma-Kukreja, CEO & MD of Central Square Foundation said, ‘’It is heartening to see some of the key messages from CSF’s perspective getting confirmed, reiterated, and emphasised by the multitude of stakeholders that we have together with us. The NEP 2020 and NIPUN Bharat Mission, despite Covid-19 have given us a solid academic year for our young children in 2022-2023 and this makes all of us feel strongly optimistic. Today a lot of states are taking ambitious steps, saying that while we wait for the conversions at the two different ministries level, how do we get every five-year-old in a Bal Vatika, kindergarten classroom and help them learn to learn.’’

Other key highlights of the conclave included a session with school teachers from Sewapuri Block in Uttar Pradesh sharing their anecdotes from the classroom in a session called – Advancing FLN on the Ground – The Sewapuri Story; an introspective series of talks on “Improving Early Childhood Education in India” and global perspectives on Foundational Learning called “Framing the Evidence Around FLN in a Global Context”

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