Education is a subject in the concurrent list of the Indian constitution. Center government makes national policies, Acts (eg Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education), design large-scale programs (eg Sarva Siksha Abhiyan). State governments then make rules on those ACTs, try to adapt those programs to their states and many a times create new program (Bihar's cycle scheme for girls) based on the needs of the state. Finally the rubber hits the road, when schemes and money reaches the district and the district collector along with the education line officers (eg district education officer) implements those ACTs and schemes in the schools. The priorities, motivation and challenges at different levels (Centre-State-District) are different and many a times not the same. These misaligned priorities and motivations have given birth to a non-functional education system for more than twenty crore children of India.
Though education delivery itself is not a political rhetoric in India, but political classes have started engaging in the popular education policies. Center and States have ongoing tussle on different aspects of education policies, budget allocations and budget sharing. There is a constant divide between experts, on how centralised and standardised the education system of India should be. At the ground level (district, block and panchayat) officials who implement these policies face a different set of challenges-like delay in disbursement of funds, numerous vacant positions, lack of incentives for delivery of education and complex local social dynamics.
Education delivery is a very real time system, which follows a racing academic year. Miscommunication and lack of clarity on different aspects of any policy, act or scheme, delay in policy decisions and mistimed fund disbursement cycles can derail the whole academic year. It's evident that the center-state-district relay race is highly mismanaged and the baton is not changing hands smoothly, resulting in grossly under learnt school going children.
Children, parents, teachers, principals, teacher's unions, private school managements, educationists, school boards, education bureaucracy and political class engage with education in different capacities and for different incentives.
There seems to be a strong need to have an open dialogue to track the education policy, from the parliament to the classroom to make an effort to align the disoriented wheel of delivery, to stop the evident leakages and to better the delivery to the users rather than the makers.
Ambarish RaiNational Convenor of the RTE Forum
Ambarish Rai is the National Convenor of the RTE Forum. The Forum is a platform for education networks, civil society members and educationists with a combined strength of 10,000 non-governmental organisations, and has nine state chapters. It is working towards progressive implementation of the RTE Act and improving enrolment & attendance in schools.
Amit KaushikManaging Director at Educomp
Amit Kaushik is currently managing director at Educomp. He was previously Director Education of Strategy, India and SAARC, with Cisco Systems (India) Pvt Ltd and Chief Operating Officer of the Pratham Education Foundation. A civil servant with the national government for twenty years, Amit worked with the Indian Railways in the area of infrastructure finance, and with the Ministry of Human Resource Development, where he was associated with the development and implementation of policies related to Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. He worked closely on the 2005 draft of the Right to Education Bill. He has worked with UNESCO India, and consulted with UNESCO Paris, Nigeria, Iraq and Lebanon, as well as UNICEF Iraq, on assignments related to literacy, planning for Education for All, non-formal education and accelerated learning.
Amitav VirmaniCEO & Managing Director of Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited (RLL)
Amitav Virmani joined ARK in August 2008. Prior to this he was General Manager in the office of the CEO & Managing Director of Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited (RLL), India's largest pharmaceutical company. Amitav previously worked with Bristol Myers Squibb spending four years in New Jersey and then moved to India to help set up the Indian office. Amitav is also a Trustee and Manager of two family run schools that serve lesser privileged children in New Delhi. Amitav earned his MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2000, after graduating with Honors in Economics from the St. Stephen's College, New Delhi, India in 1994.
Annie KoshiHe advocates the cause of the disabled
Annie Koshi actively advocates the cause of the disabled and has worked to introduce an inclusive education system where physically, mentally, emotionally and financially-challenged children study in the mainstream. She has been instrumental in bringing in legislation to change methods of assessment for the visually-challenged in Public Examinations. Ms. Koshi is a member of the Executive Committee, Dil Se-Centre for Equity Studies, Board of Directors of Karuna Vihar, Dehradun, and is an Honorary Coordinator of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions. She received the prestigious National Award for Teachers in 2004, conferred by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, GoI.
Ashish DhawanFounder and CEO of Central Square Foundation
Ashish Dhawan is the Founder and CEO of Central Square Foundation, and also the chairman of the board of trustees at Centre for Civil Society. He is an entrepreneur and philanthropist, and serves on the board of several non-profits including Teach For India, Janaagraha and GiveLife. He is the former Senior MD ChrysCapital, a private equity firm that he co-founded in 1999. Previously Ashish has worked with leading investment institutions such as Goldman Sachs, GP Investments and MDC Partners. He aims to create social impact via philanthropic investments in the K-12 education space.
Baijayant “Jay” PandaMP at Lower House (Lok Sabha) from Kendrapara Constituency
Baijayant “Jay” Panda was elected to the Parliament of India, Lower House (Lok Sabha) from Kendrapara Constituency, Odisha in May 2009. He is currently a member of the Standing Committee on Public Undertakings; the Consultative Committee for Ministry of Human Resource Development; and the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs. Panda had helped to form the Young Parliamentarians Forum (YPF) and was its Convener; he has also been associated with the India-USA Forum of Parliamentarians and is its Chairman. He was awarded the “Bharat Asmita National Award” for best parliamentary practices by the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India in 2008. In his earlier corporate career Panda was active in industry organizations like CII and FICCI. He frequently participates in national television discussions and writes op-ed pieces in newspapers.
Geeta Gandhi KingdonEducation Economics and International Development at the Institute of Education
Geeta Gandhi Kingdon is Chair of Education Economics and International Development at the Institute of Education, and was previously a Research Fellow at the Department of Economics, University of Oxford. She is a Development Economist and her research interests include Economics of Education, Labour Economics and the Economics of Happiness. Her work is centred on South Asia, Ghana & South Africa, and is based on micro-econometric analysis of survey data and has resulted in more than 25 papers in peer reviewed Economics and Development Economics journals. She is on the Editorial Board of three academic journals and does extensive academic refereeing as well as advisory work for governments and donor agencies.
Gowri IshwaranCEO of The Global Education & Leadership Foundation (tGELF)
Gowri Ishwaran is currently the Chief-Executive-Officer of The Global Education & Leadership Foundation (tGELF). Recipient of the Padma Shri Award in 2004, she is an innovative educationist with over 30 years of experience in leading schools in India. With a very clear vision of the type of educational experience and nurturing that children deserve, she has brought a paradigm shift on how education needs to be imparted to young students. She was the Founder Principal of Sanskriti School, New Delhi, an institution that has become one of the leading schools in India within a short span of 10 years. Mrs. Ishwaran serves on the advisory board of several Institutions and Foundations including Asian University for Women in Bangladesh, Shiv Nadar Foundation, The Wockhardt Foundation and TERI Prakriti School in India. A recent survey of Times of India identified her as among the 4 Women Principals in the country who have made a difference.
Luis MirandaChairman of the Board of Advisors at Centre for Civil Society
Luis Miranda is Chairman of the Board of Advisors at Centre for Civil Society. He is also the Founder and former Chairman of IDFC Private Equity and has extensive experience in dealing with early stage companies and private equity investing. He previously served as Co-Chairman of Indian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association and as a Director of ChrysCapital. Prior to that, he served for 11 years in sales and trading at HSBC Markets, Citibank, KPMG and Price Waterhouse. He is Chairman of the Asia Cabinet of the Global Advisory Board of the Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago. He served as a Founding Member of HDFC Bank Ltd.
Parth J ShahFounder-President of Centre for Civil Society
Parth J Shah is Founder-President of Centre for Civil Society, an independent, non-profit think tank in New Delhi. CCS offers public policy solutions within the framework of the individual rights, freedom of exchange, rule of law, and limited government. It is currently focused on education reforms through the School Choice Campaign: Fund Students, Not Schools! and on livelihood deregulation through the Law, Liberty, & Livelihood Campaign and Jeevika Documentary Festival. Parth taught economics at the University of Michigan before returning to India to start CCS in 1997. He has published academic articles and edited several books in the areas of development economics, welfare economics, business-cycle theory, free or laissez-faire banking, and currency-board systems. He holds a PhD in economics from Auburn University, USA.
Rukmini Banerjeeheads the ASER Centre
Rukmini Banerjee currently heads the ASER Centre and has been with Pratham since 1996 . Until recently, she was responsible for Pratham's programs and activities in several major states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Assam. She has led the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) effort since it was launched in 2005 which been acknowledged internationally for its innovativeness in involving citizens and for its impact on education policy and practice. In 2008, Rukmini was awarded the Maulana Abul Kalam Shiksha Puraskar by the Bihar Government. She is currently a member of the CABE (Central Advisory Board of Education) Committee of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. She is also a co-chair for the Global Learning Metrics Task Force that has been convened by the Brookings Institution and UNESCO
Satya Narayananfounded Career Launcher in 1995
Satya Narayanan founded Career Launcher in 1995 and has led its dramatic growth from a one-man start-up to one of Asia's foremost edu-corporates. Careerlauncher.com is a comprehensive careers and education portal, set up with an objective to provide focussed guidance and counselling to the students facing dilemma on the choice of career and the students who aspire to take up professional courses. He launched Career Launcher out of a desire to do something innovative and entrepreneurial in the field of education, and started with a personality development programme, which was training students aspiring to get into B-schools. One of their newest initiatives, envisioned in 2010, was to set up schools. A renowned speaker in Indian academic circles, he is the guiding force behind several pioneering initiatives in the Asian education market.
Shailaja ChandraVice President of Initiatives for Change-Centre for Governance
Shailaja Chandra is the Vice President of Initiatives for Change-Centre for Governance, a think tank which supports policy research and social reform. She has been a career civil servant who was a Secretary in the Government of India and later the first woman Chief Secretary of Delhi. Until recently she was the Executive Director of the National Population Stabilisation Fund and Chairman of the Public Grievances Commission. As Chief Secretary, Delhi she was associated with a government citizen partnership 'Bhagidari' which won the United Nations Public Service Award for improving transparency, accountability, and responsiveness. She has held various positions in the Government of India in the Health, Power and Defence Sectors for 15 years. Her career at the State level has spanned across assignments in the Government of Delhi, the erstwhile Delhi Administration and the Governments of Manipur, Goa and the Andaman and Nicobar Administration.
Urmila SarkarUN career with the International Labour Organization
Urmila Sarkar began her UN career with the International Labour Organization at its headquarters in 2000 and was charged with the task of developing their global expertise and managing their programmes on using education and training to combat child labour. She transferred to the ILO Asia-Pacific Office in Bangkok in 2004 to develop and manage the research, policy, operational and knowledge management work related to its largest programme portfolio: combating child labour and creating education, training and decent work opportunities for young people. She has authored and supervised many publications and tools in this field. Before the ILO, Urmila worked in South Asia and Africa with New Delhi as her base in the 1990s. She worked with grass-roots civil society and was part of founding the Global March Against Child Labour which also led to the formation of the Global Campaign for Education.
Vyjayanthi ShankarVice President, Strategic Relationships at Educational Initiatives
Vyjayanthi Shankar is currently Vice President, Strategic Relationships at Educational Initiatives. She has been with Educational Initiatives since 2003 and has pioneered Large Scale Learning Achievement studies in India in the last 10 years with nearly 90 research and assessment projects. The most recent and prominent ones are the 18 state 'Student Learning Study' done with support of Google, the 'Annual Status of Student Learning' in Bhutan done under the aegis of the King of Bhutan and the 'Quality Education study' in partnership with Wipro in India's 'top' schools. Her experience with diagnostic large scale assessments in EI spans 15 languages and analysis of test data of over 15 lakh students in the multiple projects across the top English medium schools as well as municipal and rural government schools. She specializes in the various issues of psychometrics, including the modern item response theory (IRT) and scale anchoring which is used for test construction and analysis of large scale test data. Vyjayanthi has many research papers in the field of school education and policy. She has currently co-authored the "National Strategy Paper for Educational Assessments' by TSG, Ministry of Human Resource development, India. She is a member of the advisory board of the Educational Survey Division of National Institute of Education, NCERT
John DannerCEO of Rocketship Education
John Danner is the CEO of Rocketship Education and co-founded the charter network with Preston Smith in 2006. Prior to Rocketship, John's experience in education ranged from serving as the Chairman of the Charter School Resource Center of Tennessee for 4 years, founding director of KIPP Academy Nashville, teaching in the Nashville public school system for 3 years, and co-founding Sacred Heart Nativity School in San Jose. Before his work in education, John was founder and CEO of NetGravity, an Internet advertising software company. John is an Ashoka Fellow, and a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute, and the 2010 winner of the McNulty Prize.