School Choice Campaign (SCC) is a policy reform initiative of Centre for Civil Society (CCS) that aims to move India’s education system towards a school choice model that brings affordable and quality education of choice to all children.

SCC is organising its fifth annual School Choice National Conference on Friday, 20 December 2013 at The Multi–Purpose Hall, India International Centre, New Delhi, India.

SCNC will provide a much needed platform to identify critical issues in the education sector, review existing programs, explore strategies to face the challenges ahead and ideate on ingenious solutions to provide quality education to all children in India.

The theme of the conference this year is “Education 2025: Student First!”

The children of the 21st Century have a different ask from our education system than the generations that have preceded them. This is a generation which is constantly seeking, thinking, formulating, exploring and challenging their own views and opinions. Ten years from now, these children will be in positions of power in diverse sectors, dictating the direction of our country and economy.

We need a system that puts the child at the centre of education and facilitates the shift from rote learning to student understanding. This requires us to constantly re-examine education in terms of institutions, pedagogy and methodology. We must break from our conventions and rethink the kind of teachers, the curriculum and the kind of school leadership in effect–a rethinking of the school space. These changes are not possible without structural changes at a policy level that will both facilitate and reinforce them.

The objectives of the Conference in 2013 are to:

  • Bring together educationists and educational planners, policy experts, activists and government officials to discuss and debate existing policies and share their vision for what education should be in 2025 and;

  • Showcase innovative policy solutions–both national and international–that are being implemented to address current challenges in the Indian education ecosystem

The School Choice National Conference 2013 aims to explore this theme through expert presentations and plenary discussions with leaders in the education space.

The three key sessions we will be hosting are:

  • Vision 2025: Changing the Paradigms of Education

  • Practice 2025: Teaching for Understanding

  • Action Plan 2025: Rethinking Policy

Education 2025: Student First!
  • 20 Dec 2013
  • Time: 9 am – 6 pm
  • Multi-Purpose Hall, India International Centre, New Delhi, India
  • Certificate of completion
Application Deadline
05 Dec 2013

Covered Sessions

Chair: Premila Nazareth, Independent Consultant
Speakers: Kalp Patel and Advait Shroff, Riverside School
Maya Menon, Teacher Foundati on
Ajith Basu, Agastya Internati onal Foundati on


Chair: Meeta Sengupta, Centre for Education Strategy
Speakers: Ashish Rajpal, iDiscoveri
Vibha Parthasarthy, Prominent Indian Educati onist
Isabel Sutcliffe, Pearson Educati on (India)
Unmesh Brahme, Room to Read

    Chief Program Executive at Agastya International Foundation

    Ajith Basu is Chief Program Executive at Agastya International Foundation, an Indian NGO that educates and 'sparks curiosity and creativity' among more than two million economically disadvantaged children every year through hands-on and participatory methods. His role involves Program Development & Management and he comes with several years of experience in Instructional Design, Teacher Training, 'Giftedness' Identification Program among rural children with NIAS and DST (GOI), Impact Assessment, Young Instructor Leader Program (YILP), Donor Relations, and such several similar initiatives. Ajith has over 25 years of experience in various dimensions of Childhood Education, Human Process Training, Design Management and Theatre.

    Country Director at Absolute Return for Kids

    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.

    Director at Ab Initio Consulting

    Amit was till recently Managing Director at Educomp Schools. He was previously Director, Education 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, and 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 and Yemen, on assignments related to literacy, planning for Education for All, non-formal education and accelerated learning. He is currently Director, Ab Initio Consulting, a boutique consulting firm that advises clients on various aspects of education.

    Interim India Director at Acumen Fund

    Ankur leads overall sector strategy for Acumen's investments and has direct responsibility for the Education portfolio. Prior to this, Ankur has played multiple roles at Acumen, including Interim India Director and global Business Development Manager. Before he joined Acumen, Ankur worked for several years with leading private investors focused on financial access, energy and clean water for low-income markets in India. He also helped set up WaterHealth India, which now serves ~600 villages with drinking water; and managed a project for Robin Hood Foundation to build libraries in 25+ New York City public schools, now serving ~20,000 students. Ankur started his career with McKinsey & Company advising Fortune 100 companies in the US and Europe on M&A and growth opportunities. Ankur has an Architecture degree from Cornell University, and a Masters in International Development from Harvard’s Kennedy School, where he was a Reynolds and a Soros Fellow. Ankur is also an Advisory Board member for the Centre for Civil Society, an independent non-profit research and education organization in Delhi.

    CEO at Central Square Foundation

    Ashish 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.

    Founder and CEO at XSEED

    Ashish Rajpal (Founder and CEO) quit an international corporate career to start iDiscoveri. Apart from managing iDiscoveri's growing organization, he creates and facilitates programs on teacher development, leadership, and organization culture. A former student of Howard Gardner, his areas of interest include "doing classrooms", self-esteem of children, and non-authoritarian leadership.He has personally led visioning and leadership development programs for CxO level executives of top organisations. In 2008, he was identified by Education World magazine amongst the 50 top leaders changing education in India.

    Director at CCS Academy & Asia Centre for Enterprise

    Baishali heads Centre for Civil Society's Academy which conducts all educational and outreach programs of the Centre. She has designed and managed several international and national programs, certificate courses for journalists and edited several publications of the Centre. She is also Atlas Economic Research Foundation's representative for Asia and leads the Asia Centre for Enterprise that will assist Atlas in discovering, assessing, and training talented young people, and inspiring them to devote their careers to advancing liberty in their home country or region. Having worked extensively in both the development sector and the print media in Nepal and India, her work profile includes serving as the Director of Nuns Welfare Foundation of Nepal, Editor of Spark (corporate magazine) and Assistant Editor of the boss and VOW (Voice of Women), Nepal's leading business and women's magazines respectively. She holds an MSc in Zoology from the University of North Bengal, India, Think Tank MBA from Atlas and is especially interested in project incubation, strategic planning and communications.

    International Standards & Quality Director at Pearson Education (India)

    Isabel Sutcliffe is Pearson Education (India) International Standards & Quality Director. She has recently joined the team having completed her secondment as Interim Director of the Centre for Assessment, Evaluation & Research, a PPP venture between Pearson Foundation and CBSE. Prior to taking up roles in India, Isabel held the post of Pearson/Edexcel's Regulation, Standards and Research Director, which included the role of Responsible Officer. In this role she was accountable for the integrity of Edexcel's awards made to individual learners and for the accreditation and licensing services offered to organisations – both UK-based and overseas. She has extensive experience in gathering, and using to best advantage, stakeholder intelligence and engagement activity which is directly related to regulatory and quasi-regulatory matters. Isabel continues to work strenuously to raise the importance of awarding as the means to instill and maintain the quality and consistency of learning/training outcomes thereby meeting the needs of learners, employers and HE.

    Assistant Professor at University of California

    Karthik Muralidharan is on the faculty of the economics department at the University of California, San Diego, prior to which he was on the faculty at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Prof. Muralidharan’s research focuses on education in developing countries. He is the Principal Investigator of the largest annual longitudinal study of learning outcomes in primary education in India (in Andhra Pradesh). Recent and ongoing papers include studies of teacher absence across developing countries; several experimental evaluations of policies to improve education outcomes in India including teacher performance pay, contract teachers, school grants, diagnostic feedback to teachers, and school choice; an evaluation of providing bicycles to adolescent girls on secondary school enrollment in India; and an experimental evaluation of doubling teacher pay in Indonesia. He has also written policy papers including a background paper on primary education policy for the 12th Five-Year Plan of the Government of India. Born and raised in India, Prof. Muralidharan completed his undergraduate studies in economics at Harvard, received an M.Phil in economics from Cambridge (UK), and his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard. His recent academic honors include a US National Academy of Education Fellowship, and election as a Distinguished Young Fellow of the Economics of Education Program by CESIfo, Munich. He was also recently nominated by the Cabinet Minister for HRD to serve as a member of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), which is the highest advisory body in the field of education to advise Central and State Governments in India.

    Founding Director at Teacher Foundation

    Maya Menon, Founding Director, Teacher Foundation. Maya has been in the field of education for nearly thirty years. Her areas of professional experience include conceptualizing, designing and implementing a wide range of school and teacher-related projects and services, including the Wipro Applying Thought in Schools Teacher Empowerment Project, initiated in 2001. In 1988, she set up the Newspaper in Education Programme for The Times of India in Bangalore. Her interests include school effectiveness research, teacher development, collaborative approaches to teaching and learning, interpersonal communication in the classroom, school-industry links for school improvement, leadership and strategic management of schools.

    Founder at Centre for Education Strategy

    Meeta Sengupta works at the cusp of policy and practice across the education and skills spectrum and enjoys sharing her gleanings via her writing for a wider audience. She has been an investment banker, a researcher, an editor, a teacher and school leader across continents. A keen observer of how economics, foreign policy and investments affect the policy and thence practice of education, she works with leaders to design interventions that improve the quality and process of education. She is a Fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar. Currently, Meeta is the founder of the Centre for Education Strategy, a Delhi based think tank that builds bridges between policy and practice for educators, educationists and Institutions and the Education Expert on the National Council of NISA (National Independent Schools Alliance) that represents over 7000 budget schools.

    Independent Consultant

    Premila Nazareth Satyanand got her undergraduate degree in History, from St Stephen's College, New Delhi and then went on to complete her MA in International Affairs from Columbia University, New York. She is an independent consultant who specializes on issues of foreign direct investments and is currently spearheading an NCAER project on Indian FDI statistics reform. She has worked with the United Nations Centre on Transnational Corporations, New York; the Ministry of Trade and Industry in South Africa; and the World Bank Group in India. She has also spearheaded grassroots education initiatives in India, and has worked closely with India's Right to Information movement in assessing the working of the Right to Information Act. She has also advised foreign companies on public policy issue. She is a trustee of the Centre for Civil Society.

    Leader, Education Practice in India at McKinsey and Company

    Ramya Venkataraman is Leader of McKinsey and Company's Education Practice in India. For the last several years, Venkataraman has also pursued her long-term passion in education through involvement in various initiatives, and towards the end of 2008, took on a new role to pursue this passion fully. Venkataraman now leads McKinsey's Education practice in India on a full-time basis, as part of the Firm's global Social Sector practice. Her experiences in education cut across school, higher and vocational education. Recent examples include driving a large urban school system transformation effort with a municipal corporation in India, working with a neighbouring country's government on end-to-end education reform, conducting rural education diagnostics in a few districts, serving foundations, non-profits and private education players on their own strategy, working with some higher education institutions of national importance, helping investors evaluate potential opportunities, and providing input into policy discussions.Venkataraman completed her B.Tech. in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Delhi and her MBA from IIM Calcutta.

    Director General at National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER)

    Shekhar Shah took over as Director-General of NCAER in May 2011. He was until recently the World Bank’s Regional Economic Adviser for South Asia based in New Delhi and Colombo and covering the countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Prior to this he was part of the Bank’s development research complex in Washington DC and a principal author of the 2004 World Development Report, the Bank’s annual flagship research publication, on Making Services Work for Poor People. He has published on a range of issues relating to service delivery, governance, poverty, international trade, social policy, and monitoring and evaluation.

    Country Director at Room to Read

    Unmesh Brahme is a Yale World Fellow and Country Director of Room to Read India, an organization dedicated to promoting and enabling education through programs focused on literacy and gender equality in education. Unmesh is also co-founder of Climate Civics Institute, a community-centric initiative in climate adaptation and policy innovation and SustainabilityCXO Partners Worldwide, a high end boutique global advisory working with CEOs, top management and boards, which he founded in collaboration with sustainability leadership practitioners and thinkers. Formerly at HSBC India as Head Sustainability and CSR, Unmesh was responsible for starting the bank’s microfinance initiative, social enterprise portfolio and Future First, the world’s first major-bank-led program for street children and education in over 50 countries, along with working on significant climate change initiatives in conjunction with the Ministries of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Government of India, The Energy and Resources Institute, and other groups. Earlier in his career, Unmesh worked as Head of Corporate Social Responsibility for Ogilvy & Mather, India, where he established the country’s first multiple award-winning brand social responsibility and cause marketing practice. Prior to that, he has had extensive experience in strategic consulting for organizations such as World Bank, Oxfam, and a number of other non-governmental organizations. Unmesh Brahme serves on the board of Global Business School Network, International Society of Sustainability Professionals and SustainAsia, and is a member of the Renewable Energy and International Law Network at Yale. He also serves on the editorial board of Anthem New Energy Finance at the Anthem Press, an independent publishing house with presence in UK, US and India. Unmesh is an established thought leader in sustainability and corporate responsibility with diverse interests in social, environmental, climate change, inclusive finance, human rights, international relations and public diplomacy domains. He teaches at business schools globally and speaks regularly at influential forums worldwide. published on a range of issues relating to service delivery, governance, poverty, international trade, social policy, and monitoring and evaluation.

    Ex Principal at Sardar Patel Vidyalaya

    Vibha Parthasarathy is a prominent Indian educationist. She served as the chairperson of the National Commission for Women, India from 1999 to 2002. Educated at Cambridge University and Boston University, she served as the Principal of Sardar Patel Vidyalaya for over two decades. The school, one of leading schools in Delhi, is famous for it's innovative pedagogy and medium of instruction. Believing that children learn better in their mother tongue, the school employs Hindi as the medium of instruction in the primary school, after which the medium of instruction changes to English. Students are also encouraged to pick a fourth Indian language and this multilingualism helps them acknowledge the richness of the Indian culture.