Ensuring quality education to all is the key to take India into league of superpower. Improving status of education is further more important to the entire world as every sixth human on planet earth happens to be from India. Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD), Government of India is working on developing New Education Policy (NEP). The last NEP was brought out in 1986 and later amended in 1992. MHRD aims to make India a knowledge superpower by equipping our students with the necessary skills and knowledge to eliminate the shortage of manpower. The objective of the upcoming NEP therefore is to meet the changing needs of quality education, innovation and research. In this context, the 2015 School Choice National Conference will be dedicated to debating and merits and proposing improvements to the New Education Policy.

The School Choice is an initiative of Centre for Civil Society to advocate element of competition in education space through policy reform. The goal of the School Choice is to create an environment where every child has the Right to Education of Choice. School Choice National Conference (SCNC) is an annual event that provides a much needed platform to identify critical issues in the education sector, review existing programs, and explore strategies to face the challenges ahead and ideate on ingenious solutions to provide quality education to all children in India. The objectives of SCNC are two-fold:

  1. Bring together educationists, planners, policy experts, activists and government officials to discuss and debate various dimensions of education policy in India.

  2. Showcase innovative models that foster an enabling education ecosystem.

Various studies and reports present struggling state of education in country. Drafting national level education policy is an exercise that takes place once in two to three decades and would decide the future of educational landscape in country. In this context the theme of this year SCNC will be New Education Policy. The conference will focus on areas of policy reform that need to be streamlined towards achieving choice for students and parents, autonomy for schools and teachers, and accountability of the system.

Freedom in Education
  • 19 Nov 2015
  • Time: 9 am – 6 pm
  • Silver Oak, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, India
  • Certificate of completion
Application Deadline
10 Dec 2015

Covered Sessions
Inaugural Panel | New Education Policy: Depoliticizing Education

Kamal Kishore Sharma, Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, Ekta Sodha, Shantanu Gupta, Rohan Joshi
"Minimum Government, Maximum Governance" is one of the most popular slogans of the current government. Can the principles of maximum governance be applied to education sector? In education sector, government currently plays the role of regulator, financier and provider. In this session we will contemplate upon whether this role is yielding right impact and how can this role be changed to the benefit of India's education system?

Thematic Panel | From Right to Education to Right to Learning

Murlidhar Koteshwar, Megha Pradhan, R C Jain, Vikram Jain, Premila Nazareth Satyanand

Much celebrated Right to Education has failed to make any visible impact on either access to or quality of education in India. Retaining the principle of universal and equitable education for all at the core, how can Right to Education be redefined as Right to Learning? How can the focus of current law be diverted from inputs in education towards quality of education?

    Founder CEO, The Education Alliance

    Amitav is Founder CEO, The Education Alliance. Prior to this Amitav was Country Director, Absolute Return for Kids (ARK), India. Amitav and his team were responsible for launching several programmes in India – School Leaders for India – a leadership capacity building programme, ASPIRE- an English Literacy programme ENABLE – a vouchers school access programme and SQA – School Quality Assesment in Madhya Pradesh, an initiative funded by DIFD. He serves on the Education Advisory Task Force of FICCI. In 2010, he was selected as an Apsen Fellow and in June 2015 was elected as an Ashoka Fellow. He was also awarded the Mother Teresa Scholarship for Social Innovation.

    Principal at Shree C. & Z. J Patel Vidhyalaya

    Arvindbhai Patel has been serving as Principal at Shree C. & Z. J Patel Vidhyalaya in Vadodara since 2003. Mr Patel has been ex State General Secretary of Gujarat State Principal Union Recognized By Gujarat Government. He has worked closely with Gujarat government to take reform education policy of the state. He is also a government appointed member of all Time Vibrant Taluka Karjan.

    Vice Chairperson of DDC

    Ashish is Vice Chairperson of DDC, a top advisory body for Government of NCT of Delhi to come up with new and big ideas, identify best practices and policies from around the world and translate them into concrete recommendations for the Government. He was in journalism for 14 years and quit mainstream media as a Chief Investigative Journalist before joining politics. He is the founder of investigative journalism portal named Gulail.com

    services for over 20 years the field of education

    Shashi dedicated his services for over 20 years the field of education for quality improvement and measures to overcome Learning Disability. He is recognised by Karnataka State Government as a Resource Person for Educational Policies. Shashi founded the New Blossoms Education Society in 1993 with 28 students which has now grown to over 2,000 students. As organising Secretary of the state association and communicator of I.C.S.E and C.B.S.E, he works to bring reform in the education system. Shashi has received several awards and honors for his work in the field of social service and appears in news frequently for his expert opinion regarding education policies.

    Associated with the field of low-cost private schools for many years

    Ekta has been associated with the field of low-cost private schools for many years since her family runs a chain of low-cost private schools in Gujarat for last 28 years. Under Ekta’s leadership as a CEO, Sodha Schools achieved 5th rank in entire state of Gujarat for its educational quality at a very low price by one of Asia’s leading education magazine Digital Learning. Ekta completed her Masters of Education in International Leadership and Management from Newcastle University – England. She is also currently pursuing PhD in Education Technology looking at raising children’s aspirations using technology under world famous TED prize winner Professor Emaritus Sugata Mitra. In 2012 Ekta was elected the Vice President for National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA). NISA currently is associated with more than 39,000 private schools. Ekta looks at quality improvement in education at grassroots level to improve quality of education across India.

    Chair of ‘Education Economics and International Development’

    Prof Kingdon holds the Chair of ‘Education Economics and International Development’ at UCL Institute of Education, University College London. Prior to this, she worked for 10 years as faculty at the Department of Economics, University of Oxford. Her research is based mostly on statistical analysis of education datasets. Based on this research, she advises governments and donor agencies such as the World Bank, European Union (EU) and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) on their education-related aid to developing countries. She has frequently been a member of the Union Human Resource Development Ministry’s ‘Joint Review Missions’ of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and of the Secondary education programme (the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan), a member of the Uttar Pradesh Secondary Education Board (Madhyamik Shiksha Parishad), and also serves on the Government of UP’s Advisory Committee on Basic Education. In 2013, Professor Kingdon was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Kingston University London for “her outstanding contributions to education and development”.

    Team member and Secretary for Education & Culture of Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI)

    Fr Manipadam is core team member and National Executive Secretary for Education & Culture of Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI). Before joining CBCI, Fr Manipadam served as principal, assistant principal and vice principal in various schools for around 30 years. He had a career spanning as teacher, principal, leader, trainer and administrator and his contribution in the field of education has been recognized with several merits and awards too. Fr Joseph has degree in M.A., B.Ed., B.Th., B.Ph. and diploma in Computer Applications.

    Partner at an Indian consulting firm

    Prof Kamal Kishore Sharma is a partner at an Indian consulting firm and is an investor, advisor & mentor to Startups in the education & cleantech space. Prior to this, he held the Vice Chancellor (A) & Dean’s chair at Ansal University, Gurgaon. In a rich career span of 26 years from a Management Trainee at a PSU to a CEO at a MNC subsidiary abroad & then a VC, he has had the priviledge to work with a prestigious range of organizations viz. Public Sector (SAIL-Bokaro Steel), Indian Civil Services (Indian Railways Traffic Service), United Nations Environment Program, reputed IIMs & Indian Universities, Stanford University, an MNC ArcelorMittal, Adani group & Ansal API group. He is a Fellow (PhD) of IIM Ahmadabad and MBA in Marketing and Financial Management. He has dealt with challenges across a wide range of corporate functions, organisations and geographies and has been duly felicitated with coveted awards and recognition through his career. He has a keen interest in academic institution building and entrepreneurial endeavours. He is a regular member of the US based Strategic Management Society (SMS).

    Karthik Dinne is a public policy enthusiast

    Karthik Dinne is a public policy enthusiast, specifically interested in education and governance. He is the author of the book 'UnpackED - The black box of Indian school education reform' which is being released at SCNC 2015. Karthik is a graduate of Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. He blogs at iterativeadaptation.blogspot.com.

    President of Federation of Private Schools Associations

    Kulbhushan is President of Federation of Private Schools Associations, Haryana. He is also State President of Patriotic Forum of India and State Working President of National Human Rights Protection Organisation and Vice President (Advocacy), National Independent Schools Alliance. Previously he has also been General Council Member of the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan and Member of the School Education Rues Review Committee.

    Writer, Speaker and Advisor on education and skills

    Meeta Sengupta is a writer, speaker and advisor on education and skills. She designs institutional interventions to meet organisational learning goals. She connects the dots across silos of policy, research and practice to write a number of columns and blogs where she shares ideas and solutions with the education community. She is a member of the FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) Skills Development Forum, and on the National Council of NISA (National Independent Schools Alliance) of budget private schools in India. Meeta is the founder of #EduIn, an online discussion that brings hundreds of participants together every month on key education issues. She has been the Senior Advisor, Centre for Civil Society and is on the India Advisory Board of STIR Education that gathers micro-innovations in schools. She has worked both as a policy observer and at the coalface of education in the UK and India. She has catalysed several academic start-ups including the India Centre at the London Business School, Commonwealth Business Council and the Richmond Business School. A keen observer of how economics, foreign policy and investments affect the policy and practice of education, she is currently seeking to transplant pedagogical methods across contexts to improve skill development in education.

    Senior Policy and Training Associate and the regional education policy

    Megha Pradhan is a Senior Policy and Training Associate and the regional education policy lead at J-PAL South Asia. In this role, she supports the regional office’s efforts to promote evidence-based policymaking and build capacity for monitoring and evaluation. Previously, Megha was with the National Knowledge Commission, an advisory body to the Prime Minister of India, where she worked on education, agriculture, and entrepreneurship, and was involved in policy outreach with various state governments. She has also taught undergraduate courses in Economics as an Assistant Professor at University of Delhi. Megha holds a Master's in Economics from Delhi School of Economics and University of Maryland, College Park.

    Working with Primitive Tribes Group (PTG)

    Merajuddin has been working with Primitive Tribes Group (PTG) around Kuno sanctuary in Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh on issues of livelihood, agriculture, and of course rehabilitation. After running an informal school for a number of years, Meraj along with his friends set up Adharshila school in 2005. It started as primary school and now has grown to a high school with around 300 students. The school is also connected to remote villages through 13 satellite schools with around 500 students. Meraj is a graduated in economics from Ramjas college.

    over two decades of experience after a B-Tech from IIT-Madras

    Muralidhar Koteshwar has over two decades of experience after a B-Tech from IIT-Madras, India in a career that spans a complete product life cycle. A part of the team that built India’s first Supercomputer the PARAM at CDAC, he subsequently held leadership positions in multinational organisations like Tektronix, Tata Elxsi, Celstream, Trilogy and Mentor Cloud. He is currently Managing Director of SONIM, makers of the world’s most rugged phones and is on the board of Onya Digital – a web portal and mobile apps development company. He is a visiting faculty at IIIT-B and National College for post graduate students. He is equally passionate about education, and as a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Art of Living’s Educational Trust was responsible for establishing over 100 educational institutes in India. Workshops for teachers and parents initiated by him have reached over a million people in 150+ countries globally. Recently he enabled an agreement between IAHV and UNESCO to organise a global series of Media and Education Conferences. He was a keynote speaker at the HT Annual Education Summit and has been felicitated by various institutions including the Government of Taiwan for service to society.

    An independent consultant specialising on issues of foreign direct investment

    Premila Nazareth Satyanand is an independent consultant specialising on issues of foreign direct investment. She has worked with the United Nations Centre on Transnational Corporations, New York, and the Economist Intelligence Unit, New Delhi, facilitating the Government-MNC dialogue on FDI liberalisation and advising foreign investors on India strategy. She has consulted for UNCTAD, UNDP, and the World Bank Group, served in the United Nations Electoral Missions in South Africa and in the Western Sahara, and was a Member of the Planning Commission Task Force constituted to identify problems in India’s business regulatory framework and suggest corrective measures in the Twelfth Plan. Most recently, she conceived and spearheaded a National Council of Applied Economic Research project on Indian FDI statistics reform. Premila also has an especial interest in grassroots development and education issues. For many years, she lived in Satoli, a rural hamlet in Uttarakhand, volunteering with Aarohi, a grassroots NGO. In 2002, she conceived and founded the National Geographic Channel's Rural Himalayan Video-Van, which continues to screen science and geography videos to hundreds of rural school children in Nainital District. She also launched a series of English-cum-computer camps for rural youth in the area. In 2008, she co-managed the national ‘People’s Assessment’ of Right to Information Act performance, at which time she worked closely with key members of India's Right to Information movement. She is a member of the Board of Trustees, Centre for Civil Society and of the Managing Committee of Aarohi.

  • R C JAIN
    President of National Independent School Alliance

    R C Jain is the president of National Independent School Alliance and Delhi State Public Schools' Management Association. He has contributed more than 25 years in the education sector and also runs a budget private school in Delhi. He is a political activist, and contested the Delhi Vidhan Sabha Election in 2013 as a candidate of Bhartiya Janta Party. He is also co-convener of the Shikshak Prakosth of BJP. His leadership saved 4,000 schools of Delhi which were facing closure in year 2006, Due to the implementation of Master Plan Delhi-2021. He saved 1,500 unrecognised schools of Delhi in year 2013 which were facing closure for not able to fulfill land norms criteria and compulsory recognition under RTE Act. He also recently convinced AAP government to remove Sec 10(1) of the DSEAR' 73 which had made it compulsory for private schools to pay salary equivalent to government school teachers.

    Heads the Research vertical of Centre for Civil Society

    Rohan heads the Research vertical of Centre for Civil Society. Rohan has a long experience of working in Education and Skill Development sectors with wide variety of organizations ranging from NGOs, Private companies to Government Departments. Rohan has been a part of multiple large scale projects in Education sector such a School Excellence Program of Mumbai Municipal Corporation, Skill Development Cell of the Dept of Social Justice and Special Assistance, Govt. of Maharashtra. Rohan has a Master’s Degree in Education from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, with specialization in Language Pedagogy and Education Policy. He is affiliated with a few Government and Non-government organizations in India in the capacity of advisor and board member.

    worked with a leading policy think tank at CCS

    Shantanu has worked with a leading policy think tank, Centre for Civil Society (CCS), for policy research and advocacy for education domain. Before that he worked for UNICEF’s Integrated District Approach (IDA) project in Lalitpur, a remote district in hinterlands of Uttar Pradesh. Working very closely with the local government to improve the service delivery for education, health, sanitation and women & child welfare programs. Shantanu has worked as management and consultant for about a decade across several countries including India, Switzerland, Cyprus, Hungary, Israel and United Kingdom before leaving the corporate career for his passion to be in the social sector. Shantanu is a post graduate from Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex (UK) in Governance and Development and has Post Graduate Certification in Business Management from XLRI, Jamshedpur.

    15 years of experience in strategy, operations, and technology consulting

    With over 15 years of experience in strategy, operations, and technology consulting, Vikram brings strong skills in developing strategy, developing new business models, policy advocacy, customer research at BoP, and leading programs to create large-scale social impact. He co-leads FSG’s Affordable Early Childhood Education Program.

    Founder and Director of Centre for Science of Student Learning

    Vyjayanthi Sankar is the Founder and Director of Centre for Science of Student Learning, an organisation for building capacity in assessments and learning research. A leading Education, Assessment and Management expert, Vyjayanthi's clients include the World Bank, the Brookings Institution, UNICEF, Governments, several NGOs and CSR. A 2015 Ashoka Fellow, she was also awarded the prestigious Fulbright Humphrey Fellowship in 2013-14 by the US Congress and spent the year in Penn State University and at The World Bank in Washington DC. Prior to the Fulbright Fellowship, Vyjayanthi was part of the start-up team in Educational Initiatives (EI) as Vice President, and founded its Large Scale Assessment Division and built it to become a leading player in South Asia. She has contributed to the assessment policy space in India as member of Govt of India's SSA Joint Review Mission in 2014 and as advisory board member for the Educational Survey Division of NCERT, India in 2012. She co-authored the National Strategy Paper for Educational Assessments by TSG, Ministry of Human Resource Development, India in 2012. She is currently an expert member for the Southeast Asia Ministers of Education Organisation Secretariat's SEA-PLM, a regional learning assessment for South East Asia. Vyjayanthi also supports the Learning Metric Task Force Learning Champions in Pakistan and advises 21 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa for Learning Assessments.