Monday, March 29, 2010

Premji foundation's audacious goals

Education sector is experiencing interesting changes. Several NGOs are putting in efforts to bring about change in the education sector by approaching the problem in ways they deem appropriate. Some of these efforts have potential to be scaled up while some others may not be able to run too far.

As the country meets the challenge of poor quality education posed by the 21st century economic growth of the country, we realize that the solutions sought would need to come from BHAG (big hairy audacious goals) the way Jim Collins puts in his book- Good to Great.

Amongst the players in NGOs who are really trying to make an impact at a large level, the Azim Premji foundation comes across as a clear player to be taken really seriously. Check this out.

This group is starting a university to develop teachers who can take the challenge of educating the less privileged who pose a unique plethora of issues to grapple with both for the educators and also for the administrators. This foundation which consciously avoided getting into the implementation mode of NGOs and focussed more on trying to influence policy at the State level. This decision of starting an education university is a distillation of the efforts gone in research and deliberation with various experts both from the government and outside it.Their understanding (which looks fairly appropriate) is that without good teachers we can't move much further in this direction.

It is getting more and more evident that the solution will not come from the HRD Ministry till we don't have the requisite political will (though Kapil Sibal is trying really hard) across all levels of education delivery. The challenge comes mainly from the fact that education policy unlike infrastructure development doesn't get translated in the same vein in which it is planned out mainly because of the nature of this service. Its not like you budget for 10 million vaccinations and you role it out and get polio eradicated. Making a person think and act responsibly is a far too complex a challenge. A paucity of funds at either the state or center level can downrail the best of the plans drafted at the Yojna Bhavan.

Thus projects which are really ambitious and which are backed by really able people can probably bring about impact much faster than the pace that we are otherwise used to.

Best wishes to this foundation for its audacity.

For further views on education you can check out my other blog

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