Seven decades into independence, India continues to chase the elusive dream of equity in education. In a country of 22 Crore school-going students, 77% of third graders can’t even read books of their previous grades. While we have done exceedingly well in being able to take our children to school, we are yet to guarantee quality education to them.
There is no one solution – a silver bullet – to solve the spectrum of educational problems facing India. We need unique, localized solutions.
When local change leaders, who have a deep understanding of their context and knowledge of educational change, will start collaborating and interacting with each other across the country, the ideas would get cross-pollinated and multiple approaches to finding solutions would evolve.
“Each one of us can make a difference. Together we make a change.”
Keeping this vision in mind, the 3rd Bootcamp for the first cohort of Edumentum kicked off with a bang.
On the 1st Day with Nagaraja Prakasam Sir, a versatile and passionate leader with 2+ decades of global experience, we experienced what it means to be a changemaker. We recognised that in order to bring an irreplaceable impact a systemic change is important and that the path to big systemic change is collective action. The next session by Sucheta Bhatt ma’am( CEO of Dream a Dream), helped us understand the power of collaboration. Collaboration is penetrating every institution and all of our lives. It is part of equipping yourself for effectiveness, problem-solving, innovation and life-long learning. We also understood that Sincere and generous collaboration is the best way to achieve great collective goals for the common good and the general interest.
“Collaboration is not an activity but an act of being”
We dwelled in the basics of Corporate compliance and Reporting with Priyanka Ma’am who is a Senior Implementation Consultant at Wells Fargo. She made us think, write and look with an eye of discernment towards report preparation and presentation.
“Reporting is like a bigger slice of the cake. It should appear true to what you are doing. It should be easy to understand, should talk about the change which happened and in the same sense be comprehensive.”
Post Lunch we started the design of our Long-term and short-term goals with lots of sharing of information and knowledge and perspective. Sometimes we are so convinced of what we might be doing, that we don’t see what we’re meant to do and so the strategy session by Daya Kori Ma’am was focused around a lot of searching, thinking and planning on what we intend to achieve.
“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”
As the day ended and the night set in all of us returned back knowing that a lot more is going to happen in coming days.
The next few days were spent extensively on Program theory and planning. One of the things that got me interested was the relationship between Measurement and evaluation. We spent our time on the things that are really important: setting priorities, measuring outcomes. What outcome did we want? How did we want the story to end? What will be our success criteria?
If the result confirms the hypothesis, then you’ve made a measurement. If the result is contrary to the hypothesis, then you’ve made a discovery and so you need to evaluate that as well.
In the subsequent days, we made a small journey of self-improvement as well where we understood that Leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It’s about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences really matter.
“Leaders must be close enough to relate to others.”
We worked together and then kicked back after work sharing our experiences and building a community that allowed hard questions and honest conversations while sharing a lot of emotions over Morning breakfasts, Dinner talks and during the program designing sessions.
We also connected and created experiences in the Maker’s Lab where a lot of everyday materials like strays, ice cream sticks were used to create experiences to teach concepts to the kids.
Towards the end of the boot camp, we had a delightful evening having Lunch at our mentor Sanjay Sir’s place where we talked about the change we are trying to bring. We were treated to a sing-a-long by sir himself and we all were so pleased that we managed to brighten the day by singing along.
So thanks a lot EDUMENTUM for making us a part of it. We are fortunate, to say the least.
Special thanks to Poonam, Rucha, and Aileen for planning it in such a beautiful way and give us a lot of memories!
*Edumentum is an initiative of Advaith Foundation, managed by Mantra4Change which provides incubation support to early-stage social entrepreneurs working to bring about a systemic transformation in the education system.