Eduleader Bytes

Eduleader Bytes

Central Square Foundation, Delhi

What are the aims and objectives of the Central Square Foundation?
The long-term objective is to transform the quality of school education in India. Our immediate focus is on improving learning outcomes of children from low-income communities.

How best to upgrade government schools?
We have to hold them accountable for learning outcomes, and invest in training and developing school leaders and teachers.

Thinker/philosopher you admire the most.
Mahatma Gandhi.

Your favourite Nobel laureate.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Your leadership style.
Non-hierarchical, participative.

Your favourite book on education.
Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire by Rafe Esquith.

For or against a 25 percent reservation for underprivileged children in private schools?
In favour. Integrating children from different socio-economic backgrounds in early age is beneficial for their development. But reservation is not enough; additional support has to be provided to private schools by government and NGOs to enable this integration.

Should education outlay be doubled by cutting defence expenditure?

That’s unreleastic. We need to increase education expenditure as a percentage of GDP. But more important, we must obtain better outcomes from the money being spent currently.

How satisfied are you with the progress of Central Square?
I am happy with the progress made in our first year. We have met over 200 organisations in the school education space and made four investments — all not-for-profit — so far. We have also hosted public forums for international education reformers in India, created platforms to sensitise journalists to education-reform issues, and for school leaders to share best practices.

Pessimistic or optimistic about the future of education in India?
Hugely optimistic. As a country we are at an inflexion point. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan programme has improved enrolment in primaries to 97 percent. We now have to go after quality of learning with the same drive.