We are a non-government initiative by a group of professionals – teachers, engineers, doctors, economists, filmmakers, businessmen, entrepreneurs, IT experts, bankers and scientists:
All of us have had reasonably good education and we are thankful for that. We know what difference does a good education make in the growth and success of an individual, especially in a place like India. Unfortunately, and ironically, we are also aware that something as basic and fundamental as a good education is a huge privilege and a blessing in our country, and that’s a pity. We know that, thus privileged, we are among a small minority, but for some reason that exclusivity perturb us. We would rather have these privileges shared and spread far and wide.We will see to it that there are no untouchables in education, especially school education. For that alone will give us peace, no less.
Well placed professionally and economically and often living in big cities, we ensure that our children go to best schools, which they often do. In doing so, they get perhaps the best schooling India has to offer. But these children – our children – make less than 5% of the population of school age children in the country. As for the rest 95%, it’s an entirely different story… And that story is not elegant.
The problems with school education in India are well documented. The infrastructure is shoddy, the resources are inadequate, the syllabi and curriculums are dated even as we have to contend with 28 languages.
To top it all, the quality of instruction (when available) is extremely poor. As per various estimates, we need about 7.0 Million schoolteachers in India and we are short by 1.5-2.0 Million. But those are just the numbers. The actual number of GOOD teachers would be disturbingly fewer, maybe not even 10% (unqualified guesstimate).
It is not as if nothing is happening. One can see a change. Awareness has increased. Even the people with limited means make sacrifices to ensure that their children go to school and get the right education. Right to education has come, all large business houses are investing in education, about 1000 NGOs big and small are involved in front-end of delivery and all technology is focusing on education as a vertical.
Yet our results are unenviable – whether we take the much talked about PISA rankings or the low gross enrolment ratios (<20%).
It is practically impossible to bridge these gaps overnight. Even if we start the teaching reforms today – to attract talent into teaching profession and to adequately train them, and the rest – even then it will take years to see tangible results.
What do we do till then? What do our 95% kids do till then? Right to Education is good. But right to education cannot guarantee right education automatically and immediately. We surely seem to be missing something basic here?
We often feel that our job is to take a child to school (and make him stay there) or vice-versa, and the rest will automatically follow. It is somewhat like making a dish as per our own imagination and tastes, and serving it to others ASSUMING that they will love it, get hooked on to it and would want more! We focus too much on what to teach and how to reach, and too little on who we reach and how we teach.
Myth 2 : Technology will solve all problems.
V-SAT, broadband internet, cheap tablets & 3G smartphones can only facilitate reach. The question is what do we have to offer once we do reach? Will scanned PDF files of course material and solved answer sheets hosted on websites do the trick? Would a didactic approach, though laced with graphical content supported by swanky English voiceovers, work for our 95% children with clear English handicap? Experience indicates that technology is a huge facilitator but not a solution in or by itself.
Myth 3 : What worked elsewhere can also be made to work here.
Across industries and areas, successful models the world over have found it difficult to work in India, and education is no exception. The fact remains that nowhere in the world was there ever a need to teach so many, spread across such a diverse socio-economic, cultural and linguistic landscape with so much of urgency. It is a huge and complex problem. We need innovative solutions, India centric solutions, and we have to find them ourselves.
Myth 4 : Students today learn as they always did in the past.
The young and the going-to-be-young-soon generation learn differently than their fathers did. They learn through digital media (TV, Google, Wikipedia, You Tube, Films, gaming, mobile downloads), through multi-sensory and interactive graphic content, from peers through FB, Twitter, other social networks. They learn by experimentation, engagement, trial & error and want to control learning environment and pace. They are telling us – “Don’t tell me right and wrong… Let me do and figure out myself!”
But we are still in the telling mode. We feel that we know what needs to be told and are busy pushing it. We squabble on which cartoon should or should not go into a particular textbook when the kids are not even interested in books!
It is time we re-examined and transformed both, the role of the teacher and the modes of teaching.
At SSA, our dream is to impact quality, affordability and access of school education in India by bringing about innovation in content and delivery models using our proven technology and design. Through our team of experts, we intend to draw from the best educational and pedagogical thought to develop innovative and powerful teaching solutions of all India impact and relevance.
The first project in which class 6th to 10th Maths curriculum will be translated into multi-lingual, video based modules, and made available FREE on SSA website for the students has already begun. The idea is to provide access to world class quality instruction and guidance in Maths to students who cant get it because of any reason, in a place close to them and in a language they can relate to...Read More
Who are confident that they can indeed develop such unprecedented, innovative and India-centric solutions.
The confidence comes from our experience with a unique design, which uses our Film Based Teaching Methodology (FBTM®) at its core and has proven to be highly effective and result-oriented...Read More
Our Core Innovation : FBTM®