Women in India: Negotiating Tradition and Modernity
Keynote Speaker: Harleen Singh, Associate Professor of Literature, Women’s and Gender Studies, and South Asian Studies, Brandeis University
Closing speaker: Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at the Harvard Business School and Director of the Harvard South Asia Institute
Established in 2008, Educators for Teaching India (EFTI) is a group of secondary school educators dedicated to deepening our own knowledge of India and to exploring India’s role in school curricula. The organization includes teachers in public and private schools as well as educators in supporting academic institutions.
Professor Anil Gupta, founder of the Honey Bee Network, will deliver a talk titled “India Changing: searching and supporting innovation insurgents.” The talk will focus on the ecosystem of inclusive innovations emerging in India, with global implications. There will be examples from five focii of innovations: children, tech students, informal sector, professionals and public systems.
While much international attention has been paid to the recent rapid rise of China and India in economic terms, there has been relatively little focus on their efforts in the equally critical domain of developing human capabilities through the provision of basic education and adult literacy. China and India both emerged as sovereign nations in the mid-twentieth century with roughly comparable levels of literacy but have since followed distinctive approaches to education.This talk will examine and compare the progress and identify challenges in these domains within the framework of Education for All (EFA), a global agenda launched at Jomtien in 1990 and reaffirmed in Dakar in 2000.
Abhimanyu Singh is Director of the UNESCO Office Beijing and UNESCO Representative to the PRC, DRK, Japan, Mongolia and the Republic of Korea. From 2006 to 2008, Singh served as Director of the UNESCO Office in Abuja, Nigeria. From 2001 to 2006 he led the global coordination and monitoring of the Education for All (EFA) movement at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. From 1974-2000, as a member of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), the premier civil service of the country, Singh held key leadership positions at various levels of National and Provincial Governments. He chaired the global drafting committee at the World Education Forum at Dakar in 2000.As a mid-career professional he was a Hubert Humphrey Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh, USA
John Wood,founder and board co-chair of Room to Read
Chair: Fernando Reimers, Ford Foundation Professor of International Education and Director of Global Education and of International Education Policy at Harvard University
Over 60 million primary school-aged children around the world do not have access to education and most likely will never learn to read or write. Room to Read believes that all children, regardless of gender or background, have a right to education. By empowering children through this lifelong gift, we see a world in which people are able to realize their full potential.
Lant Pritchett, Professor of the Practice of International Development, Harvard Kennedy School
Discussant: Akshay Mangla, Assistant Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
Cosponsored with the International Education Policy program at Harvard Graduate School of Education
Despite great progress around the world in getting more kids into schools, too many leave without even the most basic skills. In India’s rural Andhra Pradesh, for instance, only about one in twenty children in fifth grade can perform basic arithmetic. The problem is that schooling is not the same as learning. In his new book The Rebirth of Education, Lant Pritchett uses two metaphors from nature to explain why. The first draws on Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom’s book about the difference between centralized and decentralized organizations, The Starfish and the Spider. Schools systems tend be centralized and suffer from the limitations inherent in top-down designs. The second metaphor is the concept of isomorphic mimicry. Pritchett argues that many developing countries superficially imitate systems that were successful in other nations— much as a nonpoisonous snake or butterfly mimics the look of a poisonous one.
Pritchett argues that the solution is to allow functional systems to evolve locally out of an environment pressured for success. Such an ecosystem needs to be open to variety and experimentation, locally operated, and flexibly financed. The only main cost is ceding control; the reward would be the rebirth of education suited for today’s world.
Innovation in Education: Lessons for Entrepreneurship in Pakistan
Fernando Reimers, Ford Foundation Professor of International Education; Director of Global Education and of International Education Policy
Imran Sarwar, Co-Founder, Rabtt; MPP Class of 2013, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
The third Video Conference of the new SAI Series of Webinars focused on ‘Innovation in Education: Lessons for Entrepreneurship in Pakistan’. Professor Fernando Reimers, Ford Foundation Professor of International Education and Director of Global Education and of International Education Policy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Imran Sarwar, Co-Founder, Rabtt (Connection); MPP Class of 2013, Harvard Kennedy School of Government led the discussion with academic sites across Pakistan. In addition, for the first time a Facebook event for the Webinar attracted 120 people to virtually attend the event – our partner, Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission provided a live web link for online streaming so that the discussion was available to anyone with an internet connection.
Professor Reimers started his presentation on ‘Educating to Change the World’ with acknowledging how much education has changed over the last 25 years – the very fact of the Video Conference itself through which sites were virtually connected is a demonstration of how much technology has enhanced access around the world. He said we are in a new era in history when instead of top-down planning individuals and small groups of people are taking on big challenges – it’s a time of great potential change. He spoke of the fact that we need to move from teaching low-level cognitive skills that had been the focus of much formal education in the past to higher level leadership skills for the 21st century by developing adaptable skills to apply knowledge and learning in new ways. He spoke of the great work of Injaz al-Arab under the visionary leadership of Soraya Salti that he has been helping evaluate over the last 2 years and the phenomenal outcomes of the program in developing a sense of agency in youth and the ability to see challenges as opportunities. He also spoke of the ability inherent in all of us to teach and that we can’t expect professional teachers to bear all the burdens of teaching – he exhorted the audience to action. In reply to a twitter question about encouraging business and academia linkages, he spoke of an example from Monterey, Mexico about an innovative approach taken by a University president who asked local government and business leaders how his institution could help them grow – he then led the change to respond to those social demands – exactly the kind of model higher education needs to move towards to be a center for development and innovation in the 21st century.
Imran Sarwar spoke of his experiences along with a friend and colleague from LUMS, Aneeq Ahmed Cheema when they formed Rabtt in the summer of 2011. Listening to his personal story of how he managed family and social expectations in going down his chosen and unconventional path to make a start at changing the reality of children who attend public sector schools was heartening. He exhorted would-be entrepreneurs to not wait to start till conditions were perfect or support was forthcoming – he said, start now and you’ll attract people who think like you to join your work – and that money and finances will also flow to the work you start! He spoke of how privileged children from elite schools live in their bubbles while children in public sector schools are very street smart. Rabtt is working on connecting these two worlds. Professor Reimers reiterated that a progressive society must be more equitable and heartily endorsed Imran’s efforts –at the end he asked us all to free ourselves from toxic mentalities and begin to take responsibility to change social conditions – now!
Mariam Chughtai (doctoral candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education) ably moderated the Videoconference and handled switching between different sites enabled by HEC’s Virtual Education Project and Erum Sattar (doctoral candidate at Harvard Law School) moderated an active twitter feed on: #SAIEdInnovation
Innovation in Education
Photos from the video conference discussion on lessons for entrepreneurship in Pakistan.
Co-sponsored with the Harvard Pakistan Student Group
Education as a Marketplace: What Entrepreneurs can Learn from Research on Pakistan’s Education Sector
Asim Khwaja, Professor of Public Policy, Sumitomo-Foundation for Advanced Studies on International Development, Professor of International Finance and Development. Faculty chair of the MPA/ID program, Harvard Kennedy School
Mariam Chughtai, Doctoral Candidate, Harvard Graduate School of Education
In the fourth and final Video Conference for the academic year, Professor Asim Khwaja and Mariam Chughtai engaged in a lively discussion across sites in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Meena Hewett, SAI Executive Director, welcomed the participants and thanked the Aman Foundation, the Higher Education Commission and the Harvard Pakistan Student Group for their contributions during the year in enabling this new SAI series of Video Conferences across the South Asian region.
Mariam Chughtai presented her doctoral research on the politics of identity formation via the curriculum and then Professor Khwaja gave an overview of his research on Pakistan’s Education sector – he moved quickly to a thoroughly engaging discussion and Q&A session with the diverse audience making it clear at the start that many in the audience such as academics at the Aga Khan University’s Institute for Educational Development (AKU-IED) were incredibly informed participants so he wanted to engage in a genuine dialogue with them.
The questions and comments came from Video Conference sites across Pakistan and via an active Twitter feed. As one participant later shared thoughts on the value of the Video Conference, ‘The session was very informative and enlightening. Response to audience’s question was elaborative and I found it quite educative’, Muhammad Memon, The Hamid al Din al Kirmani Professor, AKU-IED.
We look forward to a new series of Video Conferences beginning in Fall 2013 and for enabling the presentation and wide sharing of research findings of Harvard academics across South Asia.
Indian Education As Seen By An American Educator on His First Trip To India
Howard Gardner, Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Chair: Tarun Khanna,Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School and Director of the South Asia Initiative
In January-February 2012, accompanied by his wife Ellen Winner and his son Andrew Gardner, both educators, Howard Gardner, Professor of Cognition and Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education made a seven city, three and one half week trip to India. Gardner will speak informally about his impressions of precollegiate education in India, a collaboration that he and his team are carrying out with a chain of schools across India, and some aspects of education in which India differs from China and the US. Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at Harvard Business School and Director of SAI, will chair the event.
Keynote Speaker: Ananya Vajpeyi, Author of Righteous Republic: The Political Foundations of Modern India,
Associate Fellow, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi,
Senior, American Institute of Indian Studies
Educators for Teaching India in conjunction with The Winsor School, Phillips Academy and The Groton SchoolFor more information and to register: http://www.teachingindia.org/For more information about this event, click here.
On May 8, the South Asia Institute at Harvard University (SAI) and the Central Square Foundation (CSF) convened a group of high-level stakeholders for a roundtable discussion to shape and commit on the agenda for forging linkages between education reformers in the US and in India focused on improving learning outcomes for children. The program was part of a multi-year effort to strengthen the linkages between education reformers in both the US, India and other countries working to improve educational outcomes at a systemic level. Entrepreneurs who are working at the community level, private philanthropists funding innovation and research and the academics performing this research met to establish a framework for learning and building innovative structures. A central tension in our discussions was: how to achieve excellent learning outcomes at a level of scale that impacts millions of children; how do we balance “excellence” with the pressing need “to scale”?
An Overview of India’s Educational Landscape
Overview – Karthik Murlidharan, Assistant Professor of Economics at University of California, San Diego
India’s educational system is failing its children, and the implications for economic development are significant. In the past ten years Government of India spending on education has grown and the results are discouraging; while enrollment levels have improved, students’ learning outcomes are dismal. What are the structural changes that might improve learning in both the public sponsored schools and the private sector ones? How do we frame and sequence the social investment to accomplish this?
What Do We Know and What Do We Need to Know?
Moderator –Fernando Reimers, Ford Foundation Professor of International Education and Director of Global Education and of International Education Policy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education
Panel: Abhijit Banerjee, MIT, Abdul Latif Jamal Poverty Action Lab; Ashish Dhawan, CEO and Founder, Central Square Foundation and Felipe Barrera-Osorio, Assistant Professor of Education and Economics, Harvard Graduate School of Education
What evidence do we have, and what evidence do we need to generate to inform the design and content of this social investment strategy. Educators in India have worked on many levels and across many frontiers to promote improved learning outcomes. Non – profit service providers and philanthropic groups have developed a myriad of interventions; what works and what doesn’t? Looking ahead, where do we need to place our investments to generate the insights and findings that will influence policy makers? Are there important lessons from outside of India that can be applied?
What Are the Critical Questions We Can Discern from the US Education Reform Movement?
Moderator –Tarun Khanna, Director, South Asia Institute, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School
Panel: Tom Haslett, Central Square Foundation; Stig Leschly, CEO, Match Education; Jacqueline Bhabha, Executive Director Harvard University Committee on Human Rights Studies
The education reform movements outside of India have taken different directions and each offers some insight to efforts in India. The US offers many such important lessons for the emerging education reform movement in India. As we consider the past 20 years here in the US, can we apply “lessons learned” to the Indian context? What are the critical questions that we should pursue?:
What is more important “excellence” or “scale” in program? What is the best application of philanthropic capital: research, pilot stage intervention or scaling programs with promise? How do you support advocacy efforts? If you could restart education reform in the US with 20 years of perspective, what would you do differently?