The afternoon of 22nd April, 2015 in Vivanta by Taj was buzzing with activity. After all, READ Alliance was organizing its inaugural â€˜READ Connect 2015: Invest in Childrenâ€™ event. An occasion to mark the winners of Early Grade Reading Innovation Challenge, 2014 (EGRIC, 14); a time to showcase READ Allianceâ€™s journey since its inception; an initiative to foster multi-stakeholder partnerships and what the program plans to do in the near future.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Center for Knowledge Societies (CKS), very happily announced the three winners of the EGRIC, 14. Mr. John A. Beed, Mission Director, USAID and Aditya Dev Sood, CEO, CKS presented the awards and congratulated the three winners: Centre for Learning Resources, Quality Education Support Trust and Karadi Path Education Company.
Dr. Aditya Dev Sood, CEO, CKS, delivered the opening remarks where he mentioned the need for innovative programming and strong partnerships to harbor a change in the reading capacity of children. This was followed by a presentation led by Ms. Nita Aggarwal, Project Director, READ Alliance on the early reading scenario in India. Another highlight of the event was a panel discussion on the role of multi-stakeholder partnerships to transform early grade reading in India. The panelists comprised eminent people like Ms. Sonia Srivastava, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Head-South Asia, Intel Foundation; Mr. Navdeep Singh, Head CSR and Public Policy, Essar Foundation; Ms. Lovleen Kacker, CSR Head, Tech Mahindra Foundation; Mr. Avinash Mishra, Senior Portfolio Associate, Acumen Fund; Mr. Dhir Jhingran, Senior Adviser-Education, UNICEF-India and moderated by Ms. Anupana Rajaraman, Director, Office of Partnerships for Innovation, USAID.
Announcing the awards, USAID/India Mission Director John A. Beed, said, â€œUSAID believes that together, we can identify, support, and scale new and promising Indian innovations that will benefit children in India and around the world. The READ Alliance is making great strides in establishing partnerships to further early grade reading.â€
Dr. Aditya Dev Sood, CEO, CKS said, “I’m really proud of the winners this year, but this is just the beginning. We’re looking forward to some really breakthrough educational innovations and technologies coming out of the READ Alliance in the coming year.”
The first winner, the Centre for Learning Resources, will support improved language skills for 36,000 children from tribal communities. Their program uses bilingual â€“ home language and school language â€“ audio-visual materials; it requires minimal teacher input and offers great potential for the program to expand in the coming years, reaching many more children.Â The second winner, the Quality Education Support Trust will improve the language skills of more than 7,000 children from tribal communities and transition students from their home language to Marathi. Finally, Karadi Path Education Companywill improve English learning at grade level for more than 30,000 urban poor children from predominantly non-English speaking environments. Their proprietary approach uses stories, music, and classroom activities to enhance learning.
The Read â€“ Engage â€“ Achieve â€“ Dream (READ) Alliance is a $3.2 million initiative to help improve the reading skills of millions of primary school age children in India.Â READ Alliance will continue looking for new avenues of partnerships to carry out innovative strategies and programs across various operational areas.
Till then, letâ€™s innovate, letâ€™s collaborate, letâ€™s READ.
Disclaimer: The views expressed are author’s personal opinion and do not reflect the views of USAID.