When I passed out of journalism school last June, pretty much with flying colors, I thought I was ready to take on the big bad fourth estate of India. And then I got my first ever assignment – an EdTech event, which ensured I knew that school was in fact just beginning.
Truth be told, I was trained in writing news to near perfection. And so, I wrote my first draft about this event, organized by the Central Square Foundation (CSF) on April 11, as a news item. That’s when I was told, it isn’t news if written the next day. Hence, the first-person account.
And so, I entered the gates of the India Habitat Centre in south Delhi’s Lodhi Road area for the CSF Education Conclave 2023 without a clue what to expect. Later, I learned that EdTech in India is a $750 million industry, expected to reach a staggering $4 billion by 2025.
I knew I had entered the big-time game.
The air, complete with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, was buzzing with excitement and anticipation. Food stalls, serving a variety of lip-smacking local delicacies, were lined up like it was a festival of sorts. The invitees – almost 200 high-profile educators, policymakers and innovators – had come together to discuss the most pressing issues facing India’s education system. The atmosphere was electric. I knew, something special was about to unfold.
The event began with a warm welcome address by CSF’s CEO Shaveta Sharma-Kukreja, who set the tone for the day by emphasizing the importance of foundational literacy and numeracy skills among students and how technology can be leveraged to enhance learning outcomes. Following this, a panel discussion ensued on mainstreaming conversations on state-level reforms for strengthening these skills in children. The panel comprised of experts like IAS officers Dr. Anshaj Singh, Lokesh Jangid, Sourav Banerjee, and Karuna Vakati.
Dr. Anshaj Singh of Haryana’s Department of Education spoke about the measures adopted by the state of Haryana to improve governance and monitoring for the NIPUN Bharat Mission, an Indian government initiative to improve the efficiency and learning skills of children. For example, a child should be able to read at least 60 words a minute of a comprehensive text accurately after passing class 3. The discussion then moved to ways to effectively implement the mandates laid out in the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 as well as the NIPUN Bharat Mission.
But clearly, the highlight of the event was the unveiling of an independently conducted first-of-its-kind household survey on EdTech products called “BaSE: Bharat Survey for EdTech,” which covered some 10,000 children across six states between November 2022 and January 2023, and was unanimously labelled a stepping stone for all stakeholders to create a conducive EdTech environment that works towards strengthening the quality of education in India.