The Triple Bottom Line in India: Software, Quality Education, and Early Learning | Beth’s Blog

The Triple Bottom Line in India: Software, Quality Education, and Early Learning

Civil Society 2.0, CSR

Visiting the Sujaya School with Rufina Fernandez

After I finished teaching an intensive Networked NGO workshop for Packard family planning grantees in Delhi,  I headed to Bangalore to visit my friend and colleague, Rufina Fernandes where I conducted a social media workshop for staff and teachers and got see a start up education  company and its CSR program, close up.  I met Rufina in 2008 in Australia when I keynoted the Connecting Up Conference and taught social media workshops for NGOs.  At the time, Rufina was the CEO of Nasscom Foundation and transforming the nonprofit technology sector with her incredible networking, scaling, and capacity building skills.

She again invited me to present at the Nasscom NILF Conference in 2010 and teach workshops.  One of things that struck me about India and it still resonated during my last visit – is how businesses, individuals, and nonprofit blend their strategies for making social change.     Rufina’s new job is working for an education software start up that is developing operational software for schools   It is called:   EnTeEf: “Enabling Teachers’ Effectiveness “ in classrooms. www.enteef.com.

But it isn’t a software being developed in a vacuum.  It is being beta tested as part of a new model of high quality education in schools called: Sujaya : India’s 1st K-12 Hybrid CBSE Schools www.sujayaschools.com.    The school’s curriculum is based on Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences theory.

Here’s the third rung of this strategy.   It comes from Klay, India’s 1st NAEYC-USA compliant Chain of Prep Schools www.klayschools.com.   One of the first schools was launched in Bangalore, catering to working parents in its technology industry who are seeking high quality pre-school.      The profits from the daycare support the school.  I was invited to teach an informal social media workshop for the staff, including the IT staff for the Sujaya school, Vijayanand Rao, who is a fellow from  TeachforIndia.

This start up has a triple bottom line and is the vision of founder and CEO Priya Krishnan – a woman who is passionate about high quality education and technology.

The essence of this start-up (it’s not a software startup) is that Klay School profits support the Sujaya School plan and the software Enteef is being developed as a product that enables scale and an exit to attract private capital.

At the Sujaya School, I visited a second grade art class.  They were busy drawing planets or rockets.   The teacher introduced me as a visitor from America and asked if there the children wanted to ask me any questions.   The first set of questions were typical for 7 or 8 eight year olds, asked in perfect English:  ”What’s your favorite color?,”   “Where do you live in the US?”     I drew a map on the black board of the US and showed them California.  This prompted some amazing questions for children that age anywhere:

  • How many jets did you take to get to India?
  • How deep is the Pacific Ocean?
  • How many beaches does America have?

I also visited the sixth grade class.  They start the day with a student posting an inspirational quote on the board.   I observed a lesson nutrition and healthy eating.    The teacher invited the students to quiz me on what I had eaten over the last couple of days and got feedback about whether I was eating from the right food groups!

The school has an emphasis on movement and learning.   In the green courtyard, there was physical education class where they teaching the kids to do stretches and exercises.    Movement is also in the classroom – for example, this hop scotch board to learn spelling.

The curriculum integrates the use of technology, for all aspects of instruction and managing the school.   There are computers and large monitors in each classroom, Internet access, and of course, the software development.

One thing that I loved was the playground.  It was designed for learning – almost like an exhibits at any children’s museum in the US.   Each slide, swing, or sand box had lessons in math, english, geography, or other subjects integrated.

My favorite was the world time zone calculator.  You turn the globe to any time and see what time it is another part of the world compared to India.   I would love to have a smaller version of this on my desk when scheduling meetings with folks across time zones.

I look forward to seeing how this start up transforms early childhood education in India.  Stay tuned.

 

14 Responses

  1. Susan Zoll says:

    Thank you for sharing! I look forward to learning more about India’s goals regarding early childhood education.
    Regards,
    Susan Zoll
    Early Childhood Education
    Wheelock College
    Boston, MA

  2. Beth says:

    Hi Susan:

    The kids were amazing! Howard Gardner had visited the school – the curriculum is based on his work. The question the kids asked him? “How come you are so smart?”

  3. Dayne Martin says:

    Seems an exciting and progressive environment for a child to grow up/be educated in! Wish I had that interesting type of playground as a child!

  4. John Christian says:

    Hi,
    We run a school in Mahabalipuram in TN. We like to get connected and like to know more about.
    Thanks for the info
    John

  5. Thanks for the great post. its very informative post.By this post I get great knowledge.

  6. Vijayanand says:

    Dear Beth,
    Thank you for taking out time to visit our school and providing valuable information on technology and social media.
    I was smiling at many places when i was reading the blog.

  7. Vijayanand says:

    Dear John Christian,
    I am Vijayanand, i work with the Sujaya School, Bangalore. Thank you for your interest towards the school. I think it will be a good platform for both of us to connect. you can reach me at vijayanand.rao(at)vbhces.com

  8. Dear Friends,
    Am so excited about the post- what a beautiful curriculum. Am from Ghana. I am putting things in place to start a pre-school in a few months and would like to learn more about your school. Thank you.

  9. Francess says:

    Early experiences and the environments in which children develop in their earliest years can have lasting impact on later success in school and life. Barriers to children’s educational achievement start early, and continue to grow without intervention. Differences in the size of children’s vocabulary first appear at 18 months of age, based on whether they were born into a family with high education and income or low education and income.I am glad that you have just captured one of the five numbers to remember in children’s development.

  10. Bharati says:

    Bharani is a NGO working for the upliftment of poor children in Village Hariharpur,24 South Parganas,West Bengal.We have just started a pre-school for 100 children and would love to adopt your beautiful curriculum.

  11. Thank you for introducing this school. We shall get in touch with them to learn more. We too run an Early Childhood Education programme in Phaltan, Western Maharashtra. ours is a vernacular school experimenting in the field of ECE. We also have a well stocked library of books on ECE. Visitors are always welcome.

    regards,

    Manjiri

  12. We were very fortunate to have Beth visit us and see some of the work done by a dedicated team of curriculum experts, teachers and the students themselves. The students are so dedicated that despite being from non-english speaking backgrounds, they make concerted efforts to speak and communicate in English.

    We will be happy to organise a visit to the school for anyone who may be interested. Drop me an email at rufina(dot)fernandes(at)vbhces(dot)com.

    Thanks Beth for capturing the essence of our efforts in Klay and Sujaya Schools and Enteef as well.

  13. Beth says:

    Rufina: Thanks for sharing the amazing school with them .. the highlight of my trip to Bangalore

  14. Srikanth says:

    Beth : It was great to get your practical tips and insight in to approaching and making Social media work for us. Time well spent… Thanks