I explained a bit more about CCS and my first day here; essentially my morning was spent working on background research and reading about the school closures. It is great to have a space to work on these details and to get suggestions from the others working on similar education projects for CCS. They are a wealth of information and assistance!
The afternoon was spent with Absolute Return for Kids (ARK). This organization runs 34 schools in the UK and just launched this program for the first time in Delhi this school year. They have partnered with the government to provide more educational opportunities and improved performance and accountability at government schools. Yes, you read that right, the almighty PPP at work! That’s public-private partnership for those that haven’t been studying development for the last several months 😉 The structure is really quite appealing to me.
After finishing up at CCS I made my way over to the ARK offices to meet my classmates and talk with a representative from ARK as well as another graduate student who will be spending 3 months helping and observing at the school. They ordered us an amazing lunch and spent some time chatting with us about the process of how this program started, what model was used and how they were planning to implement it year by year. Their long term goal is to open 20 high-performing schools in India by 2020, serving the poorest children in communities by offering a fee-free, high quality schooling option to these families. Check out more about ARK.
We got back to the hotel with a bit of time to clean up and then we went out to dinner with one of our professors from first semester, Sugata Mitra and his wife. You may know him from his TedTalk fame. He won the Ted award in 2013 and it is worth checking out if you have any interest at all in education, technology, or new ways of thinking about old systems. Dr. Mitra has been busy taking the “Granny’s” on tour in India. The Granny Cloud has been around since 2009 and they are a group of retired teachers that have been selected to be part of the learning experience of students in SOLEs. He was gracious enough to take some time out of his busy schedule after hosting the granny’s to come out and chat with us over a drink. It was a great way to cap off our first Monday night in Delhi.