Enabling Collaborative Learning
Updated: Jul 15
Over the last decade and a half, a considerable emphasis has been placed on acquiring, developing and improving effective leadership tiers across the globe. Essentially to address the predominant challenges of the world and education has been a crucial concern in the scheme of development, especially in developing countries like India.
Over the last couple of years, the critical challenge of education inequity in India has become broader and complex than before. School closure sent millions of children out of classrooms depriving them of a safe, enriching learning environment. The learning loss has had a deeper impact on those dependent on the government education institutions.
In times like these, what is our best hope? What can be a key lever to turn the situation around at scale?
The answer undoubtedly remains - “Invested community of leaders in education”. Over the last 10 years, Mantra4Change has reached over 284000 education leaders at school, district and state levels like Headmasters, cluster resource persons, block education officers, district mentors, state resource groups and more alike to create a movement of education leaders committed and skilled to transform education landscape of India. Our key focus has been on co-creating effective practices and solutions with education leaders to address challenges on ground contextually. Our aspiration has been to bring outstanding sustainability of such leaders while simultaneously causing growth in their numbers through capacity building.
Our 3 year long intervention in Punjab has been in collaboration with Sanjhi Sikhiya, Samarthya and Shikshalokam of the Punjab Education Collective. From being the 13th on Performance Grading Index in 2019 to ranking 1st in National Achievement Survey, 2021, the evolution of Punjab’s education landscape has been appreciable.
An extraordinary testimonial of our collaboration with States emerged recently when a committed group of officials from SCERT-Punjab visited our Bangalore office to engage with the larger team, our partners, patrons and their contemporaries from Karnataka Education Department. The key objectives for the visit were:
a. To explore the key initiatives of Department of School Education Research and training, Karnataka DSERT towards quality education, teacher - mentorship, teacher education and capacity building and towards attaining SDG goals.
b. To explore the best practices in FLN across states
c. To explore strategic collaborations with external organisations.
d. To understand the initiatives taken by DIETs and Block Resource Centres to support schools at district and block levels
This unique initiative brought to light a few key non-negotiables to build effective leadership tiers:
Continuous Learning: The team exhibited extraordinary sense of will - to reflect on their practices, policies, interventions and impact and the muscle to design improvements at self, school and state levels. Some spaces that amplified continuous learning during the exposure visit were interaction with officials of DSERT, Karnataka to understand their key focus areas, goals etc. An open discussion with Mr S.D Shibulal and Mrs Kumari Shibulal, Trustees of Shibulal Family Philanthropic Initiatives was also arranged to look at the support they can extend for Punjab’s Education.
Collaboration : The most inspiring highlight of the team’s visit was the cross-learning space created between Tumkur-DIET & Anekal - Block. The interaction between the state officials conclusively testified the importance of “Enabling a community of leaders” who are curious to know about various approaches being taken across states and are willing to learn from them. There was also a visit arranged to Akshara Foundation to understand their literacy and numeracy initiatives.
Corrective Action: If there is one thing that is common across invested leaders other than their vision to transform the system it is - Honest communication about their current capacity and active seeking of support. The visit enabled both the state teams to take back the observations & learning to try differently. Cross - learning was evident in the interaction between the stakeholders of both Karnataka and Punjab, opening the possibility of more such interaction and evidence in future.
The team members who have spent couple of years at MANTRA have a saying -
“Mantra isn’t just an organisation, it is the idea that one committed, enabled and empowered leader can transform hundreds of lives”
The intent to engage deeply and evolve exponentially in the state education leaders is a proof point of Mantra’s core belief system.
As we begin yet another year of working with outstanding leaders, let this be a reminder of the immense possibilities of growth in the education space.