Linking Education, Learning and Development : Dr Anjlee Prakash, Learning Links Foundation, India

In conversation with Dr Anjlee Prakash, CEO, Learning Links Foundation, Yukti Pahwa, discovers about the flagship initiatives of the foundation for sustainable development, innovative education and strengthening the capacity building of professionals

What are the initiatives that Learning Links has taken in 2010? Kindly elaborate about the future initiatives.
2010 was a very exciting year for us. Learning  LinksFoundation launched 2 new initiatives namely the Center for Education of Sustainable Development and the Institute for Professional Development and Innovative Education. The Center for Education of Sustainable Development is working in three broad directions including citizenship education, environmental awareness and promotion of the entrepreneurial skill in students and youth. We hope to create a more inclusive society, aware of its responsibility towards the neighborhood, the community and the environment. We strongly feel that for India to succeed,
its youth must be responsible citizens in all spheres (community, environment and financial) to further students commitment for active citizenship and governance by developing and understanding on the importance of citizen participation. The Institute for Professional Development and Innovative Education has been developed to provide complete capacity building opportunities for professionals working in the education sector. Our content and curricula caters to school leaders, education stakeholders, teachers and student teachers. With our partners, the Foundation continued to support the enhancement of Math and Science learning using  21st Century methods and saw results of its programs in

“The Center for Education of Sustainable Development is working in three broad directions – citizenship education, environmental awareness and promotion of the entrepreneurial skill in students and youth”

the form of reduced absenteeism, increased enrollment and better grades amongst government schools. We launched a new partnership with Texas Instruments (TI) to launch an integrated classroom solution using TI devices with a specific requirement to improve mathematics and science learning by increasing opportunities for experiential learning. In an effort to provide creative use of technology to teachers, the foundation launched a successful partnership with Adobe to provide training to Government School teachers. The teachers responded with creativity, enthusiasm and have been using innovative techniques to engage with students.

The government is formulating plans around the issue of National Qualification Framework. What is your opinion about the same?

It is estimated that the projected top ten in demand jobs in 2010 did not exist in 2004, illustrating that work life as we know it is transforming at ever increasing
39 million students in India pass out from class 12, of which only one million get an opportunity to be empowered through vocational education. The framework may play a part in facilitating and shortening the process of access to the acquisition of qualifications by creating the basis for a precise description of learning requirements, learning level and learning provision and for making them reciprocal reference points

How is Learning Links Foundation unique or different from other
institutions in the same field?

Other than the competence dimensions, Learning Links places itself uniquely in a couple of areas which positions it distinctly. Firstly, its ability to provide effective solutions across education and development domains – including assessing needs, developing solution, building capacity, creating content, documenting impact, etc. Our services provide training, research, content curriculum, assessment, etc. Second, itsability to scale rapidly across geographies and to apply global programmes our local expertise, which are again process driven and quality conscious. Thirdly, our ability to develop programmes and provide services that aid and support the goals of all stakeholders involved. Our partners and our beneficiaries are equally important to us, hence our focus is on not only providing a solution, but ensuring it’s the best possible and most complete solution for all stakeholders concerned. We also pick right education transformation goals bringing clear synergies and better operation support to local regions.

What do you opine about the future of the education in context of ICT.

There is a massive demand for education in India and the demand is expected to grow strongly over the next decade. India has the world’s largest population in the age group of 0-24 years. This large pool will represent a large demand for
K-12 and higher education. The numbers of junior basic schools are higher in the country and there is a strong need to set up higher secondary schools as well as colleges with a focus on IT education. Government has advanced to a great extent in terms of promoting ICT in education, however, still more than 50% of the market is untapped which shows an opportunity for other stakeholders. In respect to the country’s population and number of student, trained teachers ratio is low which emphasises the need of training institutes. With economic growth and enhanced technology a lot more can be done in times to come to develop the structure of the Indian education sector. As I see it, the demand –supply gap will result in some very interesting ICT based innovations and solutions. Broadband deployment, advances in telephony, and advances in technology platforms will set the stage for interesting opportunities.The challenge will lie on how well the education sector responds to the possibilities, opportunities and solutions available.

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