TESS India bags Innovation Award

Tess IndiaTESS-India won the prestigious Innovation Award at the BOND International Development Awards 2015. Freda Wolfenden, Academic Director for TESS-India, and Fola Komolafe, Project Director for TESS-India, accepted the Innovation Award at a ceremony hosted by BOND – the UK membership body for organisations working in international development. The award showcases innovative approaches to a complex and changing external environment, and celebrates international civil society organisations that are thriving in a world of rapid change.

“This is a proud moment for the entire TESS-India team, the state resource group members, the teacher educators and various academicians who have been involved in driving this project. We are extremely happy to see that the project has been recognised at the international level for the value it is bringing to the education system in India. We thank the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India and Governments of Assam, Bihar, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, which have been extremely supportive in the implementation of this project in their respective states,” said Sushant Verma, Country Director, TESS-India.

India has made huge strides in getting more students enrolled in school, but ensuring a productive learning experience for every student is a huge challenge. Initiated at the request of the Government of India and funded by UK aid from the UK government, TESS-India aims to support teachers in actively engaging students in activities from the school curriculum, to enhance their achievement.

TESS-India harnesses The Open University’s (OU) experience of delivering high quality education on a massive scale to help improve teaching quality. The programme’s innovative multilingual Open Educational Resources (OER) enables teachers to improve their classroom practices. A toolkit of text-based and video OER is designed for primary and secondary teachers of Maths, Literacy, English and Science.

Jonathan Wong, Head of Innovation at the OU’s Department for International Development who chaired the judging panel said, “This is a powerful model for improving the quality of education for hundreds of thousands of children in India. It presented ‘innovation through decentralisation’ in providing an open curriculum framework, allowing teachers in India to create their own ‘off the shelf’ practical resources and contextualise learning pathways for their students. It is a multilingual and accessible approach that’s adaptable to local need. The powerful multi-faceted partnership is absolutely critical in allowing the programme to achieve scale and sustain impact.”

Ben Jackson, CEO of Bond said, “The Bond Innovation Award entries showcases organisations taking innovative approaches. It celebrates international civil society organisations that are thriving in a world of rapid change. There was an impressive breadth of submissions that the panel considered through the three innovation lenses of being either ‘completely new’, ‘an old idea made new’ or ‘an old idea in a new context’. All the ideas addressed a stubborn challenge, however The Open University’s teacher education through school-based support project won as it showed impact, scalability and sustainability in its approaches.”

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