Bengaluru: There has been a proliferation of startups in education in recent years, and this is because in India, despite the success in enrolling children into schools, the learning outcomes are still unimpressive. This is where Bengaluru-based incubator, EduMentum, comes into picture. The NGO supports early-stage organisations, creating solutions to achieve the vision of bringing about transformation, while ensuring that every child receives quality education.
Founded in September 2017, EduMentum offers a three-year programme that focuses on empowering local change leaders from across the country who aim to transform education. EduMentum, which is a Shibulal Family Philanthropic Initiative in partnership with Mantra4Change, supports 24 organisations across 16 states.
Mr S.D. Shibulal, permanent trustee, Shibulal Family Philanthropic Initiative, and Infosys co-founder, said, “According to ASER 2018, only a quarter of all children in third standard are able to read the text at the grade level. Acquiring foundational skills in literacy and numeracy is the need of the hour. For this, it is important to begin the change locally and an incubator like EduMentum plays a crucial role in developing entrepreneurship in the area of systemic education transformation.”
He said, “Achieving Whole School Transformation in remote villages like Jamui (Bihar), Fatehgarh Sahib (Punjab), Ribhori (Meghalaya), Majuli (Assam) and Mewat (Haryana) among others, our EduMentees are working with communities, school leaders, teachers and students. These organisations work with under-resourced schools and communities that are either marginalised or come from low-income backgrounds. The array of contextual knowledge these organisations bring in allows EduMentum to add on with necessary rubrics of education transformation that can sync with the cultural and geographical needs of that place.” Mr Sanjay Purohit, Chief Curator, Societal Platforms and Strategic Advisor, EduMentum, said, “The idea of EduMentum is to enable local change leaders to build contextual and sustainable solutions for their geographies. By bringing these change makers together, EduMentum develops multiple approaches to address the issue of educational inequity, enriching indigenous bodies of knowledge.”
EduMentum offers a seed funding of Rs 7.5 lakh per annum to each organisation along with a series of intensive, knowledge and capacity building workshops for incubatees. It also offers network and connect to the right ecosystem for the organisations to flourish. A group of mentors provides individual focus to the organisations to help them shape their focus through incubation. By enabling such mentorship, EduMentum strives to achieve education transformation. Ms Poonam Shukla, Program Director, EduMentum, said, “We imagine an India where each child gets an opportunity to explore his/her potential without educational inequity. Our vision is to nurture 50 organisations in 29 states by 2022.”
The first set of programmes came in September 2017. The organizations in the first two sets are Vidhya Vidhai (Tamil Nadu), Simple Education Foundation (Delhi), Samarthya (Delhi and Haryana), i-Saksham (Bihar), Sanjhi Sikhiya (Punjab), Loop Education Foundation (Telangana), Ayang (Assam), Talent Hunt Committee (Meghalaya), SamaitShala (Gujarat), Maati Foundation (Madhya Pradesh), Barefoot Edu (Maharashtra), Swa Taleem (Haryana), Upkram (Uttar Pradesh), Thrive Foundation (Tamil Nadu) and Bhumi (Tamil Nadu). Eight organisations will join the programme in August as part of the third set.
“What’s heartening to see is how the six organisations that constituted our Cohort Alpha in 2017 showed a 300 percent increase in their engagements with schools in just seven months into the incubation programme,” added Ms Shukla.
“Apart from being in connect with their respective mentors, our cohorts get a chance to come together during Base Camps conducted by Mantra4Change. These base camps have various sessions with external resource persons from the field to help these organisations gain valuable insight into structuring and designing their programs and building their organisations,” she said.