The Global Business Coalition for Education’s India Working Group co-hosted a meeting in Mumbai on March 6th, moderator by Pooja Bhatt of Accenture and Co-Secretariat of the GBC-Ed India Working Group, aimed at fostering partnerships to advance early learning in India, with a specific focus on literacy.
Along with our co-hosts – the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Accenture – we facilitated a conversation between businesses, including GBC-Ed members Intel, McKinsey, and Western Union (as well as the likes of HCL and the Tata Trust, whose Chair, Ratan Tata, sits on GBC-Ed’s Advisory Board), NGOs like Pratham and Planet Read, and international organisations including the World Bank.
The group was privileged to hear Dr. Raj Shah, USAID’s Administrator and Elizabeth Warfield, Deputy Mission Director, USAID/India, give details of the new READ Alliance which USAID is launching in India. USAID is looking for local partners to implement the Alliance, which aims to create a platform or network of public and private sector partners dedicated to improving early grade reading in India, and develop and manage an innovation challenge, or competition, to identify and support the scale up of early grade reading innovations.
Dr. Shah encouraged the organisations present to apply to be the convener for the READ Alliance and to stay tuned and engage once the Alliance is formally launched. Meanwhile Kiran Shetty, India Country Director for Western Union and one of the leading forces behind the GBC-Ed India Working Group, called on the assembled participants to collaborate with one another to make an impact on early childhood literacy – an area which is critical to the entire education agenda and to the future of the economy and Indian society.
In his closing remarks, Dr. Shah complimented the group on the energy in the room, the progress that’s being made on literacy in India and the data-driven nature of the work that’s going on. Experience tells us, he argued, that significant partnership is required if we are to achieve our goals.
The Global Business Coalition for Education is deeply committed to fostering such partnerships, and we look forward to playing as great a role as possible in providing private sector inputs into this work in the coming months. Indeed, the pilot project which is being developed by our India Working Group will focus, amongst other areas, on improving literacy outcomes in government schools. Details of the project will be published in the coming weeks.
Picture: Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator, USAID, (center) at the India Working Group meeting. Pooja Bhatt, Accenture (left), Avinash Vashistha, Accenture India CMD (right). Credit: USAID/India