"Our Ed-tech solutions and services are perfected by over 82 global FNL researchers. Our ECCE-ecosystem solution, Arambh imparts FNL followed by successive levels of learning for students, asserts,Ashish Jhalani, President - International Markets, Square Panda Inc. & Managing Director, Square Panda India in conversation with Governance Now. Excerpts as below:
India is home to 313 million illiterate people, 59 percent of whom are women. This has a staggering socio-economic cost.Square Panda works with a vision to engage with State Governments across country to roll out FLN Solution into the realm of FLN pedagogy. An ambitious Ashish Jhalani, President - International Markets, Square Panda Inc. & Managing Director, Square Panda India, asserts, to have impacted over 10k+ educators, 300+ schools, and 40k+ children across India .
1. With the Digital Age taking over gradually, what's your vision for Square Panda for the upcoming year?
We have a challenge at hand when it comes to ECCE in India. This is because India is home to 313 million illiterate people, 59 percent of whom are women. This has a staggering socio-economic cost.
Our Dec 2021 report titled ‘The State of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) in India’ by the PM's Economic Advisory Council, which I was privileged to co-author, states that effective implementation of FLN can potentially grow our GDP by 7.39%, when the benefits are calculated over 20 years.
Our vision is to work with the various state Governments to bring Edtech solutions into the realm of FLN pedagogy. This would apply across teacher training, assessments and community mobilisation for positive impetus to FLN. Our belief is that EdTech is critical to joining the journey between teachers, parents, students administrators and the community at large.
2. What are the education solutions rolled out by Square Panda?
Our EdTech solutions and service are perfected by over 82 global FNL researchers. We call our ECCE-ecosystem solution Aarambh, which includes-
To impart FNL and unlock successive levels of learning for students. For particularly eager students, additional levels of learning can be unlocked.
Create a diagnostic progressive assessment for each child across multiple cognitive and social parameters. Specific experts from outside can also be called in to fill the gaps.
Offer need-based training to educators.
We have already worked in Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan. Our offerings have impacted over 10k+ educators, 300+ schools, and 40k+ children across India .
3. Government education system has not only raised its bar, in terms of quality and infrastructure but is also putting steady competition to private institutions. Do you also look to serve in the government education domain? Are there any specific solutions that Square Panda has rolled out or planning to target only Government schools?
Square Panda India is actively engaged in solving education & skilling issues as a partner to the central and state governments, including working with government schools. Some of our interventions in government schools are as below. Their effectiveness has been validated by efficacy studies as well.
Our Empowerment Program for educators in Uttar Pradesh’s Sitapur and Chitrakoot districts saw teachers demonstrate a 47.83% improvement in teaching methodology, 44.38% improvement in classroom management, and 43% improvement in ECCE knowledge
An English Language training for educators in Bastar, Chhattisgarh saw teachers demonstrate an improvement of over 28% in post-training assessments.
Our Foundational Learning program in Dhamtari, Chhattisgarh, showed a 300% improvement in word reading, and 125% improvement in sentence reading across grades 1-5.
Our intervention across Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai schools resulted in an overall improvement of 75% in reading skills.
Similarly, our foundational learning program intervention for Akanksha Foundation with Senior KG and Grade 1 children saw children become more interested in learning, with weaker students showing progress of 44%.
4. What strategies have you adopted for elevating ECCE education including Anganwadi workers?
Square Panda would like to partner with the ECCE ecosystem to-
Equip Anganwadi workers with new-age learning methodologies, such as the use of different resources for teaching literacy and numeracy, or the use of play-based activities.
Share with them the latest research on how we can better develop a child’s cognitive, affective, and psychomotor abilities, besides early literacy and numeracy.
Equip Anganwadi workers with a strong foundation for holistic childcare, digital knowledge, and teaching.
We have been partnering with leading NGOs as well. Our Anganwadi Education Transformation Program, conducted in partnership with the Anil Agarwal Foundation’s Nand Ghars, delivers quality education to young children. We are all set to upskill Anganwadi workers across 100 Nand Ghars in Uttar Pradesh.
5. What are your plans for expansion in the coming five years, both geography-wise and solution-wise.
We are currently present across 6 countries (USA, China, India, South Korea, Japan, and Canada), with 200+ employees globally.
We are looking to building on our past success and create a comprehensive array of products and programs that aim to improve learning outcomes from pre-primary through secondary grades. This includes bespoke content services, creating educational infrastructure, and innovations such as vocational labs, language laboratories, hanging libraries, and more.
6. Going forward, how do you strategise to expand business across India and globally?
There is a lot of work to be done with technology. In the Indian context, I’d like to quote ‘The State of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) in India’ report by the PM's Economic Advisory Council, that has proposed an ‘FLN Index’, which is like a report card for each state- it includes five pillars and 41 indicators.
The five pillars are Educational Infrastructure, Access to Education, Basic Health, Learning Outcomes, and Governance. The whole idea of measuring the performance of states is important- because we cannot manage what we cannot measure.
Here are a few FLN index scores
Kerala : 67.95 (ranked 1st among small states)
West Bengal : 58.95 (ranked 1st among big states)
Lakshadweep: 52.69 (ranked 1st among UT’s)
Mizoram: 51.64 (ranked 1st among NE states)