How Bal Sansad, or child parliaments, enable students to find their voices
“The PM has a budget for the nation. Why don’t we have a budget for the school?” – Bal Sansad Student, MS Dalsinghsarai, Samastipur District, Bihar
With non-cognitive skills such as critical reasoning and the ability to engage in meaningful debates becoming ever-more important in a fast changing job market, enabling young people to articulate questions such as these is crucial.
The idea of Bal Sansad (or ‘Child Parliaments’) within government elementary schools is not new. A model United Nations program has been running internationally since the mid twentieth century, while the Indian government first proposed the idea of Child Parliaments almost twenty years ago. In practice, its implementation has been sporadic and inconsistent. In Bihar, where Quest Alliance run the Anandshala program in the Samastipur district, interventions to enliven the Bal Sansad Child Parliaments date back to 2012.
Continue reading “By students, for students”
Technology can only solve problems in the education sector once you actually know what those problems are. Quest Alliance’s Executive Director Aakash Sethi writes about how meaningful engagement with end-users has led to Ed-tech innovations which have brought about real changes in the Indian context.
Everyone’s excited about using technology to bring about positive changes in the education sector. So excited, in fact, that all too often you see technology coming before the problem. There is a notion that ‘I want to use technology’, and that in doing that, I’ll definitely solve a problem or two.
Continue reading “Tech Over: 5 Lessons Learned”
How often do you get the chance to ask the former President of the United States for advice on your work? It’s an opportunity that Quest Alliance Executive Director Aakash Sethi was given earlier this month, when he was invited by the Obama Foundation to the December 1 Town Hall session in New Delhi.
Joining almost 300 young Indian leaders for discussions around active citizenship, Aakash spoke directly to the president about youth employability in the Indian context. After introducing President Obama to Quest’s work in school dropout prevention and job-readiness, Aakash probed the president on the best way forward in creating young people with 21st Century skills. We were struck by how far the president’s answer, with its focus on the importance of building scalable models, resonated with Quest’s values and larger vision.
Listen to the question and answer at 1 hour 59 minutes in the video above, and read the transcript below.
Continue reading “President Obama meets Quest Alliance”
As Quest’s State Head in Biar, Amitav Nath has been instrumental in the development and implementation of Anandshala, a program which works closely with the district education system to create stronger relationships between students, teachers and parents. Here he shares his insights on partnership, and working within existing government frameworks.
Working on Quest Alliance’s Anandshala (literally translated: joyful schools) program in Bihar, our job is to define the theory of change for the program. Our team ensures that the design strategy functions on the ground, and works out how plans get translated into action at the field level. One very important aspect to achieve this is making sure that the program is institutionalized by the district through advocacy.
Continue reading “Anandshala: Working Within the System”