Suhas Urs

Suhas is part of our Consulting Services team in Mumbai, designing and implementing programmes for CSR clients.

Before joining Sattva he was a Gandhi Fellow, where he worked with 5 Government Schools across Surat, Gujarat in the School Transformation Program and carried out focused skill based interventions with the teachers to help improve the student learning levels. At Sattva he has worked with a key CSR client of Sattva in designing and implementing a flagship programme. He has also worked with non-profits in designing the organisational strategy for fundraising.

Suhas has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science Engineering from Sai Vidya Institute of Technology, Bangalore.

Malvika Dwivedi

Malvika is a part of the Transformative Advisory Team in Mumbai.

She has over 4 years of experience in the development sector. She worked at Pratham, as a Regional Coordinator for Pratham’s skill development programme, monitoring progress of trainees placed in jobs (with specific focus on migrants). She has also worked at an early-stage social enterprise, where she focused on building the organisation’s strategy with the objective to deliver skills of the future. At Sattva she has worked across various types of projects including – research on integrating women in the value chain, organisation building for a large-scale child right’s organisation, and programme design and management for CSR clients. She is committed to fixing systems and building stronger systems — be it strengthening an organisation so that it can scale effectively or figuring out a way to bring women entrepreneurs into the mainstream.

Malvika has a Masters in Development Practice from Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

Kanika Kandoi

Kanika is part of the Consulting Services team in Mumbai, supporting the team in the different project phases – problem definition, effort estimation, diagnosis, solution generation, design and deployment.

Prior to Sattva, she worked at a Foundation on livelihood projects and impact evaluation studies. She has also worked in the education sector at a non- profit think-tank, leading the conceptualisation and designing of a survey for budget private schools in New Delhi. At Sattva she has worked on designing and implementing a Collective Impact Initiative on Future Focused Skill Development for a large family trust. She has also diagnosed a pan-India NGO to re-design the structure, people, process and systems to enable organisational scale and programmatic effectiveness.

Kanika holds a Bachelors Degree (Economics) from Delhi University and Masters degree (Economics) from University College London.

Minu Sagar

Minu leads Consulting Services (Implementation) initiatives in Bangalore, building capability of NGOs and similar organisations to enable them to multiply their impact on ground in a large scale, sustainable manner.

She started her career as a software development consultant with IBM and SAP. She then went on to do a Post Graduate Diploma in Rural Management with Institute of Rural Management (IRMA). She then joined Coconut Development Board (CDB) as a consultant, working on capability building, training, establishing systems and processes, and monitoring and evaluation.

At Sattva she has worked with CSRs to design, implement and monitor flagship programmes.  She has worked with NGOs to define their overall strategy, build organisational and programmatic capabilities as well as support with fundraising strategy.

Minu is an engineering graduate from College of Engineering Trivandrum and has a Post Graduate degree in rural management from Institute of Rural Management (IRMA), Anand.

Abhishek Modi

Abhishek works with the Products team and Corporate Planning team at Sattva.

Before Sattva he worked as a freelancer for web content, search engine optimisation and social media marketing, gaining valuable business experience. He then joined Piramal Foundation’s Gandhi Fellowship Program where he worked on government school principals on their leadership capabilities. He also worked closely with teachers of 21st century teaching pedagogy practices and taught classes in government schools. He was actively involved in evolving examination practices in 200 primary government schools, working actively with the block panchayats and headmaster councils. At Sattva he has worked in the Consulting Services team on designing and managing CSR programmes.

Abhishek has a Bachelors’ in Commerce (Hons) – Accounts and Finance.

Part 2: Can technology-based learning improve employment rates in India?

Here is the second in a two-part blog series on a programme that Sattva developed with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, to expand English-language skills to address employment challenges in India. This blog looks at the challenges in the programme and the feedback from the students, they key stakeholders.

In India, many graduates with bachelor’s degrees lack the English-proficiency skills they need to get jobs and launch their careers. Many students turn to vocational training programs to get additional skills to increase their chances at employment, but most of those programs do not provide English-language courses. Sattva Consulting partnered with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to identify programs that could incorporate technology-based courses to help students learn English.

In our last post, we talked about how those programs were chosen and what we aim to achieve. We met Madhu Kumari, who travelled to Bangalore from Jharkhand for a vocational training course at Unnati, one of our five program partners, in December 2017. At that time, she barely spoke any English. Her success in working as a call center employee depends on the skills she receives from Unnati. In this post, we aim to share the feedback we received and the lessons we learned from our most important stakeholders – the students themselves. Madhu and her classmate Mahendra shared their feedback on four technology-based apps that were created to help students with Spoken English Skills (SES).

Lesson 1: Personalize and prepare. Madhu and Mahendra had different levels of English-language skills when they started the program at Unnati. The apps that provided customizable, personalized learning opportunities were more useful than those that provided a one-size-fits-all model.

Lesson 2: Context is everything. India has 22 official languages. English comprehension varies across students from different states, so any app that aims to help with English-language skills must provide lessons and support in different languages. The app that earned the most student engagement offered support in 18 languages.

Lesson 3: Context is everything – really. In Madhu’s class, all students use pre-paid data connections to access the apps. However, about half of the students had pre-paid connections that needed to be re-charged frequently – and the data they were able to purchase only lasted about 10 days. Technology-based interventions in a country like India should be mindful of data constraints and be able to fully function and save data offline.

Lesson 4: Interaction promotes learning. Madhu and her classmates unanimously said it was the ‘talk back’ feature that they liked best about apps they tried. They enjoyed being able to speak to the app and have a conversation, without worrying about their accent or feeling self-conscious, like they might in a classroom. We are looking at strengthening voice recognition features in apps to add value to the student experience.

Lesson 5: Gamification rules. Madhu and Mahendra loved seeing their scores go up in the app as they took quizzes. Surveys deployed across Madhu and Mahendra’s classrooms indicate that students are especially motivated to use an app when they can see how their friends and classmates are performing and where they stand in comparison.

Madhu, Mahendra, and their classmates have shown us that it is possible to design and develop low-cost scalable solutions to make a dent in one aspect of the daunting, but solvable, challenge of India’s employability crisis.

The blog was originally published here – https://www.msdf.org/blog/2018/05/technology-based-learning-improve-employment-india-part-2/#

Click here for Part 1 of the blog.

(Image credits: msdf.org/blog)

Can technology-based learning improve employment rates in India?

Presenting the first in a two-part blog series on a programme that Sattva developed with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, to expand English-language skills to address employment challenges in India. This blog looks at the programme challenges, how they were addressed to develop the programme and what measurement outcomes were put into place.

When Madhu Kumari travelled to Bangalore from Jharkhand for a vocational training course at Unnati in December 2017, she barely spoke a few words of English. However, 50 days later, she is now working at HDB, a non-banking subsidiary of HDFC bank, as a call center employee. Madhu’s customer-facing role requires English proficiency – a skill that Madhu learned through her hard work with Unnati’s technology-led program.

When Madhu started studying at Unnati, she needed skills to increase her chances of employment – and she isn’t alone. The Government of India worked with research company Aspiring Minds to conduct the National Employability Report-Graduates 2013 study. The study revealed that nearly half of Indian college graduates are considered unemployable because of their English language and cognitive skills. A college degree is supposed to be a pathway to employment and stability. But in India, where 55 percent of the population is under 30 years old, a lack of English-speaking skills is standing in the way of success.

Solving this challenge can be complicated. For many families, it isn’t as simple as getting an English-language tutor or enrolling their kids in English classes. High-quality English teachers are often hard to find and too expensive to retain for low-income families. Even families who can afford an instructor find it difficult to sustain lessons because of an in-person, classroom-based teaching model that leaves many students behind who cannot attend courses because of work and family responsibilities. That’s where our project comes in.

The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation partnered with Sattva Consulting to identify organizations like Unnati that are working to help youth in India gain employment. While major employers in India agree that English proficiency is important for their customer-facing and administrative entry level positions, many existing employment programs do not include English-language lessons in their models.

In her journey to find employment, Madhu chose to attend Unnati’s short-term vocational training programs. Students are placed in jobs at the end of their training courses. The organization’s focus is primarily on providing technical skills development for retail and administration jobs. With the help of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Sattva, Unnati added a technology-led English-language proficiency program as a new part of their employment training program. The goal of the English-language program is to provide:

-Personalized learning for each student based on their current English-language knowledge and skills, as opposed to a one-size fits-all approach, and

-Content that can be accessed at the student’s convenience.

Three other organizations like Unnati have been identified as partners, with hopes to create a comprehensive program across India to provide apps and other technologies to help teach English-language skills to improve employability of students. The purpose of the program is to find the extent to which technology solutions can be effective language learning tools. It aims to find apps and learning models that can be scaled across different learning environments.

The main questions that this program will seek to answer include:

-Do technology-based solutions help improve the Spoken English Skills (SES) of youth between the age of 18 and 22?

-What specific capabilities and features have the highest impact on improved skill outcomes in youth?

-Does improved SES result in increased chances of employment?

The program started in August 2017 and will run for two years in six states, impacting approximately 15,000 students across the country. The participants of the program are all students in their final year of college who are between the ages of 18 and 22.

In our next blog post, we will share the feedback and lessons we learned directly from Madhu and her classmates at Unnati, and how those lessons ladder up to larger insights into how we develop and implement technology-based solutions to improve SES across India.

The blog was originally published here – https://www.msdf.org/blog/2018/04/technology-based-learning-improve-employment-india/

Click here for Part 2 of the blog.

(Image credits: msdf.org/blog)

Sulagna Datta

Sulagna is an Engagement Manager with the Consulting Services team. Sulagna leads large scale implementation of projects with a focus on Education Technology and grantee management.

Prior to Sattva, Sulagna was an investment research analyst at Goldman Sachs, in the automotive sector. But she was always involved with the development space. She interned with Teach for India and was also a curriculum adviser for a Bangalore based Ed-tech start-up called VChalk. In 2016, her team was one of 6 finalists out of 900 applicants globally to be invited to Washington, D.C to present a paper at the World Bank.

Sulagna holds an MBA from IIM Kozhikode, a B.E. from I.C.T, Mumbai, and a Graduate Certificate in Public Policy from Takshashila.

Vrunda Bansode

Vrunda Bansode leads Marketing at Sattva. She has co-founded two education sector ventures, which focus on experiential STEM education for children. She has been part of the management team at NSRCEL – the startup incubator at IIM Bangalore, where she was also involved in conceptualising and setting up an incubator for early-stage non-profits in association with MSDF. She continues to actively contribute to entrepreneurship development, early-stage venture incubation eco-system and women entrepreneurship development initiatives through workshops, sessions and writing. She has co-authored a book for children called “Become a Junior Inventor” published by Penguin Random House.

Her prior work experience includes working with large corporations such as Bosch, Honeywell, Apple and Intuit in different capacities. She holds a Master’s degree from University of Pune and a PGDBM from Indo-German Training Centre, Mumbai.

Primary Education: AVPN

1.5 million public schools
260 million enrolments
India – the world’s largest and most complex education system in the world.

With learning quality still being poor, multiple stakeholders – the government, charitable organisations, private funders, corporate entities — are all collaborating to bring about systemic transformation in the way education is delivered, in order to improve learning outcomes for millions of children.
You can also learn more about the current challenges, interventions and funding landscape in education in India in our report “Funding Education with Impact