QR coded textbooks


This is an article was written by Shruthi Mohan and was published in YourStory on Feb 9, 2018

Nandan, along with his wife, Rohini, Founder of Arghyam Foundation, co-founded Ekstep Foundation, a digital platform for education that aims to address learning challenges in the primary education space. In the panel discussion on the topic ‘Realising a Billion Aspirations’, the duo spoke about how digital platforms will give telemetry of the content in education. Introduction of QR codes in the textbooks will enable students to view video tutorials and customised content from smartphones, they added.

Nandan, who has had extensive experience working with the government, said, Vouching for co-creation platforms that are open source to amplify the cause, he pointed out that a problem like education cannot be addressed with a one-solution-fits-all approach.

Speaking about how the idea of QR codes in education emerged, Nandan recalled a chance encounter with Anand Agarwal, CEO and director, Sterlite, and Sanjay Sarma, Vice President for Open Learning at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, at a graduation event organised by MIT and Harvard.

Rohini, who has worked in primary education in the setting up of Pratham and Akshara educational platforms, felt that there is very little for the little kids back home when compared to the ones already graduating with a degree in AI, he said.

This has manifested in a new initiative which is slated to launch in the next six months, across the four states. Rohini has previously worked with the Karnataka government on Pratham Network, a public-private partnership (Making the books more accessible in villages and government schools) that was started in 1994.

The fact that many children in this country are not learning the basics is a national tragedy. What we wanted to do is combine Nandan’s ability to think on a large scale and my experience from the civil society sector, which will place passion, commitment and integrity to scale people’s capacity, added Rohini.

When asked by Desh Deshpande, the founder of Deshpande Foundation on how Rohini led Nandan into this project, she quipped, “When I told Nandan that through this initiative, they would be solving the problems of 200 million young children, he was suddenly interested. That was the only way to get him involved. A minimum number of a million, I thought could get him excited.”

Last year, the Nilekanis joined hands with the Bill and Melinda Gates and Rockefeller Foundation for a new venture – Co-Impact.....click here for more.