Frankly, the most important
problem that India is dealing with is that children are not attaining
foundational numeracy and literacy, and that you’re always perennially playing
catch-up, thereafter. [Music] [Music] Hello, my name is Pranav Kothari and I
work at Educational Initiatives. Over the last seven years I’ve learned a lot in
the space about how one thinks about fundraising, how should one look at data
and using that continuously to improve products and learning. I’m so excited to
be at Ashish’s home today, where he has been very generous with all the advice
and mentorship that I’ve gotten over the past seven years. I am curious to know
more about what is the reflections Ashish has after seven years of giving
away a substantial portion of his wealth. I would also like to know what are the
new forms of giving and how should one thoughtfully think about giving. Thank
you so much for agreeing with your time and hosting at your home. Thank you Ashish. The fact that at 40 you decided
to leave ChrysCapital, the industry that you had mastered, what was the rationale behind leaving it when you were at the top of your career? When I was at Harvard Business
School which is where you also went, I had a lot of time, it wasn’t as
rigorous as people said it would be and actually, at that point I thought hard
about what do I want to do with my career. I know a lot of people
believe in living their career in three to five-year chunks, I think that’s
important. You can’t sometimes have a 50-year view. But I think it’s important to have some sense of being able to imagine where you would be at age 30 where you’d be at age 40, 50… some of the markers in your life and so, I had this in my head that look, at age 30 I want to be an entrepreneur and lo and
behold because I had that marker in my head, two three years prior to it, I
already started working on it after I graduated from business school – building
the right networks, getting to know the right people who could help me raise the
capital, starting to understand Indian business because I was going
to get into a private equity. Similarly, when before I jumped in here
I started to meet a number of people in the education space, do some reading,
develop my interest because I had a longer-term plan. I think it was
influenced by Benjamin Franklin; if you want to do different things you need to
have that. I think the philanthropy piece… Andrew Carnegie was one of the people
who wrote this book ‘Gospel of Wealth’ and the thing that really shook me up was
he said something like, “If you die rich, you died disgraced” and I don’t
necessarily mean to send that out as a message. Of course, you can leave money to
your children or businesses to your children. But I think the idea that you
need to think hard about this concept of trusteeship…wealth really gives you
the privilege to do lots of interesting things and I think that’s the way
in which I interpreted his work and the ability to actually do a
lot and so if you want to do it then you better start early. So that’s why that early forties was a marker for me. But it must be really difficult to give away
hard-earned money, like there are so many questions whether it would actually
reach the intended purpose, it would make an impact on the beneficiaries that
you’re giving, there must be thousands of questions, concerns, hesitation
before giving away something that you have earned the hard way. Yeah, a lot of people say that
hard-earned money and all of that – it’s okay, it’s more just the work you do
which is – I don’t think it’s particularly…I think all of us are
just blessed frankly that the structure of the world has been set up in a way
where you can make a lot of money and there’s a lot of luck involved as well,
it’s not just hard work. Having said that I would say yes, I think in terms of
giving money away one needs to be thoughtful because you want to think
about… look there’s so much money already being spent. So, let’s take education, in
India there’s state budgets in aggregate if you roll it up all the states in
India this year five lakh, a little over five lakh crores being spent which
is about 3%, just north of 3% of GDP, it’s significant. So, you’ve got to think
hard about if you’re going to contribute whatever it is 10 crore 20 crore 50
crore even at Mr. Premji scale – a thousand crore or whatever it is annually
in education it’s still a speck compared to this
large spend. So, I think you have to think and then there’s other people doing
things – so my approach is really think hard about the evidence, so read a
lot to see what’s worked. Two is find the most leverage ways to spend the money
and three is find ways to spend it where there would be some lasting effect – that if
you’ve built some institution or started some organization, even if you are not
there it will perpetuate or hopefully stay on for a while, maybe not forever
nothing lasts forever but for a longest period of time. Can you give an example of each one of those three pieces that you mentioned? For instance, when I say with regards to, let’s take
Central Square Foundation. We said for instance that if you look at the early
stage there are lot of established nonprofits: Pratham and Akshay Patra… very large in scale people tend to want to give money to the larger orgs. There is no organized way to give to earlier
stage organizations. CSR kicks in after three plus years
for foreign FCRA approval you need three year track record, it takes a year or two
to get approval. So, structurally you’ve got a situation where there’s very
little capital available the first three to five years, there’s a supply of
entrepreneurs coming in, they’re very interesting hypotheses that could be
tested and a lot of open spaces in education. So when I looked at I
put all that together and said – your money is going to go a long way if you
can actually start to see the number of orgs. Because, there’s not too
many people doing it and by the way if these all get to the three to five year
mark and if they’re doing something meaningful, there is follow on capital
available. So structurally, the market is set up in a way where you’re going to get a
lot of leverage on your capital. I think on the institution building front
sustainably front I’ll use the example of Ashoka where I believe was
if you’re going to build something in higher end it has to be something that
lasts for a long period of time. So, firstly, you got to keep the quality bar
really high from day one because it’s very hard to fix it along the way
because, that then quality begets quality, good academics want to
come because of other good academics and they’re good students want to come
because they feel that top students went to this place. But then we
also thought very hard about what is the governance structure, how do you
perpetuate it beyond ourselves, think hard about the financing
structure, how much tuition comes in and how much money do you spend, if you need
an endowment what is it required for? Because we don’t have the luxury unlike
a U.S. University of having a very large endowment. So, I think putting a lot of
thought into institution building and longevity and stuff like
that, those would be a couple of examples. One is how do you get the leverage
and then how do you get the sustainability. [Music] For someone who’s very new to the education sector, could you
paint us a bird’s-eye view on the size of the problem – estimated number of
people, money involved, I mean how big is the Indian Education Sector? So look, it is the biggest school education
system in the world. It’s probably one of the most complex problems anywhere in
the world. To frame it in terms of size we have a million half schools, 260
million children who go to school, approximately 10 million teachers and we
have… if you look at it in terms of budget as I said earlier, about five lakh
crore that the government is spending and a commensurate amount roughly
proportional that’s spent by the private individuals. So almost ten lakh crore or
five and a half percent of GDP is being spent on education between private and
government. This is across – higher ed and school ed. I think in terms of
complexity the issues are – we’ve got multiple languages, we have children
entering school who are not school ready, and so, the problem starts with early
childhood itself and we have children as we discussed earlier falling almost
two years behind by the time they’re in primary school or coming towards the end
of primary school itself. So, I think that’s what makes this so hard
and you have a government system that doesn’t…it’s not easy to change.
It’s actually very large-scale if you think about it but has under invested in
terms of resources. So, take a large state in India, like Maharashtra.
Maharashtra would have more employees on its rolls the education department than
TCS which is one of our largest employers in India. TCS is now at what
four hundred thousand odd employees. One system like Maharashtra has more than
that, and yet you don’t have the equivalent of an HR department or an org
development department or performance management. So –
organizational capability is an issue, sustainability is an issue because you
have secretaries who come and go so that’s what makes it so complex. You’re
trying to bring at a systemic level, you have change in the leadership you don’t
have the right investments in terms of you have obviously a workforce
which has been recruited which is government workforce may not have the
same incentives as you have in the private sector. So, you have to deal with
all these issues as you get on to the ground to want to bring about change and
that’s what makes it really hard to change the system. I don’t think we
should give up because of that. I think all it means is we need to think hard
about how you can construct models that recognize the constraints – one is release
some binding constraints but two is recognizing certain constraints which
are not going change in the near term, take longer term. How can you design
solutions that are holistic that’ll address this problem?
And by the way other countries have done it. Vietnam has an excellent
school education system. We’ve seen some gains in Kenya off late with so many
programs that they’ve implemented. We’ve seen countries like Poland improve a lot,
we’ve seen Brazil improve in a concerted way over the last 10-15 years,
Peru is showing some promising signs off late. All of them I
think prioritized foundational learning, as they look to improve their school
education system. Given the size of the problem in improving Indian education, will we ever get there? I think we will. There have been some decent signs of progress. Firstly, I think we now understand that the scale and scope of the problem; we have much more data today. I think there’s a greater recognition
around learning outcomes being abysmal and so, we ought to focus on sort of
improving that – the conversation has shifted from inputs to more outcomes
now in the last five to seven years and give a lot of credit to ASER
for that. I think there also have been a lot of interventions at smaller scale
that have shown a lot of promise in the last 10 years and they’ve been evaluated
and so, we have evidence or research around what works. I think now the
question is how do you marry that into a larger system. So, firstly I clearly think
that at a system level we need to come up with appropriate goals. I think other
countries have done the same which is given where you are what is realistic in
terms of where you can get to in the next five years and don’t boil the ocean
but focus on foundational learning because that’s really the front end and
if you can fix that you solve a lot of problems. So, set some goals for
foundational numeracy and literacy. One year, three years, five years and
get political buy-in so Prime Minister, Chief Ministers, others,
the broad ecosystem needs to understand – this is the one critical goal that we
need to work on. Get the budgets to reflect that. So that if we need to
invest one year in pre-primary education in schools most, private schools
have a pre-k and a k section, government schools don’t. Make that investment, over
the next five seven years because that’s the most critical one. So, put more budget
behind this. I’m not suggesting increase government budget beyond the 3.2%
but just within. As you grow the budget invest here more here so
budget is another very important one. I think the last part I would say is
just tweaking the structures at the state level so that there is a
recognition that this is the number one priority and that this program needs to
be a holistic program that if you’re going to do this you need to build the
capacity of the teacher you need to create the right pedagogical tools and
there are plenty of NGOs to help with that. You need to create the right
teacher resources, one needs the right student resources – workbooks and things like
that. One needs to have appropriate monitoring and coaching supporting it. So,
holistic well-designed solution that’s appropriate given the level where
students are and where teachers are. So, if we can come up with that kind of
solution and the review mechanisms and structures at the state level
coupled with the air cover of the political buy-in the budgets
etc. and we keep measuring and iterating as we go along, I think there’s
a real hope that in five to ten years we start to see real improvement. But focus
on foundation numeracy and literacy and let’s get that one goal achieved.
[Music] [Music] [Music] There are a lot of people and there’s a
lot of money that is now coming in, in terms of philanthropy to the Indian
sector. Whether it be in health, in education, there is the 2 percent
corporate CSR and there’s a lot of foreign interest of high net worth
individuals as well as multilateral agencies. If you could sort of provide a
framework on how they should be thoughtful about giving to India what would that be? Yeah, so I think firstly, there I think it’s a great
thing that what I call the revenue pool of the sector has increased.
It allows more organizations to get started, it allows more organizations to
scale, it also I think brings more discipline into the sector because there
is certain greater accountability with some of this money coming in. I think
firstly, if someone’s going to get into a space they should really understand the
whole landscape. What I find is a lot of people start giving after meeting of
few organizations. I think take the time to really understand and map out the
whole landscape – do it the way you would do it in the corporate sector if you’re
doing CSR. If you’re entering a new market if you’re a pharmaceutical
company and you’re entering an adjacent market of biologicals – you would go
and study that market well. You would study it within India and you’d even develop
a little bit of a broader perspective, so that’s one – landscape analysis. Two is
understand evidence – so go and I’m not saying read every piece of work
even read the one or two meta studies that have been done in terms of what has
worked. So that’s very critical and then develop a framework around okay
what are some areas – if I’m going to do work in education or health what are
some areas I’m going to give in. I would also figure out a kind
of portfolio approach to giving. So, give a little bit at the early stage so these
are even in a company you tend to seed new projects,
so similarly, with your CSR have a little bit of that mindset, and have
sort of some organizations that are in the middle and some that are larger
which you learn from and develop a perspective with etc.
So, I think having a little bit of a portfolio is important.
I think having some framework of you not only have a giving portfolio but also
some – a little bit of commissioning of research not just your own M&E, a little
bit of commissioning of research, a little bit of some ecosystem building,
pulling people together, even working with other funders who are working on
similar initiatives, I think a little bit of money allocated to that maybe – 5-10%
of the money around that, beyond the M&E work that you’re doing. I
think would be useful in not only building perspective but building
partnerships and possible collaboration across the sector. So
that’s the way I would look at it if I were sitting in the shoes of someone you
know with whether it’s five crore or a hundred crores to give away in terms of CSR money. You’ve spent almost a decade giving actively in the education
sector, if you were to do things differently what were the lessons you’ve
learned from the past that you would employ in the future? Yeah, so I think we did think very hard about this about a
year ago, because we had spent a few years giving into this sector.
So firstly, I do think there’s a real opportunity in that early stage space. If
I look at the ecosystem I think there is clearly an opportunity in lots of
areas there are very few high quality organizations doing work and so
there’s really the opportunity seed. So, that’s one clear opportunity. I think the
if I look back the ROI was high in that space and I think will continue to be
high given the structure. I think then I look at in terms of themes or areas
where we could do work, I would say that when we look back we said,
frankly the most important problem that India is dealing with is
that children are not attaining foundational numeracy and literacy and
that you’re always perennially playing catch-up
thereafter. So, one is focus on foundational numeracy and literacy in a
very concerted way. By third grade children need to have these basic
numeracy literacy skills and it’s a travesty that half or more than half
the kids don’t have these skills even by the time they’re finishing primary
school. So, having a much sharper focus there, the early years – ages 3
through 8, or 3 through 10, I think will have a much higher payback. So, we’ve
decided to focus much more on foundational numeracy and literacy not
just in terms of working it with the state or giving in terms of
project but also creating the advocacy, the collateral, and the surround
sound so that there’s greater awareness that this is a critical issue for India
to work on. I think the other area that we felt is sort of EdTech it’s more
futuristic but Mindspark, which is a product that you have led – the results
are phenomenal. I think you look globally also, now if you look at the meta studies
results are quite positive, this was not the case 15 years ago. So, I think EdTech
has evolved a lot and I’m quite bullish on the prospects for EdTech over the
next decade. There are lots of challenges in terms of scaling but I think doing
more experimentation in that space is going to have huge payoff. We need to
increase the supply side, more products, more areas being covered whether it’s
foundational, middle school, high school – we definitely need more evidence so it’s
not just more products but we need to test them and ensure that they’re
working and then we need to work with the state system to create pathways for
scale for these products. EdTech is a second area. A third area
that I think is very important is a whole area of private schools. Look 45%
of our kids go to private schools. That number is increasing at the
rate of one and a half percentage points a year. You roll the clock forward
to 2030 unless something changes, there’s a dramatic improvement in the public
system, we’re going to see 60% of children maybe 65% which you’ve already
seen in parts of urban India. By the way in higher ed two-thirds of students
go to private colleges so it’s quite possible you get there. So, given that
that’s going to happen I think we need a lot more research on the private system.
We need through to think through interventions that will increase the
incentive for quality improvement in the system – whether it’s credit, whether it’s
information provision, etc. So, thinking more about private schools I
think will reap big results. You don’t necessarily need to fund the supply side
because it’s commercially driven, but I think you need to think through
structurally. Even from the government standpoint what should their role be, how
should the they bust up their department into quality assurance body possibly a
body that focuses on government provision of education and then the
department that sets policy. So, a whole bunch of questions around that. So, these
are some of the areas that we felt would have higher payoff and are more sort of –
there’s the here and now a foundational numeracy and literacy, there’s the
importance of private school it’s already there and how big it’s going to
become going forward and then there’s EdTech that holds a lot of promise. Ashish, what is the decision framework that you employ when you are giving to
new organizations that don’t have a tested hypothesis where the evidence for
what they’re trying to do isn’t there what is the – how do you think about that? Yeah so firstly, I think the evidence filter doesn’t have to be
something that you use because otherwise it would prevent you from testing out
new things that have not been tested before. It’s a little bit of a blacklist
that if something is absolutely not working they’ve been 20 studies
that have been done around the world that shows that something doesn’t work
then why bother trying the 21st experiment or possibly the hundredth
experiment the other 80 were not even tested but 20 have been tested
rigorously. So, I think more the blacklist approach. When we think about new
opportunities it’s really filling up some of the white spaces that we believe
are important. So, I’ll give you a couple of examples. One is if as we were saying in
EdTech there’s a lot of promise with interventions so clearly, one is you need
to focus on the supply side because we know that there’s a supply side issue to
get more products out there so you’d obviously want to back more people doing
that. Two is that we know that there is an issue with regards to scale-up in the
state system. So, maybe you want to incubate an org at some point that’s
really working, like Amitav at Education Alliance is working on PPP (public-private partnerships) with state governments and all that’s working with state governments on that
sort of intermediary that’s going to help you in terms of the
scale-up, creating the right enabling conditions etc. It makes sense to do it
now given that different states have piloted EdTech and they’re thinking –
but yet there’s no pathway to scale but there should be one in the next five to
seven years. So that’s the way I think about it is that it’s important
for the ecosystem at this point in time it’s all within EdTech which we believe
is important. Similarly, if you look at foundational numeracy literacy
we know it’s important evidence shows it’s important but you’ll need different
kind of institutions within that set up. So, you clearly need somebody who’s
running an early literacy Institute as it were doing research, action research,
doing the capacity building. Different countries actually have it, we don’t have
it in India. So, I think those are the kind – we look at… in the
areas we’ve identified that are important structurally what will it take
to build a better ecosystem to move the ball forward in the next five years and
that’s how we want to do our funding. [Music] [Music] What should be an aspirational goal for
an NGO? When can it say that it has achieved scale? I think the first goal in the first two to three years is to
really test your hypothesis. So, there’s no RCT or anything like
that but I think simple AB testing to be able to show pre-post that you’re
actually delivering some basic results. Now there’s some things I know that take
longer so if they take much longer at least the intermediary outcomes are
being delivered. So, I would say sharply focus – you don’t need more than
five-ten people to do the work; you don’t need a lot of supporting infrastructure
HR all of that stuff; just need a core team working in a small geography
and really trying to prove that something works. So that’s where I would
focus the attention very sharply. I think thereafter what’s really required is a
lot of capacity building in terms of talent but also systems and processes
being put in place and the ability to go fundraise. I mean these are
really the three things that I would work on. So first two-three years small
amount of money just tape up that money don’t go running spend too much time
fundraising, don’t worry too much, you just need to assemble that initial team.
Diverse skill sets, younger people, you don’t really need much senior talent.
Prove the hypothesis and then once it’s proven, develop a strategic plan
and then figure out the talent that you’re going to need, the systems
proceeds as you grow from 5-10 people to 30 to 50 people and of course,
the requisite funding to make that happen. Is there a milestone for achieving scale? Is there a like a rupee crore target or
a number of employees or an impact or getting recognized – I mean how does one
sort of build a roadmap for achieving true scale? Yeah, I think if you’re starting from scratch if you can get to 50 to 100 people and
get to like a 10-crore budget within 5 years, that’s a pretty good achievement
because remember the floodgates only start to open in your four or your five
in terms of CSR FCRA and all of that, right? So, I think that’s a pretty
good target to keep in mind if you’re an entrepreneur. I think beyond that the
next milestone is getting to 25 crores which may take another five
years, 25-30 crore if you’re successful and the larger organizations we know in
India are a hundred plus crore, they’re very few of them. I think getting
there at that point may take at least 10 to 15 years. I don’t know of
anybody who’s done it in 10 years. I can’t think of it off the top of my head.
I mean even organizations like Teach for India that scaled up very
rapidly got to a budget of not quite hundred crores but a little bit
less than that at the 10-year mark. So, I think those are kind of
reasonable points in time and at 10 crore I think you’re significant
because you break away from the gazillion NGOs doing little little
work all over the place. At 30 crores you’re actually quite meaningful. You are
in the sort of rarified space of the top like percentile already of NGOs and when
you are a hundred plus crore you’ve really made it. You’re on that leader board
as it were or Fortune 50 – I use the corporate equivalent in the NGO space. What are the investments that one would have to make to reach that hundred crores leader board status? So I’ve always had this idea that and I think people in the
NGO sector will hate me for it but I think we should create some kind of
leader board and I would use revenue because revenue is the easiest way to
normalize across this. It’s very hard to compare health and education and
livelihoods in other areas and just look at revenue. I think the very few
as we said 100 plus crore I think to get there
first investment you need to make is around talent. Look, there is a certain
talent density that any successful company at that scale requires. It’s in
terms of the second line of leadership. You need obviously extremely
competent founder, CEO, but a really competent second line and a third line
which is emerging leadership – younger people who have potential that’s one
piece of it which is absolutely critical. I think the second one is really
investing a lot in systems and processes so that things can run on their own. I
mean I think an evolved CEO is one who doesn’t need to spend a lot of time on
day-to-day issues looking over the shoulder making sure on internal
stuff. I think it should just be running smoothly. I think you need to
figure out obviously fundraising and think hard about how you’re going to raise
resources because at the 10-20 crore mark you’re going to the usual suspects.
When you go to a hundred plus crore you really need to open up new frontiers.
Maybe you need to fundraise in the US and there’s an HNI segment largely there.
There’s foreign foundations and you need a different strategy to be able to
address that. There’s CSR, there’s probably local Indian giving, there’s retail
giving so you have to be much more strategic because you’re not going to
get to 100-200 crore by just going after one segment. I think those are the few
things that I would do. I mean you need obviously, some reasonable governance in
terms of good people involved who are holding you accountable but also
providing you support as you’re getting there. So those are some of the ingredients of the orgs that make it to 100 crores. What are some of the management principles that you have learnt that you have
employed in your work? What are some management principles that you advise
other organizations as they scale up? Are there international best practices in
governance that can be applied in India which are solely lacking? So firstly, I would say in terms of if you look at the international principles
nonprofit boards don’t work. They generally don’t work because I think
there’s a lot of rah rah rah in the nonprofit sector.
I think board members are either donors so, they’ve – if your donor typically
you’ve drunk the Kool-Aid and you’re just then helping the organization
fundraise, right? And sometimes CEOs like that, that you stack your board with
people who are your fundraising agents as it were. And you need an element of
that you obviously need champions. But I think what you need on a board is people
who will ask you the tough questions, people who’ll hold you accountable,
people who’ll make sure the board is functioning well, people who’ll even
question whether the CEO is the appropriate CEO or not who, people who
look at organizational development you know stuff like that. So, I feel that a
lot of corporate people, it’s interesting when they are on a corporate
board they behave very differently and when they get onto an NGO board it’s
almost like they switched some elements of their brain off and the sort of heart
came alive which wasn’t the case in the corporate boardroom. So, I think we
need a mix of both I’m not suggesting you obviously need to be a champion you
need to be a supporter you need to understand the beneficiary. I’m not
denying that but I think you need to be hard-nosed if you want to build a
successful organization as well and you need to question and need to be critical
and be willing to have a dialogue around any issue. That doesn’t happen very often
in NGO board. So, there’s a real governance problem in that sense. I
think it only manifests itself once you get beyond a certain scale. I think
if you’re a small NGO you can bumble along and you don’t really need
very sophisticated board. I think the other management principle is what I was
talking about earlier which is that look at the end of the day it’s people
who make things happen – you’ve got to hire people who are smarter than
yourself, you’ve got to hire people who are appropriate for the roles at the
appropriate time and are appropriate for the roles and you’ve got to bring out
the best in them. So, I think investing a lot in recruitment
it’s the CEOs job to spend almost half their time yeah between
recruitment and fundraising I think it’s the bulk of that time, to be
honest. But recruitment may be a quarter of that time but you’re always
recruiting in that anybody you meet you’re thinking of could this person be
the right person or would this person you’re building a pipeline or
database of people who are future recruits so I think thinking not just
leaving it to HR but I think thinking about recruitment is absolutely critical
thinking about organizational development. Coaching your team members putting in the right structures of
onboarding talent and how do you build a good culture, performance management – I
think these are all critical aspects that NGOs typically under invest in and
and it requires money sometimes you may need to get a coach for your
team members it cost money, you may need to hire a good HR person it costs money,
you may need to in some cases use a headhunter if you’re recruiting you
don’t always need one cost money, so I think you have to have that mindset to
say if you’re building a high quality org you need to invest three to
five percent of your resources in organizational development. That’s
critical. [Music] If you were put in charge of managing the budgets of the education sector what are the pieces that you would remove so that it frees up capital
to do some of the things that you have advocated for? Yeah, so I think look the budget typically grows at about twelve
thirteen percent annually which is nominal GDP and you get fiscal space in
a five-year period of time. You can’t shut off things. If you have a teacher in
secondary school the teacher will remain in secondary school so it’s not like you can… You can’t re-prioritize when you go from one year
just to the next because you don’t have as much space but when you think about
five years or six years you have a doubling of the budget, right? So now you
have a doubling, there are certain things you can sort of freeze or grow it
inflation and there are other things you can areas where you can invest. So
that’s the way I think about it – it’s not shutting things off it’s more
reprioritizing in terms of the budget and that’s where I would reprioritize
more in the early years as we do that. So if we have to fill in teacher vacancies,
if we need more than one teacher per classroom do it in in the early years
grades one two three invest in the pre primary and do it out of that head room
that comes as the budget gets doubled over the next six years.
It doesn’t mean you won’t shut off things in middle school and in
secondary school. Second thing is I would create more
budgetary space for innovation. So EdTech we are paying for
hardware we’re not utilizing very well. So, one is I would invest much more in
hardware. I mean if you look at other countries look at China they’re talking
about spending 7-8% of the school education budget on digital
which includes hardware and software. Look at Turkey that’s rolled out faith
program, look at so many other countries. I think we need to make those
investments and again it may be three to five percent of the total budget but
again, when you’re doubling the budget that space opens up and we need to think
about it now and not just pay for the hardware. But pay for the maintenance, pay
for the software, all of that so that’s another part and then there’s a
third part which is – I’d reserve some money for incentive for competition so
that there’s the normal of course you can’t shut off money going to but I
think really giving money for people who are outperforming or showing bigger
improvement or creating those incentives race to the top in the U.S. Some people
argue may not have been the best but I think the great thing about
it was in a system that spends 600 billion a year just taking four billion
dollars and spending it not even in a year but spreading it over three years.
So, it was like minute as a percentage well below 1% – the impact it had was that
many states changed their charter laws many of them
changed their teacher accountability policies. So, you can actually a small
amount of discretionary spend or incentive spend can actually change a
lot of things. So those are the ways in which I would if as you double
there are some things that will grow at inflation they may go up at 1.3 1.4 1.5x
but then there are other areas new areas where you can invest and there are
the areas you can prioritize going forward. Ashish, I’ve always learned a lot from you over the last seven years
this past hour has been a great insight into Finance one-on-one for the
development sector. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on all the
different forms of financing that’s available advice for
entrepreneurs who want to make a difference in the sector, giving us a
sense of what this problem is what systems we would need to solve this
thank you so much it was a pleasure talking. My pleasure
Thank You Ashish [Music]
[Music] [Music]

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2 thoughts on “EI Dialogues with Ashish Dhawan, Central Square Foundation (S2E8)”

  1. My favorite part of the video was understanding the gravity of the problem that India is facing – a large economy, 300 million students in school, 10 million teachers! Numbers can surely be overwhelming but loved how simply Ashish put everything into perspective and gave a framework on how to approach a problem of this magnitude.

    Highly recommend for anyone interested in the education sector, public finance, or understanding how philanthropy works.

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