Gaps in education can be closed with the help of technology, feels the American tech major. Its $1 million fund aims to advance education delivery and reach in India
Recently, Hewlett-Packard announced the $1 million Education Innovation Fund for India (EIFI) grant winners. The Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, was awarded the top grant of R10 million. IIMA’s ready-to-scale project titled Educational Innovation Bank (EI Bank) is designed to improve the quality of education in the public school system and is based on the work of innovative school teachers.
Additionally, 15 winners of the R1.5 million major grants and two winners of the R1 million special grants were awarded for projects being implemented at the grassroots that are results-oriented with strong educational outcomes. Also, as many as 40 smaller grants ranging from R10,000 to R140,000 were given under EIFI Young Learners and EIFI Young Innovators categories.
EIFI, which was launched last year, is a collaborative project between the HP Sustainability & Social Innovation group and the India Council for Integral Education (ICIE), an initiative of the Sri Aurobindo Society. Jeannette Weisschuh, director education strategy, HP Sustainability & Social Innovation Group, says that the $1 million fund is designed to promote education projects that use innovative learning approaches in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), pedagogy, curriculum development and holistic learning to advance education delivery and reach in India.
Taking us through EIFI’s brief journey, Weisschuh says, “When we first announced the EIFI grants in March 2011 at the HP Global Catalyst Summit in New Delhi, we were looking to reward true innovators in education who recognise the potential of technology to improve teaching and learning outcomes. After receiving the top grant of R10 million, we are hopeful that the EI Bank project at IIMA will be further scaled up, and grants under EIFI Young Learners and EIFI Young Innovators categories will help out respective beneficiaries.”
Vijaya Sherry Chand of the Ravi J Matthai Centre for Educational Innovation, IIMA, says, “The EI Bank builds on the strengths of those teachers who experiment and innovate on their own in order to solve educational challenges in their environment. As these challenges often need to be solved in isolation, teachers are now enabled to collaborate and exchange ideas with their peers.”
Neelam Dhawan, vice-president and general manager, Enterprise Group, and country managing director, HP India, adds that sustainable innovation is fundamental to HP. She says, “We recognise the importance