No country in the world has undergone more change in education during the last 5 years than perhaps India. Education in India is a fundamental right, recognized by the passage and enactment of the Right to free & compulsory Education Act.
However, in order to impact the great number of schools, colleges and universities in a country with over one billion people, of which 50% are 25 years old or younger, education in India must innovate. We must create new and more relevant structures of learning, technology usage, curriculum and pedagogy in order to bring about the needed change.
The Education Innovation Fund for India (EIFI) is a collaborative project between the HP Office of Global Social Innovation and the India Council for Integral Education (ICIE), an initiative of the Sri Aurobindo Society.
The purpose of EIFI is to identify and collaborate with significant innovative ideas and projects in education that can be developed and scaled to the next level of operation, with the sponsorship of an EIFI Grant.
This is to be done through a nationwide search to nurture and support the most promising innovations in education within India. There are three categories of grant awards. The top grant, upto One Crore rupees, is given to ‘the Most Promising Project in Educational Innovation.’ Fifteen grants of upto 15 lakh rupees will be awarded to projects that show the potential capability to impact the future of education in India. The Young Learner and Young Innovator program encourages young people from schools and junior colleges between ages 11 and 17 to apply for grants between Rs 11,000/- and One lakh rupees, in the belief that young people are fully capable of inspiring ideas for shaping the future of education.
Grants will be selected by a Jury of prominent leaders in India’s education, Government service and business management fields. Grant recipients will be announced at a national ceremony in February 2012.
The Advisory Council of EIFI includes well-known national leaders of major NGOs, consultancy service companies, educational service providers, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE, USA), and global leaders in educational innovation.
The India Council for Integral Education (ICIE) is a centre of educational innovation and excellence, and a premier association for master teachers, master facilitators and master administrators within India. The Council is a project of Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry and an affiliate of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE, USA).
Sri Aurobindo, visionary, revolutionary, writer and Yogi has been hailed by the Nobel laureate Romain Rolland as “the greatest synthesis of the East and the West” and by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore as the ‘voice of India’. His thought, yoga and philosophy have greatly influenced education in India. The Sri Aurobindo Society is an institution of national importance with centres and branches throughout India. It is one of the largest and oldest organizations working for the next future, both in India and around the world.
The HP Office of Global Social Innovation is also the sponsor of the HP catalyst initiative, with Grant awardees in a number of countries, dealing in the same areas of innovation as the EIFI challenge within India. These projects constitute one of the largest networks of educational innovation globally, and continue to significantly transform educational practice and the experience of education by children all over the world.
EIFI is a beautiful collaboration at the person to person and organization to organization level between India and the United States.