I have written a couple of emails to Shabnam, and we have talked about her most recent trip to India, but I had no idea what she was really doing. Here’s her video presentation of her new venture, Tech to Teach.
Here is her writeup of Tech To Teach, a market research organization You can read the entire post here.
Tech to teach is a market research organization with a mission to shift the paradigm of education at the base of the pyramid. Hindsight is a conference with a mission to explore and unearth failures in development sector. The two intersect in a tour lasting 8 months and spanning 4 countries in South Asia and 15 countries in Africa.
The purpose of the tour is to both explore education at the root and to interview grassroots innovators creating products and services targeted at base of the pyramid market. The end goal is to create a trend analysis on the failures that have occurred and to use these trends to create best practices for potential new entrepreneurs in both education and the development sector as a whole.
Our feasible plan is to both video and word blog our interviews with incredible innovators and social entrepreneurs, blog our trend analysis in poverty and education, and create useful, actionable solutions for budding social entrepreneurs to capitalize upon in their own endeavors. We imagine we would produce quality blogs on average 5 times per week.
The research will focus on schools that serve low income families; government schools, affordable private schools, and religious schools. As many demographics as possible will be included in the research: urban and rural, slum and tribal areas. Further, the research will zero in on teachers as opposed to past, similar research focusing upon children only.
A study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research looked at how to reduce teacher absenteeism in rural Indian schools by asking teachers to take a photograph when they arrived at school and prizing them with a monetary incentive for each arrival. The study showed the likelihood of children’s acceptance into “regular” schools significantly increase to 40%.
The gaps in education today are immense and the paradigm is continually worsening. However, if we can tackle basic, foundational problems such as teacher attendance, teacher adoption of new materials and methods, and teachers’ ability to communicate and manage both upwards and downwards, we can shift the paradigm.
Technology solutions in education to date have severely failed to meet the needs of children at the base of the pyramid. The gaps on the solution side are also immense, involving a lack of research, piloting, rapid prototyping with the target users, and a basic understanding of what is needed. Bridging this gap is possible, but requires a deep understanding of not only students’ needs but also teachers’ incentives to adopt and deploy a particular solution.
The research will be conducted on both ends: both with the schools and the solution providers, as well as in the intersection of the two. The goal will be analyzing where solutions have been deployed, where they have succeeded, where they have failed, and why. This research will take place for 8 months, in a plethora of cities, villages, and slums throughout South Asia and Africa.
The result of the market research will be one of two conclusions: a consultancy service acting as the IDEO for education at the base of the pyramid, or a product solution plugging the gaps in the education paradigm.
The consultancy company will work with service providers and schools to appropriately cater solutions to the needs of a specific demographic.
The product solution company will be a for-profit entity focused on marketing and selling the educational solution at base of the pyramid users.
We look towards a future in which every child is given access to appropriate and contextualized education, in which they can thrive in a variety of ways, and where they are encouraged to learn and interact with the world around them.