Changing Education

In a world that is facing volatility, technological disruption and new challenges, education is at the cross-roads of transformation. New resources and flows of information encompassing these changes are needed. This is because education needs to prepare students for radical changes and not just do a knowledge transfer as traditional systems have been doing. The poor and marginalised will be the most affected in such a world as they will struggle to cope with the increased demands for new skills and knowledge.

 WPP  is a creative transformation company and amongst the world’s largest multinational marketing companies. In India, WPP has set up the WPP Foundation that primarily focuses on improved educational outcomes and livelihood based training. According to Rama Iyer, Director General of WPP Foundation, “We believe that education has the power to transform lives. With this core philosophy we have launched the Education to Livelihood (E2L) program addressing key focus areas—retention in school, poor learning outcomes, work skilling and deep-rooted social norms.” The program supports approximately 20,000 first generation learners from 11- 18 years. The foundation works with students as well as their eco-system of families, teachers and counsellors in the areas of literacy and numeracy, digital innovation, social skills, sport, dance and music.  

The Foundation has brought in a range of interventions from leading experts to craft a unique curriculum. They adopted a methodology called “Theory of Change” to craft the roadmap that has now delivered 96% attendance in classes and limited the drop-out rate to just 3 percent (versus a national average of 17 percent). Through their livelihood programme, over 600 children have been trained in job-readiness skills and 70% of these children have received an industrial placement or will be pursuing further education. Rama says, “The theory of change helps to identify the key activities within the four key verticals of our work—education, livelihood skills, soft-skills and health and they are aligned to the needs of the schools and the children’s education to livelihood journeys. These activities are implemented in the schools after careful deliberation in the beginning of the academic year and co-designed based on the specifications shared by the school authorities. The outcomes of these activities are then mapped across the theory of change, which become the key deliverables of our implementation partners and measured rigorously through our impact evaluations.”

The WPP Foundation plans to work with the children for the long term and help them overcome the many challenges of schooling, as well as helping them get their first job.

Based on a conversation with Rama Iyer – WPP Foundation. For the Responsible Future blog