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Courage to walk the last mile – Teach For India Alumni starts Project Taleem, a school transformation project in rural Kashmir.

In 2013, a learning center was started in the heart of Tughlakabad area in South Delhi. The intent was quite simple: we wanted the children to continue learning even after school, by giving them access to a more flexible space to innovate and grow. This is how Simple Education Foundation (SEF) came into being. The idea was to build structures that transform the way we learn and teach in the education space.

As Teach For India Fellows, we understood the value of the network that gave us unrestricted access to knowledge and skills to become better teachers. Equipped with our skills, that was a continuous mentor support that gave us the confidence to raise the bar for ourselves, and for our children.

Using those very experiences as our inspiration, SEF designed a school transformation model that gives the power of learning and teaching back in the hands of stakeholders. We called this “Project Taleem”. We realized that our public education system is perhaps then the best platform for us to implement ‘Taleem’, since transformation within public schools would widen our reach and impact.

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In 2015, we got the opportunity to work with the Department of School Education, Kashmir, to launch ‘Taleem’ as a pilot initiative in government schools. We’re currently fundraising to run the program for the academic year in 2016 in 10 schools in rural Kashmir. This will be our test of what it takes to build an equitable learning environment within our system. Our vision for ‘Taleem’ is to build an environment that nurtures continuous learning and allows teachers and students to take ownership of the knowledge they seek to impart and gain. We believe that once an individual is able to re-imagine their own learning curve, then they actively take charge of making it better, so as to excel at it.

This for us at Simple Education Foundation is the crux of equity of knowledge. It’s the access of equal opportunities for all – the learners, the teachers and even, the administrators.

Written by Mainak Roy, Teach For India Alumnus.

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