In his three-minute TED Talk, Derek Sivers tells us that a movement is made not by charismatic leaders but rather by the first followers. It is the people who are alert to a new idea, who are inspired to leave their comfortable routine, and who adopt and adapt an innovation—these are the movement makers.
As a new set of education goals are drafted, improving quality and learning is likely to be more central to the post-2015 global development agenda. One important question to ask is – how can we measure the learning progress of all children? Ten years ago, citizens in India started using basic reading and arithmetic tools at home to systematically assess for themselves what their children are able to do.
In January, I was honored to be present as the Pratham family celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Annual Status of Education Report (ASER). I learned that ASER means impact in Hindi. Having followed its progress closely over the years, I can only confirm that ASER is fulfilling the vision and promise of its name.
On January 14, 2015, eminent panelists Madhav Chavan from Pratham Education Foundation, Lant Pritchett from Harvard Kennedy School, Ruth Levine from Hewlett Foundation and Aaron Benavot from UNESCO sat down to talk about the spread, promise and challenges of the ASER approach in tackling the learning crisis in India and outside.
The bell has rung. Civil society leaders from India, Pakistan, Senegal, Mali, Nigeria, Mexico, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania have come together, with optimism and conviction, asking others to join a movement to ensure that all children learn the fundamental, life-changing skills of reading and arithmetic.