Sampark Foundation’s disruptive, inclusive innovation among Top 100 in MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change competition for a $100 Million Grant

New Delhi: Sampark Foundation’s disruptive, inclusive innovation–Sampark Smart Shala program— aimed at transforming the learning outcomes for millions of children, has been selected as one of the Top 100 in the prestigious John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation 100 &Change competition. We remain in the running for the competition’s award of a single $100 million grant.

“We are delighted that our work has been recognised by such a prestigious organisation. We are proud to be among the Top 100 in the 100&Change competition. Poor learning outcomes among children is one of the biggest problems facing the education system in India, and we are committed to solving this problem through our frugal, tech-driven interventions. We have already transformed learning outcomes for 7 million children in six states across the country, and are well on our way to reach out to 20 million children in the coming years,” said Vineet Nayar, founder chairman, Sampark Foundation.

On February 20, The MacArthur Foundation announced the highest-scoring proposals, designated as the Top 100, in its 100&Change competition for a $100 million grant for a project that can help solve one of the world’s most critical social challenges.

The Top 100 represent the top 21 percent of competition submissions. The proposals were rigorously vetted, undergoing MacArthur’s initial administrative review, a Peer-to-Peer review, an evaluation by an external panel of judges, and a technical review by specialists whose expertise was matched to the project. Each proposal was evaluated using four criteria: impactful, evidence-based, feasible, and durable. MacArthur’s Board of Directors will select up to 10 finalists from these high-scoring proposals this spring.

“MacArthur seeks to generate increased recognition, exposure, and support for the high-impact ideas designated as the Top 100,” said Cecilia Conrad, CEO of Lever for Change and MacArthur Managing Director, 100&Change. “Based on our experience in the first round of 100&Change, we know the competition will produce multiple compelling and fundable ideas. We are committed to matching philanthropists with powerful solutions and problem solvers to accelerate social change.”

Over 144 million children study in more than 1 million public-funded schools in India. In the 17 years since education became a fundamental right, the country has achieved a near-universal enrolment rate of 96% at the primary level. However, all independent surveys—including the National Achievement Survey (NAS)—point to alarmingly poor learning outcomes. If not tackled in time, India’s learning crisis can turn its demographic dividend into its biggest challenge.

Sampark Foundation believes that India needs to fight education inequality to fight economic and other debilitating inequalities. Though there are many different approaches to solving the learning outcome problem, Sampark Foundation focuses on the innovation at the interface of a child and the teacher by putting the teachers at the heart of its plans so that they own and drive the change and claim credit for a significant increase in the learning outcomes.

Our aim is to drive significant improvement in learning outcomes among 20 million children in 200,000 public-schools through disruptive, inclusive innovations effectively implemented in partnership with the government.

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