Tara Akshar Literacy Program among six global winners in WISE Awards for promoting education

Doha/New Delhi: The World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), a leading international initiative driving innovation and collaboration in education, has announced the six 2016 WISE Awards winning projects. Tara Akshar Literacy Program (India), the only India social venture, was among six winners of WISE Awards.  Tara Akshar is a computerized literacy and numeracy program for adults, especially for women based in North India, that works within 56 days and encourages very low dropout rate.

TARA Akshar  has been running successfully in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi/NCR, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan since 2007. The failure and dropout rates are remarkably low at below 5. The program’s primary targets are women in rural India, so that they can break free from a cycle of poverty. The number of validated Tara Akshar graduates now exceeds 165,000. There have been several studies of the outcomes of Tara Akshar, not least by the donors. But a recent in-depth independent study by researchers from Delhi, Ottawa and Tokyo universities has further validated Tara Akshar’s claim to be an extraordinarily effective short-term program, which makes significant changes to the lives of its graduates.

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Since 2009 the WISE Awards have identified and promoted some of the most innovative and effective practices in tackling urgent global education challenges. Every year, recipients of the WISE Awards join a network of other successful and pioneering projects through which they gain global visibility and are given an opportunity to collaborate through various platforms, such as WISE Communications, WISE Publications and the WISE Summit. Projects also receive $20,000 (US) and are celebrated at the WISE Summit and other WISE events.

Independent education consultants from Parthenon-EY assess the applicants and a jury comprised of international education experts then evaluates the 15 shortlisted finalist projects that aim to build a network of change-makers to inspire others around the world.

Dr Abdulaziz Al-Horr, CEO of Qatar Finance and Business Academy, is one of the ten education authorities who form the WISE Awards Jury. He remarked: “The 2016 WISE Awards embody the notion of ‘education as empowerment’. Each of the winning projects can be seen as a tool to overcome some of the world’s biggest education challenges. They are reaching out to refugees, they are supporting struggling students, and they are changing lives through vocational training… We are confident that this recognition will support these projects in promoting new ideas and practices, and in building a better future for all.”

Parthenon-EY Managing Director Ashwin Assomull also commented, “This is the fourth year that Parthenon-EY has worked with WISE and it is always a fascinating project. Our team conducts the on-the-ground due diligence assessment of finalists based on WISE’s metrics of impact, innovation, and capacity for growth. We develop detailed reports for the WISE jury, who make the decision.”

The six 2014 WISE Awards winning projects address an array of education challenges including literacy, access to quality and relevant education, entrepreneurship:

Tara Akshar Literacy Program (India)

Education for Growth and Value Creation (Lebanon)

JUMP Math (Canada)

Geekie – Personalized Learning for All (Brazil)

Ideas Box (France)

Little Ripples  (United States of America)

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