Weaving the Future of Education Leadership
By Pooja Chettri
In 2018, my journey in the education sector commenced as an educator. Little did I know that this venture would lead me to a profound exploration of educational leadership. The real turning point occurred in May 2023 when I joined EduMentumX, an initiative uniting the efforts of Mantra4Change and ShikshaLokam.
In the realm of educational innovation, EduMentumX stands as a pioneering initiative.. Grounded in the powerful idea of ‘exponential change’, EduMentumX is reshaping the definition of Education Leadership leading to student outcomes through systemic education transformation at scale. It envisions building a national narrative across 15 districts through 15 organizations in five years. EduMentumX emerged from a profound belief in energizing the system through collective action. With this vision, the initiative embarked on a mission to identify and nurture early-stage organizations, providing them with the necessary support, skills, and resources to create a lasting impact.
The first cohort, also commonly referred to as the Alpha cohort comprises organizations hailing from Punjab, Puducherry, and Uttar Pradesh. Their primary objectives include collaborating with educational system leaders to enhance their capabilities, fostering collaboration and adoption towards improvement efforts at various levels of stakeholders within the system.
Similarly, in India’s vibrant educational landscape, EduMentumX’s second cohort shines as a beacon of transformation, freshly onboarded to the program in October’ 2023. Selecting the second cohort was an arduous yet enlightening process that lasted for more than two months. Divided into four key steps, starting with the call for applications reverberating through social media platforms to pitching the project to the panel of esteemed members comprising philanthropists and experts.
- The application process, which served as a canvas for organizations to paint their aspirations for change, lasted 3 weeks, with a progression of applications ultimately closing at 95. Each of these applications had its approach centered around the notion of systemic change bringing their unique flavor to the table.
- Moving into the second round of proposal writing, 28 organizations articulated their dreams in detail, outlining their vision, implementation strategies, stakeholder engagements, and their commitment to Education Leadership driving Student Outcomes. These final selections of proposals were facilitated by multiple discussions with the leadership team at both Mantra and ShikshaLokam.
- The journey moved forward with in-depth interviews with 18 organizations that were shortlisted from the previous rounds. Expert panels comprising of Mentors who have had multiple decades of experience, like Vaishali Samanta, Chief Operating Officer, Veddis Foundation; KL Mukesh, Venture Partner Unitus Seed Fund; Purna Mukesh, Co-founder Kids Who Kode; and Sushant Thapparan, Senior Vice President and Head of Infosys Leadership Institute along with the program teams from Mantra4Change and ShikshaLokam engaged with each of the organizations by delving into the core of the organization’s mission, ensuring a deep alignment with the common goal of systemic change.
- As the last part of the selection process, 10 organizations stood before an esteemed investment committee (IC) comprising philanthropists and experts out of which 6 organizations were onboarded as part of the second cohort of EduMentumX.
Geographically diverse, these six organizations have converged under the EduMentumX banner, each bringing a unique focus and passion to the table. United by their dedication to education, they are set to create waves of change across three regions: North, East, and South.
- Slamout Out Loud – Social Emotional Learning through Arts, Punjab
- Alohomora Education Foundation – Career Support and Guidance, Haryana
- Makkala Jagriti – Early Childhood Care and Education, Karnataka
- Eduweave Foundation – Early Childhood Care and Education, Chhattisgarh
- Northeast Center for Equity on Integrated Development (NEAID) – Foundational Literacy and Numeracy, Assam
- Karunodaya Foundation – Foundational Literacy and Numeracy, Bihar
A virtual orientation held on 15th September 2023 marked the first get-together, where all six organizations came together and acquainted themselves with one another and learned about the specific focus areas of each organization, cheering on each other’s achievements and building a sense of collective for the aspirations for the years to come.
Over the next three years, these organizations, hand in hand with Mantra4Change and ShikshaLokam, will craft and strengthen district programs. This collaborative effort aims not only to scale educational initiatives but also to create a roadmap for measurable outcomes. It’s a journey fueled by passion, guided by expertise, and grounded in the firm belief of visionary leadership and systemic education transformation.
Looking back, I have personally learnt three invaluable lessons: First, every changemaker is a visionary. Second, the most impactful solutions emerge from those closest to the challenges. And third, the path to change is one that is threaded together.