A teacher does not only teach, she inspires. Ramya Venkataraman, an alum of IIT Delhi and IIM Calcutta and the Founder and CEO of ‘CENTA- Center for Teacher Accreditation’, talks to TechConnect about her mission of ‘Making Teaching an Aspirational Career’ by empowering teachers, creating a learning ecosystem and transforming the quality of education in India.
TechConnect: Do share some insights about ‘teachers’ as a part of the education ecosystem?
RV. Global research and field studies show that it is the teacher who plays the most important role in our education system. Several initiatives have been taken to enhance the quality of teaching. Unfortunately, most of these have just been pushed on teachers without considering their needs and the factors that motivate them to perform better.
Thus, to improve the quality of education, it is important to make teaching an ‘aspirational profession’. By having a reason to improve and update their pedagogical skills and knowledge, teachers will find different ways to perform better in their professional life.
“The value proposition needs to be so powerful that the effect is catalytic thereby motivating teachers to build their capabilities”
TechConnect: What is the rationale behind CENTA’s solution(s)
RV. CENTA has built its solutions to cater to 3 competencies: Technical, Core and Professional. Assessment & Certification of Teachers’ is done through My Centa app along with offering opportunity linkages to explore career options in collaboration with employers and development linkages to collaborate with training & development companies.
At first, we started with Teachers’ Olympiad to provide awards and recognitions to teachers before moving on to a mobile application. The application now has a network of over 30,000 teachers across 6000 cities / towns on the My Centa app.
Once you have scale, then the other two linkages: employers and training providers, would want to be on board. We do a very thorough due diligence about product / service providers basis need for specific competencies and link it with product / service. This helps teachers to keep themselves updated which opens more career opportunities for teachers.
“Marry market driven view of for-profit companies with access that nonprofit can bring”
TechConnect: What is your take on stakeholders’ involvement in such initiatives?
RV. Government is the key stakeholder as majority investments are done by government and the sector is also regulated. However, those players who go direct to students, tutorials / coaching companies, also form a large number. One major challenge faced by these players is to find qualified and experienced teachers. This is where these players partner with CENTA, thus making the entire value proposition more powerful.