“I am super excited about the startup energy, tech & product capabilities focusing on challenging social problems. I am hoping that this problem centric, non-siloed approach of working with for profits & nonprofits, can enable a way of problem solving & collaboration that creates meaningful & sustainable impact,” Mekin Maheshwari Founder, Udhyam Learning Foundation shared while speaking during the summit.
The pandemic dealt a severe blow to the education sector as schools and colleges remained shut. It deepened the gap in access to quality education and, while edtech startups rose to the occasion by leveraging technology to ensure that learning continued, underserved segments of society are still waiting to be addressed. ACT, with its education mandate aims to change that.
ACT for Education
Leveraging the learnings from the first phase, ACT in 2021 aims to raise INR 500 crores to focus on societal problems in four key areas – Healthcare, Environment, Women’s participation in the workforce and Education. As part of the education track, ACT launched the EdTech Ambition Fund at the recently-held ACT Summit, with an aim to raise INR 100 crore with the goal of –
- Reducing learning poverty: Good foundational skills in literacy and numeracy at primary level are crucial for tapping the full potential of a child. The fund will aim to reduce learning poverty to 15 percent, down from the current level of 55 percent, in India over the next 10 years.
- Preparing learners for life: The fund aims to ensure that the employability of 60 percent of India’s students improves by supplementing their education with courses on socio-emotional and practical skills.
Karthik Muralidharan, professor at UC San Diego doubled-down on the need to solve the learning crisis at the ACT Summit:
“In the past 20 years we’ve had considerable success in enrolments but it hasn’t translated into improved learning outcomes. As per estimates, 5th grade kids in rural India aren’t able to read at even 2nd grade level.”
The fund will invest in edtech products and platforms to improve access to and uptake of quality learning for the bottom three economic quartiles of India’s population.
If you are a startup with an innovative solution that could disrupt the education sector, or know someone who is passionate about driving impact on ground, get in touch with ACT at actgrants.in.
ACT was launched in March 2020 with a INR 100 crore fund to award grants to tech-driven companies with solutions to combat COVID-19 as well as to help them scale by bringing together networks, startups and additional grants as a force multiplier. With this approach and the collective support of the startup community, ACT in phase one was able to fund 54 startups & 100+ projects, impacting 49 million lives across 27 states.