As part of the UK trade delegation to India, The Open University UK and Save the Children, the leading child rights organisation in India,have announced a new partnership to deliver the TESS-India (Teacher Education Through School-Based Support) project from November 2016.  Since 2012, the project has been funded by DFID (Department for International Education).  The new partnership with Save the Children will now enable the project to transition to an independent and sustainable model, building on the success to date.

TESS-India, which has been led by the OU, aims to raise standards of education by giving primary and secondary school teachers in India the support they need without taking them out of the classroom. The vision of the project is to ‘develop better educated and more highly skilled teachers across India by 2025. High-quality Open Educational Resources (OERs) have been made freely available to all, and have been endorsed by national and state governments in India.  TESS-India utilises technology to support the learning process through equitable access.  Through this, the project provides a model to support the future of education in India, which has already reached over 1 million teachers, teacher educators and education managers across the seven target states (Assam, Bihar, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Utter Pradesh and West Bengal). 

Steve Hill, Director External Engagement, The Open University, said, “For almost 50 years the OU has not only put social mobility at the very heart of what we seek to do, it is the foundation of our mission which is still incredibly relevant today. We have been leading the way in teacher education in Britain and internationally for many years, enabling teachers to learn without taking them out of the classroom. TESS-India is an innovative project achieving substantial impact, and through the partnership with Save the Children India we continue to have a pivotal role in supporting the future of education in India.”

Thomas Chandy, CEO, Save the Children, said, “In India we have been focusing on the provision of quality education to children – especially those who are the most marginalised – because just increasing school enrolments is not enough. This partnership brings in vital technical expertise from The Open University, which will help us to have a stronger impact in contributing to national policy and the development of urgently required solutions to ensure a productive learning experience for Every Last Child; and thereby transform India’s classrooms.”   

The announcement follows an extension of the project by DFID for an additional year until March 2017 to support the successful transition to a sustainable model.  TESS-India will continue to work in partnership with Indian government organisations to progress further this UK and Indian collaboration in teacher education, enhanced by the use of technology.  The new partnership with Save the Children will enable the project to receive funding from Indian donors and organisations, in order to continue the valuable work of TESS-India, and to develop the project further. 

In November, TESS-India will also be launching its first Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) in Hindi.  Developed by OU and Indian academics, this six-week course supports teacher educators at scale in changing how they work with teachers, and supports them in using the OERs.  In November 2015, the English version of this MOOC was studied by over 10,000 participants and had an impressive completion rate of 51%.  The Hindi version of the MOOC is expected to reach a far wider audience.. 

The trade delegation to India was led by British Prime Minister, Theresa May, with the aim to build closer relations between the two countries. The Open University was part of the Confederation of Indian Industry Tech Summit and Higher Education Summit that discusses to promote closer academic links. 

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