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Smita Deorah of LEAD on why India's 280 million school-going children deserve better

1 Jam, 50 Menit

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24 Mei 2023

Smita Deorah's daughter was six months old when her mom started reading to her. And as she kept at it, one day, her daughter lapped it up, becoming an independent reader even before learning to speak. At this point, most parents would have thought their child was special.  Instead, Smita concluded that her daughter was just the same as most other kids. What was special was that she was privileged enough to be exposed to the right stimuli and resources at a young age by her mother. This was one of the key motivators that drove Smita to start LEAD, an ambitious company trying to solve for better school education in India. Smita is the co-founder and co-CEO of LEAD School. Of India's nearly 280 million school-going children, just around 5 to 8 million might be getting a quality education.  She says the rest are either in government-run or affordable private schools that simply aren't equipped to engage their curious and boundless minds.  Instead, they're subjected to mindless rote learning, often by underpaid teachers and ill-equipped administrations.  To change that, you have to relook at everything, including their curriculum, pedagogy, technology, teaching aids, government policies, parent mindsets and child psychology. In this episode, hosted by Rohin Dharmakumar, Smita explains how she lives on this mission, why she moved back to India, whether schools should work for profit, why India's students lag in learning by two years, and much more. You can read the full transcript of the conversation here: This is Episode 20 of First Principles, The Ken's fortnightly leadership podcast. The Ken is India's first subscriber-only business journalism platform. Check out our deeply reported long-form stories, insightful newsletters, original podcasts and much more here:


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