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10th School Choice National Conference: Rethinking education

Date: 14 December 2018
Venue: Silver Oak, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi

We hosted the 10th edition of the School Choice National Conference - our flagship, annual conference on education policy, on 14 December at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi. Addressing the theme of 'Alternative Education: Philosophy, Practice, Policy', the conference drew participation from over 200 people, including policy experts and policy-makers, educationists, practitioners, civil society leaders, researchers, journalists and students.

The conference had 3 dedicated panels exploring the philosophy, practice and policy of alternative education in India. Our eminent speakers and panellists consisted of leading policymakers, researchers, academics and education practitioners such as Anil Swarup, Former Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy, Government of India; Padma Shri Geeta Dharmarajan, Founder, Katha; Chandra Bhushan Sharma, Chairman, National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS); and Gitanjali JB, Co-founder, Himalayan Institute of Alternatives, Ladakh (HIAL) among others.

The keynote address was delivered by Dr Sugata Mitra renowned for his 'Hole in the Wall' experiment and winner of TED Prize 2013. The inaugural panel on 'Philosophy: Education beyond conventional classrooms', explored the philosophical/pedagogical foundations of alternative education in the country, deliberating whether the shift from conventional to alternative schooling today is a response to the established failure of mainstream schooling in engendering competence and critical thinking among students. The second-panel 'Practice: Experiments in alternative education', explored efforts to redefine conventional schooling practices both within the framework of established learning sites and outside of it. Drawing from a rich tradition of alternative educational practices in India, the session was a conversation with practitioners in the space to examine the success, challenges, scope of experiments to address some of the key challenges in the education sector in India today.

Highlighting the critique of the pro-government, non-inclusionary policies, the final panel 'Policy: Examining regulatory frameworks' debated the policy framework for alternative education in India, heard perspectives of education experts and explored the involvement of civil society in creating and shaping opinions that govern the thriving model of alternative education in the country.

The conference concluded with the valedictory address delivered by Padma Shri Geeta Dharmarajan who highlighted the need for flexible education policies to help alternative education thrive and flourish.

The conference received significant media coverage with 23 citations in leading print and online publications like Times Now, India Today and Business Standard.

See snapshots from the conference here.

Deliberating on the Role of Learning Outcomes in Education Governance

Date: 13 December, 2018

Venue: Deputy Speaker Hall, Constitution Club of India

On 13 December, we hosted a roundtable on the role of learning outcomes in school education in India. Premised on our working Policy Blueprint on Learning Outcomes in education, the roundtable addressed the need for a consensus on the definition and modes of assessment of student learning outcomes, urging for a shift from the RTE's enduring input-based regulation of education in the country.

Chaired by Dr Parth J. Shah, President,CCS, the discussion was steered by Vikram Bhat, Director, Research & Advocacy, Dream a Dream Foundation and Vyjayanthi Sankar, Founder and Executive Director, Centre for Science of Student Learning (CSSL). It addresses the following core questions:

  1. What are the elements beyond reading, writing and arithmetic that could constitute learning outcomes?
  2. What are the global lessons from the use of learning outcomes for governance?
  3. How can we measure and use outcomes for improving school education in India?


The roundtable brought together 28 participants, including representatives from the government, leaders of civil society organisations, policy experts, academicians, educationists and researchers.

We also had a consultation with the Comptroller Auditor General (CAG) of India on 10 December 2018 to provide technical assistance in building an outcome-based audit system for schools in India. CAG’s invitation was a big win for CCS, since we have been consistently advocating for orienting education governance towards outcomes. Besides Parth J Shah, two other CCS board members–Amit Kaushik and Geeta Gandhi Kingdon–were also present at the meeting.

To know more about the discussion outcomes or our policy blueprint on learning outcomes write to

Talking Policy with Journalist Change-makers: Pizza, Policy, etc.

Date: 30 December, 2018

Venue: IGNCA, New Delhi

We had an impactful end to the year with our monthly dialogue engaging journalists on contemporary policy concerns. Conducted at IGNCA on 30th December, the dialogue saw participation from 17 journalists from leading media houses like All India Radio, Doordarshan, Zee News, Network 1, and India Today, among others.

Led by Avinash Chandra, Editor,, the discussion addressed the regulatory bottlenecks retarding enterprise in India along with the limits of loan waivers as an effective solution to the country's enduring agricultural crisis.

Workshop and Panel Discussion on ‘Design Thinking in Public Policy’

The Indian School of Public Policy (ISPP) hosted a workshop and panel discussion on 'DesignThinking in Public Policy' on 21st December 2018 at the PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industry, New Delhi. Conducted by Design Strategist Sukanto Roy, the workshop addressed the different stages of user-centred policy design such as discovery (understanding local context), define (identification of problem), action plan, creating a prototype (solution) and testing.

The concluding panel discussion on 'Design Thinking in Public Policy' was chaired by Parth Shah, President, CCS and included policy and design experts including Sukanto Roy; Harsh Shrivastava, CEO, Microfinance Institutions Network; and Dr Aditya Dev Sood, Social Entrepreneur. Our eminent panellists deliberated on the relevance and implications of design thinking in formulation and framing of sound public policies. The event was attended by over 40 students, young professionals, and journalists.

The ISPP is conceived as the first design-thinking focused school of public policy in India with a vision to develop policy professionals with the knowledge, skills, wisdom and ethics to understand, design and implement local solutions to India's enduring policy and governance challenges.

Ipolicy: Nurturing Policy Leaders

This December, we conducted ipolicy - our flagship introductory training in public policy in Delhi and Mumbai. In Delhi, we partnered with the Shri Ram College of Commerce and the India Fellow Social Leadership Program. We had 77 young leaders successfully graduate from the two courses in Delhi along with 29 enthusiastic learners in Mumbai. Our expert faculty and mentors included Prashant Narang, Advocate, Supreme Court; Yugank Goyal, Associate Professor and Assistant Dean (Research), Jindal School of Liberal Arts & Humanities; Barun Mitra, Founder, Liberty Institute; and Ameya Paratkar, Public Policy Advocate among others. Introducing participants to principles of sound public policy and to market-liberal perspectives on contemporary socio-economic concerns, some of the sessions our faculty offered included Rule of Law, Public Choice Economics and Property Rights.

Want an ipolicy at your college? Write to or subscribe to CCS Connect to keep updated on upcoming ones.

EduDoc 2018: Education in the Spotlight

Date: 14 December, 2018

Venue: Juniper, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi

We hosted the screening of the winning films of Edudoc 2018 as a part of the School Choice National Conference on 14 December with an audience of over 90 people. In its 4th edition, this year, we received over 1700 entries from 104 countries! 'Laleh Complex' by Komeil Soheili of Iran, won the award for the best film while at the second and third place, we had 'Dreamers of Breswana' by Praveen Pillay of India and 'Bringing Schools Where There are None' by Gianmarco D'Agostino of Italy respectively. Our winners were felicitated by our Guest of Honour, K G Suresh, eminent Journalist and Director General, Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), New Delhi.

Every year, EduDoc - our international short film competition, brings the stories of education and the impact of policy on everyday education practice, into the spotlight. Earlier this year, we also launched the first edition of the Edudoc Film and Policy Fellowship, a unique mentorship based documentary-making fellowship program for education and film enthusiasts. With a cohort of 8 committed fellows, rigorously selected from a pool of 61 applications from 14 countries the program offered a two-month training in education policy and the essentials on film-making. 'Vikiran' by Mritunjay Sharma from India won the Best Fellow-Film Award at Edudoc 2018.


Amplifying our call for the recognition of 26th November - the Constitution Day of India, as the National Repeal Law Day, we marked the day with the launch of the second edition of our State Compendiums of Laws of Repeal. The launch was accompanied by a panel discussion on ‘Exploring Alternatives: Institutionalisation of Repeal of Laws’ which addressed the need for a legal framework that recognises the immediate exigency to scrap or amend obsolete, redundant and illiberal laws that thwart development, effective governance and freedoms. Our panelists included prominent lawyers, legal scholars, jurists and experts such as Tariq Anwar, Former Union Minister; PK Malhotra, Former Law Secretary, Ministry of Law & Justice; Maneesh Chhibber, Editor, The Print; Satya Prakash, Legal Editor, The Tribune; Hemant Batra, Founder and Chairman, Kaden Boriss Global and Dr Neeti Shikha, National Coordinator, Repeal of Laws initiative, Centre for Civil Society and Associate Professor, Symbiosis Law School, NOIDA.

The compendiums have been published in collaboration with the Symbiosis Law School (SLS), Noida, Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar, National Academy of Legal Studies & Research (NALSAR), Hyderabad, National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore, University of Jammu, and Kaden Boriss Partners our research advisory; and present a rigorously researched repository of laws for repeal in the states of Assam, Gujarat, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura and Jammu & Kashmir.

We had first launched the ‘Repeal of 100 Laws’ Project in 2014 in partnership with National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) and Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy,urging the central government to repeal 100 laws identified as flawed, ineffective or redundant. The 100 laws relate largely to business and enterprise regulation, outmoded labour relations, unnecessary taxes and licenses, etc. 23 of these laws have been successfully repealed. In a similar exercise with the Maharashtra state, the government repealed 19 out of 25 proposed laws.

With over 102 participants, the launch of the compendiums and our call for a National Repeal Law Day was covered in 8 media publications, including NDTV, Mangala Times, and The Print.

Repeal 100 Laws Project | Snapshots

Engaging Journalist Alumni

Date: 24th November, 2018

Venue: IGMCA, New Delhi

In the month of November, we hosted our monthly journalists' dialogue with 14 journalist leaders representing media platforms such as Lok Sabha TV, Doordarshan, All India Radio, Hindustan, Amar Ujala and India TV, among others. Hosted at IGMCA, New Delhi on 24th November, the discussion addressed the need for the institutionalisation of an annual judicial audit in the context of the launch of our State Compendiums of Laws for Repeal. The discussion was led by Avinash Chandra, Editor,

To know more about our monthly dialogues with journalists, contact

Taking Education Reform Ideas to the MHRD

We met with Rina Ray, Secretary, Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development, to discuss the enduring crisis of learning in India, and to present our recommendations for learning-outcomes based school regulation. We also presented comprehensive policy blueprints on Direct Benefit Transfers and need for the separation of roles of the government as the financier, provider and regulator of education.

CCS has been committed to advancing reforms in education that promote choice, quality and accountability, keeping students first. Our principles of choice, efficiency and competition have informed our policy advocacy and we have worked consistently to shift focus from infrastructure to outcomes, to implement DBT as a tool to improve efficiency and accountability.