Olina Banerji

Staff Writer - Education, Mobility, Sustainability • India Edition

Based in Delhi, Olina writes about mega-trends in urban mobility, education, skilling and the environment, with a focus on how institutions and innovations can help cities grow sustainably. She is a graduate of the London School of Economics, and has worked previously with India Today and global non-profit Ashoka.

78 Articles published

Top Comments by Olina Banerji

Human resources is a brand-new beast post-Covid. Are HR managers?

Hi Amukta. Thanks for reading the article. Truly sorry to hear about your burnout. I think a lot of us are facing similar issues. The article tries to convey why exactly then there's a need for an evolved HR function. The article's not saying anywhere that HR has figured it out. And its precisely in grappling with these challenges of remote work/WFH and dealing with mental health fallout, that HR needs to up its game. The article is trying to chronicle this unique change in our workplaces. And one of the groups of people most impacted are HR managers. Don't know how that makes it an infomercial.

Olina Banerji

KKR-backed Lighthouse Learning charts a K12 course

Hi Diwakar. Thank you for reading. You're right--the returns come from the cut collected by the education services company, which for all practical purposes acts as a service provider for the trust. There are usually three entities--the owner of the asset, the trust (which is supposed to own/lease the property) and the education services provider. A company like Lighthouse will have reps on the trusts' board, it may even purchase a stake in the company that owns the asset. That way they have more control over the destiny of the school. It's definitely not a simplistic structure :) As for your other question, KKR now owns 95% stake in Lighthouse.

Olina Banerji

The IIM franchise is denting the IIM brand

Hi Charan. Thank you for your comment. I hope you read the piece since the article doesn't convey that the spread of quality education should stop. Or that IIMs are the only islands of excellence. The story ends with pointing to other centres opening up in the private sector. But there is a need for course correction while these newer IIMs are still growing, is what the story argues. The argument isn't mine--you will find several people within the IIM system (and outside) report the same.

Olina Banerji

India's public edtech broadcast system DIKSHA has a private bottleneck

Hi Srid har. Thanks for reading the article. I fully agree with you that its heartening that so many students atleast have the opportunity to access content. As far as private bottlenecks are concerned, I think its explained well in the piece, but let me try again. Sunbird doesn't have anything do to operational challenges, DIKSHA does. DIKSHA is an instance of Sunbird. States can independently build a DIKSHA 2.0 of a DIKSHA for just UP, but state education depts don't usually have that kind of bandwidth. But the issue we're sharing is slightly different. It's about the structural nature of DIKSHA, which was a) created with little consent from state governments (its primary customer) and b) needs constant intervention from a central Ekstep team if any changes need to be made to the platform. That can slow down innovation significantly. My point is, contributing code to change DIKSHA is sort of an opaque process, and currently in the hands of a private agency. Hence the term "private bottleneck". I actually came up with the term "edtech broadcast system". It means when you're heavy on the push strategy. Like a broadcast :)

Olina Banerji

India's public edtech broadcast system DIKSHA has a private bottleneck

Hi Syndi. Thanks for reading. We are saying that a public edtech app is actually a great thing for the country. It will democratise learning. But the app/platform has to deliver what it promises or children and parents and teachers reliant on it will still be left behind. The article does not advocate private apps over government platforms. What the article details are challenges that practitioners are facing on the ground, and what can be done to resolve them.

Olina Banerji

India's public edtech broadcast system DIKSHA has a private bottleneck

That's fair Kshitij. A new initiative is always going to have teething issues. When we asked a set of users/collaborators of DIKSHA what they face, the biggest feedback we got was about how technically, the platform isn't open-source in its truest sense. As you mention, states can go to Sunbird and create their own platforms, but we also have to remember that they operate with little tech/fund capacity and its not possible for every state to have its own tech team. NIC has not usually been able to create quality platforms. So there's an inherent challenge with the way DIKSHA is structured.

Olina Banerji

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