EdTech Investment: Andre Agassi Backed Early Learning Innovator Square Panda to Invest US$50 M in India
Square Panda India is an innovator in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) and educator empowerment programs in India. It offers a powerful EdTech platform to ensure foundational literacy and numeracy across India.
In keeping with the ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’, Square Panda India is committed to impacting millions of children and educators across every strata in India, and has already made its impact felt in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, and Uttar Pradesh, by rolling out its early learning initiative, ‘Aarambh’, which aims to develop the ECCE ecosystem in every state.
To this end, Square Panda is looking to invest US$ 50 million in India over three years, to build its curriculum and content capacities. The investment will go towards strengthening capabilities in contextualizing and localizing to meet the diverse demands of Indian children and teachers spread across the nation. A key component of this investment is to customize programs into other languages for greater localization and contextualization.
The challenge is a welcome one and the numbers are vast, which is exciting for an EdTech company like ours, that delivers learning solutions backed by neuroscience research
Andre Agassi, Chairman and Founder of The Andre Agassi Foundation for Education, Chairman of Board, Square Panda says, “I am thrilled that Early Childhood Care and Education is at the centre-stage of India’s New Education Policy. Square Panda has a massive role to play in a developing country like India, a country that is mindful about the cost-benefit analysis of providing foundational literacy and numeracy to every child, across India’s grassroots. The challenge is a welcome one and the numbers are vast, which is exciting for an EdTech company like ours, that delivers learning solutions backed by neuroscience research.”
To ensure grassroots development, we need to embrace greater contextualization, localization, and building conversational skills that suit our existing education ecosystem alongside embracing innovative technologies, such as AI and AR
Speaking ahead of this development, Ashish Jhalani, Global CMO and MD, Square Panda India, said, “Our aspiration is to build the first dual-language system tailored to India’s unique requirements. The NEP reminds us that we cannot forget vernacular languages. As an EdTech company, we can confidently say that in order to ensure grassroots development, we need to embrace greater contextualization, localization, and building conversational skills that suit our existing education ecosystem alongside embracing innovative technologies, such as AI and AR.”
With this in mind, Square Panda is working across India’s villages to integrate its technology into desktops, as this is what Anganwadi workers, ECCE educators, and children have access to.
Programs Under Aarambh
The programs under Aarambh are as follows:
Anganwadi Workers Upskilling Program: The goal is to empower Anganwadi workers with holistic knowledge, provide nourishment to the child in their care, both for the body and mind, and to help Anganwadi teachers unleash their potential to help in the development and education of children.
Empowerment and Enrichment Program for ECCE Educators: The purpose of this program is to empower educators to build holistic knowledge and transform the way they teach. It helps in capacity building of educators on ECCE and its impact on learning outcomes for children. In addition, it helps to empower them to use technology for teaching and learning, and improve English proficiency.
Foundational Learning Program: Literacy and Numeracy for children: Through this program, Square Panda India aims to improve overall learning outcomes in India and build an effective and inclusive education system. The objective is to build foundational learning in English literacy and numeracy, i.e., children’s ability to read with meaning and do basic math calculations.
About Square Panda India
Square Panda India has put in years of research in early childhood learning. We understand how young minds evolve, and use neuroscience backed learnings to create our teaching-learning programs. The curriculum is designed by an in-house team of experts, including researchers, school administrators, educators, teacher trainers, counsellors, specialists in the fields of cognitive neuroscience and early education, child psychologists, technologists, game developers, and coders.
Square Panda India works closely with government schools, communities, and organizations across the grassroots levels, to holistically train and elevate the entire ECCE ecosystem, including the Anganwadi workers, the ECCE educators, and the children themselves.
What Is Foundational Literacy and Numeracy?
Foundational literacy and numeracy is the ability of a third-standard child to read and comprehend basic text and to carry out basic arithmetic operations with Indian numerals. Several evaluation reports have revealed that among third standard students, the majority of children can neither read a second standard level text, nor solve questions on subtraction. Research indicates that if a child is unable to reach a certain degree of grade-level competency by the end of the third standard, the learning gap will only further deepen, perpetuating inequity and economic loss.