02 Jun 2015

OU’s teacher education programme in India wins innovation award

Development testing at Sherpura School

Development testing at Sherpura School

The Open University's TESS-India (Teacher Education through School-based Support in India) programme won the prestigious Innovation Award at the BOND International Development Awards last night.

Freda Wolfenden, Academic Director for TESS-India, and Fola Komolafe, Project Director for TESS-India, accepted the Innovation Award at a ceremony hosted by BOND - the UK membership body for organisations working in international development. The award showcases innovative approaches to a complex and changing external environment, and celebrates international civil society organisations that are thriving in a world of rapid change.

India has made huge strides in getting more students enrolled in school, but ensuring a productive learning experience for every student is a huge challenge. Initiated at the request of the Government of India and funded by UK aid from the UK government, TESS-India aims to support teachers in actively engaging students in activities from the school curriculum, to enhance their achievement.

TESS-India harnesses the OU's experience of delivering high quality education on a massive scale to help improve teaching quality. The programme's innovative multilingual Open Educational Resources (OER) enables teachers to improve their classroom practices. A toolkit of text-based and video OER is designed for primary and secondary teachers of Maths, Literacy, English and Science.

Jonathan Wong, Head of Innovation at the OU’s Department for International Development who chaired the judging panel said: "This is a powerful model for improving the quality of education for hundreds of thousands of children in India. It presented ‘innovation through decentralisation' in providing an open curriculum framework, allowing teachers in India to create their own ‘off the shelf' practical resources and contextualise learning pathways for their students. It is a multilingual and accessible approach that's adaptable to local need. The powerful multi-faceted partnership is absolutely critical in allowing the programme to achieve scale and sustain impact."

Ben Jackson, CEO of Bond said: “The Bond Innovation Award entries showcases organisations taking innovative approaches. It celebrates international civil society organisations that are thriving in a world of rapid change. There was an impressive breadth of submissions that the panel considered through the 3 innovation lenses of being either ‘completely new’, ‘an old idea made new’ or ‘an old idea in a new context’. All the ideas addressed a stubborn challenge, however The Open University’s teacher education through school-based support project won as it showed impact, scalability and sustainability in its approaches.”

TESS-India is a collaborative programme, with academic leadership from a team of 10 academics in the OU's Faculty of Education and Language Studies (FELS), and project management from the International Development Office (IDO). TESS-India also works with a dedicated team in India, seven state ministries of education, and over 200 Indian and international teacher education experts, policy makers and teachers.


Notes to editor

About TESS-India
TESS-India (Teacher Education through School-based Support in India) is a project led by The Open University to improve the quality and quantity of teacher education in India. It is funded by UK aid from the UK Government.
Watch TESS-India’s award entry video -

For further information please visit the TESS-India website -

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