Freda Wolfenden, Fola Komolafe with the award
Published on: 
2nd June 2015

TESS-India has been awarded the prestigious Innovation Award at the Bond International Development Awards.

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.

Jonathan Wong, Head of Innovation at the 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.”

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.

Ben Jackson, CEO of Bond said: “There was an impressive breadth of submissions that the panel considered through the three 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.”

Watch the three minute award entry video