Education

Advancing Education:

Many forces reach out to shape the future of education in our global community. The beliefs and convictions of those who shape who we are at the AHEAD Foundation will drive our initiatives and efforts. Born of a legacy leaving in trust an invested interest in education and health care in India, AHEAD Foundation’s early work began with where the West and Southern Asia intersected. Issues & Opportunities (I&O) identified in the initial I&O Paper still hold a residual effect on new investment choices. As our community of advocates has grown, so has our view and perspectives, where we see ourselves touching lives, and how, has expanded. AHEAD Foundation, becoming North America based in 2008, has meant that we have been fortunate to find those who see great things to do here. Yet we have not lost sight of how we play in a global village and how we may leverage the assets of our past in India, where Our Story began in 1927.

Here are some beliefs and current initiatives that we as a community have chosen to invest in. We are hopeful of the investment returns.

 

 

Beliefs

Empowerment
Education is empowerment. Visions of a new future begin with education. Without literacy and the opportunities to learn that fall from it, there is no way to climb out of poverty or make a meaningful reach towards the global opportunities the child today is born into. As information becomes more universally available, an individual’s competencies to accessing and applying information become more significant. Ignorance is as sure a killer as oppressive regimes, poverty, disaster, epidemics or the many faces of misfortune that have stifled development around the world. In order for eduction to empower today however it must both introduce the channels we have to inform and the keys that unlock the human potential to convert the abundant resources of information to well being.  Valiant global humanitarian deployments to date, though laudable, still leave an unacceptable level of child  and human vulnerabilities, too basic for a civilized society.

Vulnerability
A millions plus children die each year for lack of access to nutrition, clean water and solutions that are available for less then a dollar a day. This is not easy to comprehend because it’s reality has become lost in the clutter of news of tragedy, natural disaster, terrorist threats, war and numerous life vulnerabilities however due consideration of comparison of scale.  A child’s life lost for basic nutrition and clean water is no longer news worthy. We face not a problem of available resources, not the knowledge to know what to do or the organized institutions that can deploy solutions we know work, but the attention of mind and the will and conviction to fund them. And while the AHEAD Foundation’s HumaniBank.org initiative is joining the community of organizations seeking to build funding solutions for humanitarian relief, there is nothing like the self empowering resource to accompany life sustaining health solutions like education. Education’s inclusion in a difference making agenda is imperative. It is often at school where more then a meal is served, hygiene is taught, vaccinations are made available, but it is where thinking, imagination and innovation rewarded becomes the foundation for hope, vision and the reach for a self sufficient great future replaces a since of vulnerability and hopelessness in the globes highest areas of risk. We have become a global village and our destinies are linked, how we do education  globally maters to all of us. Perhaps of those of us whom matters of survival are less present, falls a greater burden to ask how we can do it better.

Education’s Changing Channels
Vision fueled by a sense of empowerment is like a seed that grows and pushes against forces that oppress or hold back progress in all its forms. Advancement is about progress. Leaders and new thinkers in how we do education better underwrite education advancement. The future for education appears to be less about what we instill, what we teach or how we teach. Education advancement is perhaps less about learned credentials of the educator, or the institution they serve in, but more about how we connect a student’s mind to the world’s exploding leaning resources now more globally accessible then ever. Education has always reached past knowledge to things of reason, wisdom and application. While these things that reach past knowledge may not change, the channel of how education reaches the student continues to evolve. Under our development objective the AHEAD Foundation shares an initiative to plant hundreds of cell towers in remote areas where sometimes no land lines have ever existed and a channel to the world is being opened for the first time. Education Advancement, for us is impart, about how that channel is maximized to invite a better future.

New Institutional Roles
Educational institutions may be in the future more about using their trusted brand to affirm who has learned over the learning experience, channel or location of learning. Perhaps a diploma will honor who as a student has demonstrated competence at discovery and managing the professional and life application of the vast and exponentially expanding information resources or to whatever the standard the brand seems worthy, the student has demonstrated that he/she has learned. So a diploma may be bestowed in recognition of what a student has learned not on what campus their feet touched. It would be less about the learning process they navigated, no matter how effectual. Should we honor the learning accomplishment, perhaps by a different road? This may be less about how accreditation boards have sought to assure an institution had the resources for a student who passed through their infrastructure to be able to learn then the ability to assess what a student has learned. Learning may be much less about the context that supported learning as the extent to which the student found inspiration to learn weather in a remote village or a campus of renowned higher education and reputation. As the AHEAD I&O Paper introduces, India that has the least infrastructure for education of any developing nation having spend less as a percentage of GNP on education yet possessing the globes highest concentration of youth to be educated are forced to look at non-structural solutions. American whom has some of the greatest investments in educational institutions are without the youth base represented by previous generations that promoted their development. Our surplus in infrastructure is not the solution to India’s or the global rest’s shortfall. However our educational branding may be.

Innovation a Catalyst
Today the Ashlock Family makes a forth generation invested in education and looks particularly at innovation as a catalyst for advancing education. The Ashlock Educational Trust holds over 120 schools throughout India where tens of thousands of students each year, in small villages schools or institutions of higher learning awarding US Accredited graduate degrees, seek education often as a opportunity to access the Western wage scale. However these schools who’s beginning go back to the first half of the 20th century predominantly offer a model of education that pre-dates India’s independence from Colonial rule and the unique information resources of today. How do these new resources suggest new models of education?

Leadership
When the global community reaches to the West for help, it is worth paying attention to what they see we have to offer of value. Educational models that foster the innovative spirit and leadership qualities that lead to higher leadership rolls in the market place commands a high price today. It is as a result the strength of student experiences in the US  draws a significant international student population to America where innovation and new thinking is believed to be rewarded and promoted. Her too is an area of focused interest for AHEAD Foundation. Where there are achievement in education innovations on both sides of the ocean that can be models that get results, including economically that can help promote emulation in the market place, is of interest to AHEAD Foundation and the global education student shopper. The Indian context of the Ashlock Educational Trusts schools means that their expansion and reach are driven by market forces perhaps more then policy or aspirations.  This has been good news as they have faced the privilege of offering through their product and branding a commodity that has been often the only channel to economic emancipation from local labor based survival. Often it has represented the key to accessing the Western wage scale as well as local political  power or enterprise reach.  It has allowed the amassing of land that now represents significant value. But the important role the schools of the past have played, the significant annual revenue they have come to represent and the assets they have brought about can not be assumed to be built on a success formula that will bring returns in the future. Beyond a command of the English language, English thought, understanding of English commerce (even if it may still hold 75% of the global retail dollar), is the request for training that will foster the transfer of the innovative spirit and qualities of leadership that the glob still looks to the Western education model for. Model this delivery, successfully, with both results in student learning and financial return and emulation will drive duplication in a scale that will matter and new technology may make possible that we have not yet imagined.

 

Initiatives

 

Current Initiatives
AHEAD Foundation education advancement initiatives target innovations and advancements in education that are resource intrinsic. Resource intrinsic in that in their deployment they respond to a market need that can fuel both their sustainability and their duplication. It is not involved in the question of either local or global, but about both. No matter where it is birthed, where do new ways of looking at the educational experience enhance what we see as educations success models come from but how can they be deployed. Of course we are interested in how they can play a role in moving forward the schools and educational institutions that have come from our past investments in Southern Asia. But where is education going is a fascinating and exciting place to invest.  The AHEAD Foundation seeks impactful and emulatable projects that can seed global impact and precedent setting models that work both for a more empowered student as well as with market results to incentive scalable change and reform. When a innovation reaches a significant market demand our initiatives can get the tail wind to go beyond just sustainability, to entrepreneurial and viral expansion.

  • Brain training based education curriculum that has emerged from the growth in brain scanning advancements and neuro research of the post 1990’s, where a whole new resource of data and understanding has emerged on expanding our neurological capacities to learn is offering a whole new discussion in educational models. It breaks free of a focus on what we teach and how we teach to how do we expand our capacity to learn.  What we do while we say we are educating may be radically changing. AHEAD’s effort to support the demonstration of this innovation at Aurora Day School in Atlanta, GA is an example of AHEAD Foundations reach for new solutions. The fact that neurological research based education models also offers new breakthroughs for students facing atypical neurological challenges that have been difficult to address in more traditional educational models is a rewarding plus.

 

  • Inquiry based education  as a education theory, demonstrated at the AHEAD Foundation’s initiative to duplicate what is modeled for k-12 kids at the Renaissance School of Art & Sciences in Portland, Oregon is a great example of where American-grown successful applications of education that supports innovation offer emulatable advancement.  As a student centric pedagogy tool to shape new advancements for schools who seem often tied to educational practices that dominated our ideas of education 50 and 100 years ago so prevalent in Southern Asia including the Ashlock Educational Trust schools, it is a powerful but inspiring contrast. It helps prepare students to address the Problem Based Learning environments growing in Western educational institutions of higher learning and a symbol globally of closing the Western innovation gap.

 

  • Problem Based Learning (PBL) as a growing recognized theory for educational excellence, especially at the collegiate and graduate level. PBL has led to the AHEAD’s AppLab initiative where resources have been invested to supporting students and educational institutions interested in offering students enterprise context problem resolution opportunities as the an attractive applied science learning experience. Student counseling, financial and scholarship assistance to help remove some of the barriers to accessing PBL curriculum experiences in their collegiate and graduate education has been an AHEAD AppLab starting point. We at the AHEAD Foundation see enterprise context learning as an inviting resource for assisting student learning, market understanding, confidence building and carrier preparedness. Applications of the AppLab introduction of students to market place solutions has a double return with its education advancement agenda when it offers teachers in training the chance to experience first hand new models of learning as part of the teaching certification training. Universities and students interested in being part of pilot interdisciplinary teams who face enterprise problems are invited to contact us.

Aurora Day School, found at www.SmallSchoolsbigresults.com, offers an Atlanta, GA based day school and nationwide assistance to kids seeking an accelerated leaning program based in neuroscience developments offering kids who often have fallen through the cracks of traditional education routs. Aurora kids who have faced ADD, Asperger disorder (AD), and other autism spectrum disorder diagnoses along with non atypical cognitive students are seeing 2-6 years of academic growth and AHEAD Foundation hopes to see their success breakthrough neuroscience based classroom systems more available and affordable through AHEAD Foundation Scholarships (See related blog Arora Court House Press Event).


Whether you find a desire to invest abroad or at home, AHEAD’s education initiatives offer a welcomed place to be a part of difference making.  If you would like to get involved more personally you are invited to contact us or follow the “
Needed” tab at www.HumaniBank.org to lean more of what you can do. Additionally if you would just like to enter the debate. There are assumptions and beliefs shared here at AHEAD Foundation.us that shape our direction. Your contribution could represent a new direction in significance making. Contact us or join us on a blog.

 

 

 

Benchmarks

AHEAD Foundation

April 30, 2011