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In a visionary initiative aimed at transforming education in India, EkStep Foundation, founded by Nandan Nilekani, Rohini Nilekani, and Shankar Maruwada, is at the forefront of a collaborative approach that seeks to make learning accessible to every child in the country. Their mission is not just about embracing technology, but using it as a powerful tool to drive change at scale.

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Key Initiatives: EkStep Foundation has developed SunBird, an open-source, configurable, and modular digital infrastructure designed to be scalable. This infrastructure, with support for multiple languages, is the backbone of the Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing (DIKSHA), a national platform for school education led by the Ministry of Education. DIKSHA leverages SunBird to provide digital educational content to learners across India, offering a vital resource during a period when the nation faces challenges in learning outcomes, exacerbated by pandemic-related school closures.

EkStep Foundation: Harnessing Networks to Revolutionize Education

The Power of Networks: EkStep Foundation recognizes that education in India involves a multitude of stakeholders, including schools, parents, teachers, policymakers, and edtech platforms. Rather than working in isolation, the foundation actively collaborates with these networks to develop educational solutions for the masses. It emphasizes using technology as a bridge rather than a divide, with the belief that involving the entire ecosystem, including the private sector and social sector, can amplify social impact.

DIKSHA’s Impact: One of the significant successes of SunBird is DIKSHA, which has become the largest and most diversified school platform in India. With learners having used it approximately 5.29 billion times to access educational content, the platform is making a substantial impact on the education landscape.

Building Digital Public Goods: EkStep’s digital building blocks are not limited to education but extend to various sectors. For instance, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has leveraged EkStep’s expertise for its Bhashini mission, enabling citizens to access digital content in local languages. The collaborative efforts of “samaj, sarkar, and bazaar” (society, government, and market) are emphasized as key components of EkStep’s approach, aiming to reduce friction and promote co-creation.

A Promising Future: Nandan Nilekani, known for his success in launching Aadhaar, the world’s largest biometric identification system, believes that networks play a crucial role in rapidly scaling solutions. The network force empowers new possibilities, ranging from upskilling courses for auto manufacturers to branded school learning apps for affordable private schools.

Bachpan Manao: EkStep Foundation has recently launched “Bachpan Manao,” an initiative focused on early childhood development and foundational learning. It aims to prepare the 25 million children born in India each year for the future by involving parents, teachers, and communities. As digital building blocks come together and join forces with the broader community, revolutionary changes in the education system can be unlocked.


1. What is the main goal of EkStep Foundation?

EkStep Foundation’s primary objective is to ensure that every child in India has access to quality learning opportunities. Through its innovative use of technology and collaborative approach, the foundation strives to democratize education and bridge the learning gap prevalent across the country. By leveraging the power of networks and digital infrastructure, EkStep Foundation aims to make a significant and sustainable impact on the Indian education system.

2. How does SunBird contribute to educational development in India?

SunBird, developed by EkStep Foundation, plays a pivotal role in transforming education in India. As an open-source, scalable digital infrastructure, SunBird facilitates the dissemination of educational content in multiple languages, catering to the diverse learning needs of students across the nation. By powering platforms like DIKSHA, SunBird enables access to a wide range of educational resources, empowering teachers and learners alike and fostering a more inclusive and accessible learning environment.

3. What sets DIKSHA apart as a national educational platform?

DIKSHA, driven by EkStep Foundation’s SunBird infrastructure, stands out as one of India’s most comprehensive and diverse educational platforms. With its extensive support for multiple languages and boards, DIKSHA has become a go-to resource for students, educators, and policymakers. By providing a centralized hub for digital educational content, DIKSHA has significantly contributed to the efforts to improve learning outcomes and bridge educational disparities across the country.

4. How does EkStep Foundation collaborate with different stakeholders in the education sector?

EkStep Foundation recognizes the importance of collaboration with various stakeholders, including schools, parents, teachers, policymakers, and edtech platforms. By fostering a collaborative approach, the foundation maximizes its impact by incorporating diverse perspectives and expertise from different segments of society. This collaborative effort ensures that the solutions provided are comprehensive, inclusive, and aligned with the specific needs of the education sector.

5. How does EkStep Foundation ensure the scalability of its solutions?

EkStep Foundation focuses on developing scalable solutions by leveraging its robust digital infrastructure and networks. By designing adaptable and modular frameworks, the foundation ensures that its initiatives can be implemented across different regions and cater to diverse educational settings. This scalability is crucial in reaching a larger audience and addressing the various challenges faced by the education sector on a national scale.

6. What role does technology play in EkStep Foundation’s initiatives?

Technology serves as a catalyst for change in EkStep Foundation’s initiatives. While the foundation recognizes the significance of technological advancements, it emphasizes using technology as a tool to enhance accessibility and inclusivity in education. By harnessing the potential of technology, EkStep Foundation strives to create an ecosystem that fosters a holistic learning experience for children, educators, and communities across India.

7. How does EkStep Foundation address the challenges posed by language diversity in education?

EkStep Foundation acknowledges the diversity of languages in India as a critical factor in the educational landscape. By incorporating multi-lingual support in its digital infrastructure and educational platforms, the foundation ensures that language barriers do not impede students’ access to quality educational content. This approach promotes inclusivity and empowers learners from diverse linguistic backgrounds to engage effectively with the learning material.

8. What are the future goals of EkStep Foundation?

Looking ahead, EkStep Foundation aims to continue its mission of fostering inclusive and accessible education for all. With a focus on early childhood development and foundational learning, the foundation aspires to expand its reach and impact, ensuring that every child in India receives a strong educational foundation. Additionally, EkStep Foundation plans to further enhance its digital infrastructure and collaborate with a wider network of stakeholders to drive meaningful and sustainable changes in the education sector.

9. How does EkStep Foundation contribute to the promotion of sustainable development in education?

EkStep Foundation actively promotes sustainable development in education by integrating eco-friendly practices and resources into its initiatives. By emphasizing the importance of environmental consciousness, the foundation encourages the adoption of sustainable practices in educational content creation and dissemination. Through its commitment to environmental responsibility, EkStep Foundation sets a precedent for the integration of sustainability principles in the broader context of educational development, paving the way for a more sustainable and environmentally conscious education system.

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