Prince Charles backs $10 million new education bond for marginalised children in India

Britain’s Prince Charles and his wife Camilla attend a cultural event at the British Council in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: AFP

Britain’s Prince Charles and his wife Camilla attend a cultural event at the British Council in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: AFP

London: Britain’s Prince Charles, on a two-day visit to India, has given his backing to a new development bond for India to provide education to marginalised children in the country.

The $10 million education development impact bond (DIB) has been created by the British Asian Trust, founded by the Prince of Wales to fight poverty in south Asia, and is designed to improve learning outcomes for thousands of marginalised children in India.

The bond is intended as an innovative and sustainable social impact investment tool which will be tied in with performance and outcomes of educational initiatives, starting in India and then across the trust’s other regions of operation.

“I hope that through the trust we can impact the lives of not just children in India but also change the mindsets of philanthropists around the world,” said Prince Charles, who arrived in New Delhi on Wednesday. The education development impact bond has been developed by the trust alongside UBS Optimus Foundation with the aim of transforming the future of education in India.

Under the initiative, the DIB will provide funding to four local not-for-profit delivery partners in the country over four years, delivering a range of operational models including principal and teacher training, direct school management, and supplementary programmes.

It is intended to improve literacy and numeracy learning levels for over 200,000 primary school students from marginalised communities in Delhi, Gujarat and Rajasthan. The UK government’s department for international development (DfID) will contribute technical assistance and insights to the project as part of a wider partnership.

“The DfID is exploring new and innovative ways to finance programmes which will transform the lives of some of the world’s poorest people. We are proud to support the British Asian Trust as they develop their development impact bond, which will provide access to quality education for hundreds of thousands of children,” said DfID minister Priti Patel.

The bond has been described as a step towards a greater focus on social impact financing as a transformational tool for philanthropy. The concept of development impact bonds is intended as a result-oriented way to attract new capital into development, with a strong emphasis on data and evidence.

Richard Hawkes, chief executive of the British Asian Trust, explains: “At the heart of our programme strategy is a real determination to continue applying business principles to the work. We are convinced that only by applying these to philanthropy and to development are you really able to meet the needs of the greatest number of people.”

Sir Ronald Cohen, international philanthropist and a champion of global impact investing, described the British Asian Trust’s initiative as “ground-breaking” and capable of delivering vital social improvement at scale. In India, Prince Charles will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi for bilateral talks as part of a series of events planned during his two-day visit with wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. PTI


It’s time we educated children for the future, rather than limiting them to subjects of the past

virtual reality

In March, the House of Lords told us what has long been obvious: that we need to pay far more attention to the internet by coordinating our efforts towards improving children’s “digital literacy”.

A report, published by the Lords Communications Committee, states that students’ lives – “from health to education, from socialising to entertainment” – are now “mediated through technology”.

It also suggests that the best way to protect children online is through mandatory content control filters and privacy settings, and that a new children’s “digital tsar” should be appointed.

All of this is commendable and, like so many education initiatives, long overdue. But if we are going to teach children to use the internet properly we need to do more than controlling its ‘threats’.

Whether we like it or not, artificial intelligence, algorithms, advances in genetic engineering, nanotechnology and biology are already shaping our world at a pace we can scarcely comprehend. Rather than adding another ‘subject’, we should be looking at the whole purpose of education and asking whether our current systems are still fit for purpose.

For generations now we have viewed children as either tabula rasa, blank slates waiting to be filled with knowledge, or, as those who adhere to innatism maintain, minds brimming with knowledge from day one.

Both philosophies fed into the assembly line pedagogy, funneling talent into the narrow and restricted neck of an hourglass, to prepare them for world of work and leisure. What is increasingly evident, however, is that this approach is inadequate, even for those leaving school in the next decade.

Yes, by all means, let us give the internet a far more prominent place in our curriculum (although I doubt whether including it as part of the many-headed beast that is PSHE is the right place), and better still, embed it across the curriculum.

But let’s look further, much further, at what we are teaching, and its relevance over the next decade. We need to ask: should we even continue to teach the “3 R’s” in their conventional form.

In his recent TED talk “The Future of Learning”, education guru Sam Chaltain said that we “have to prepare our children for their future opposed to our past”. And that, clearly, is the challenge we face.

While we know change is coming (and the J curve for knowledge is likely to be with us by 2030), we do not appear to have a unified approach on how to prepare for it. Instead of being reactive, education has to become proactive, even predictive, looking beyond what we already know to a rapidly changing future.

As Yuval Noah Harari notes in his book ‘ Homo Deus’ , a report prepared in 2013 by Oxford researchers Frey and Osborne revealed that up to 47 per cent of current US jobs risk being replaced by computers and automation in the next 20 years – including doctors and pharmacists.

While we remain sceptical as to whether humans can really be replaced in such professions, we should take note of the pharmacy that opened in San Franciso in 2011. Providing two million prescriptions in its first year without a single mistake, this new high-tech pharmacy owes its success to the specialised algorithms and iPhones which now run the show.

Bletchley Park to house college for teenage codebreakers


As many occupations disappear altogether, in the same way that streaming has decimated video and music stores, new professions will undoubtedly surface, but it is likely they will require more flexibility and creativity than our current education system allows.

Artificial intelligence and algorithms are already playing a significant role in our day to day lives, so it will be no surprise when teachers also become surplus to requirements.

Meanwhile, we are so hung up on data that we are wasting huge amounts of human potential, squeezing the creativity out of young minds.  Looking forwards, the workforce of tomorrow will not be judged on their content knowledge, but rather a set of skills and dispositions which enables them to thrive in an economy that is changing, fast.

Recently I was visited by a friend who was New Zealand’s entrepreneur of the year in 2016. When I asked him about the quality of his new and prospective employees, he said his greatest concerns were their inability to problem-solve, their lack of imagination and the analytical skills to address causes rather than just managing the effects.

Sadly there is little in our education system that prepares children for employment now – let alone in 2040, when the world of work will be more complicated still.

So while we may welcome the paper from the House of Lords on internet safety, even accepting that it is reactive rather than pro-active, it is a small step on a very long journey. We know we cannot keep adding to an already full and essentially backward-looking curriculum.

If the students are to succeed in the future, we need to begin considering how we can best teach new competencies, new skills, new applications and new knowledge.

And that starts by acknowledging that today’s education system is still stuck in the past.


Lego Life Is a Social Network for Children to Create, Share, and Discover Lego Builds

Lego Life Is a Social Network for Children to Create, Share, and Discover Lego Builds

Lego Life Is a Social Network for Children to Create, Share, and Discover Lego Builds
Lego Life is available on Android and iOS
The app is meant for children aged 13 or below
It hasn’t yet released in India
Lego, the toy company known for making plastic bricks for children to connect, assemble, and construct all sorts of things, is moving into the realm of social networks. Yep, you read that right. Lego has launched a new Instagram-like platform for young Lego enthusiasts called Lego Life, which is billed as a central hub for children to share their creations, get inspired, and interact with other budding ones.

Most, if not all, social networks have an age limit of 13 and over. So while there are thousands of communities for adult Lego fans to share their creations – from Facebook, Pinterest, Reddit, or Flickr – those same Internet spaces aren’t always conducive or healthy for a child’s upbringing. That’s why Lego Life is built for fans aged 13 or below, allowing them to browse safely while the parents breathe easy.

Users can create their own minifigures – Lego’s preferred choice of term for ‘figurines’ – or follow other Lego fans. There will be account pages for Lego characters such as Lego Batman. You’ll also be able to like and comment on people’s posts, with a catch – you can’t actually craft your own response, but must choose from a variety of emoji, stickers, or preset responses.

lego life keyboard Lego Life keyboard
Lego has also fitted the app with building challenges, which serve a dual purpose of sparking creativity in what children can build, while also acting as advertisements for new Lego products. There will also be decorating challenges, which involve putting stickers on things, and a bunch of quizzes that are meant to help you show off your knowledge to the world.

Everything you post on the app will be screened by Lego to ensure it’s related to Lego, is age-appropriate, doesn’t show real people, and also doesn’t link to other websites. Even with your profile, Lego Life only allows Lego avatars as your picture, and your username is a bunch of random words so children’s real identities are protected no matter what.

Lego sees the social start to Lego Life as just the first phase, and hopes to expand it by using the account for other Lego games in the future.

Lego Life is available on Android and iOS in the US, the UK, Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, and Switzerland.

Tags: Lego


DisneyLife receives children’ streaming genuinely right

no matter sinking billions of pounds into the manufacturing of blockbuster films and hit televisionindicates over time, Disney determined it was great to permit corporations like Apple, Netflix, Amazon and Sky deal with the online distribution of its content material. This has meant that every few years, thebusiness enterprise sits down with streaming providers to agree on a licence, allowing you and that i to log into our favorite service and get right of entry to a selection of Disney content. it is causedfragmentation, in which Netflix carries some thing Amazon would not (and vice-versa), and the simplestway to access the entirety is to shop for it, one film, television series or soundtrack at a time.

This 12 months, however, Disney decided sufficient changed into sufficient. The house that Walt builthas subsequently dipped its toe into the enchanted international of streaming. DisneyLife is a ukonlysubscription provider designed to attraction to twine-cutters or, extra especially, their children. At £10 ($15) a month, it’s a little more expensive than Netflix or Amazon (but on par with Sky Now tv), in spite ofthe truth it only gives Disney content. but there is a motive for that. DisneyLife is not just for streaming video; it additionally hosts soundtracks, e-books and a spread of legitimate Disney-branded apps. i canadmit to being a Disney fan, however I understand that DisneyLife is not surely geared toward people like me. fortuitously, I played a element in growing two mini variations of myself (elderly 4 and five) who in shape perfectly within Disney’s target demographic.

Getting started out
Signing as much as DisneyLife is like some other streaming provider: input some private details and fill to your card quantity to redeem a unfastened month of carrier. For some reason, Disney sends a whole lot of emails as soon as you have signed up, normally to remind you how to use the provider and thenumerous ways to flow. currently, DisneyLife may be accessed thru the browser (which relies on Silverlight) and on iOS or Android gadgets. meaning by way of proxy, it works with Apple TVs and Chromecasts too. you could companion your account with up to ten devices and have four concurrent streams running at any one time.

as soon as registered, you will be asked to set up a master profile, which helps you to manipulate your subscription, set parental controls and add new devices. it’ll additionally ask you to feature as much asfive additional profiles, which Disney says “give each family member their own way to explore.” Beingcapable of assign every profile a unique Disney man or woman is a pleasing touch, particularly in case your child is the sector‘s largest Frozen/cars/locating Nemo fan.

to properly gauge my sons’ usage, I covertly established the DisneyLife app on their Android tablets andplaced the app icon along their favourites: Minecraft and YouTube. I failed to want to get in the manner of their experience, simply examine from it. when allowed to spend time on their gadgets (I attempt to be aresponsible figure), they speedy acknowledged the Disney brand and dove immediately in.

All Disney, all of the time
Disney is aware of its aesthetics. when the DisneyLife homescreen masses, you are at once met with a number of banners that highlight collections like Disney villains, Pixar films and Disney classics. without delay beneath that is a phase referred to asindividual Worlds,” which right away drew my sons’ eyes (one chose Frozen and the other Incredibles). it is right here that we bumped into our first minor sadness.

click on to extend.

Upon seeing Elsa, my eldest son straight away assumed he may want to flow Frozen. The Elsa sectionactually includes a whole lot of Frozen contentincluding a Frozen Fever mini film, Frozen as told byemoji, Elsa a laugh statistics, 3 separate soundtracks and eight e-books — however the full film won’tappear on DisneyLife till the spring. it really is all the way down to streaming agreements the companyhas with its uk companions, but my baby turned into not able to recognize the complexities of second-window streaming rights. It failed to prevent him from playing the other Frozen content, even though, with one sing-a-long ebook turning into a firm favorite.

while Netflix and Amazon’s menus are fantastically dull, Disney’s interstitials are colourful and colourful,enticing the person to get interacting. Pull up The Lion King and you’ll see delight Rock, click on into Monsters Inc. and you may see Boo’s bedroom. subtle animations manual you through each part of acharacter‘s page. In quick, Disney nailed the consumer enjoy.

even as the apps are quite precise, i discovered they would log me out sometimes, usually afterstruggling minor performance problems. at the web, loading instances are prompt, but you can run intosome difficulties though. the usage of Chrome on a Mac walking the cutting-edge version of OS X El Capitan, i used to be unable to get any films to stream the usage of the Silverlight plug-in. Googleannounced final yr that it might section out Silverlight aid, so you‘ll need a browser that also performsbest with Microsoft’s multimedia plug-in.

click on to amplify.

beneficial features
Disney is aware of that its apps are where most of the people of streaming will appear, so it is includedfunctions that make it easier for dad and mom and kids to revel in its range of content material. one of the quality is an offline mode, which helps you to down load some thing on your device to maintain theyoungsters entertained while you‘re out of cell or WiFi range. it’s going to tell you how a lot storage areathe movie or soundtrack will take up, too, just in case you need to make room.

DisneyLife also affords get right of entry to to a ramification of authentic Disney apps, with one loosedown load every month. picks encompass some of themed storybooks, presenting the coolest Dinosaur, Frozen and spoil-It Ralph, however your children can also grasp interactive titles like Disney Princess:story Theatre and a Sofia colouring app.

With Netflix, Amazon and Sky’s Now television already providing Disney content material, is DisneyLifeprecise enough to justify some other subscription? looking on the numbers, DisneyLife offered 304 titles; Sky, 158; Amazon, seventy seven; and Netflix, just 48. a wide selection of on-demand television shows, or box units, are also to be had and include programmes from the Disney tv, Disney Junior and Disney XD channels.

whilst Sky’s buying strength has allowed it to negotiate access to more recent Disney movies like Frozen and Maleficent, DisneyLife excels as it goes properly beyond films, providing in the back of-the-scenes clips, making-ofs, featurettes and, of path, all of the related soundtracks, mini films and books. Netflix and Amazon have smaller catalogues, with a smattering of classics and newer movies, that can’t hold a candle to what DisneyLife and Now tv provide.

click to enlarge.

in case you have already got a streaming subscription, it becomes a question of how regularly you thinkyou or your family will use DisneyLife. Disney hasn’t but made it smooth to stream its content material on the huge display, as you’ll usually want a phone or pill handy to mirror movies on an Apple televisionor Chromecast.

It labored out that DisneyLife became my kids‘ flavour of the month for manner less than a month, andcloser to the end of the unfastened trial my sons not often launched the app. each prefer the range that YouTube gives, whether it be illegal uploads of Peppa Pig episodes or permit‘s Play Minecraft videos from Stampylongnose. This is not to mention that DisneyLife isn’t always desirable: It in reality is. It also bodesproperly for Disney’s streaming enlargement in China next year and fundamental markets like the US after that.

So, is a DisneyLife subscription worth a tenner every month? My answer is easy: it’s now notapproximately the excellent — Disney left no stone unturned there (besides perhaps for Frozen). it’s aboutwhether or not your little ones are mad enough approximately Disney that gaining access to almosteverything the employer has ever positioned out will make you the pleasant figure ever.