New behaviours of learning, owning and participating in learning processes empower young people to seek knowledge and skills. Empathetic and future-facing facilitators establish 21st century classrooms, where traditional structures of power and hierarchy give way to systems of collaborative learning. Movement from digital literacy to fluency, and finally mastery can expand horizons, helping young people excel.
This has been our focus—building such ecosystems across the school-to-work continuum: from government primary and secondary schools to Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) to community-based Vocational Training Institutes (VTIs) and engineering colleges.
Our goal is ambitious—empower 4 million learners and educators with 21st century skills for self-learning by 2023. We will meet this goal through an impact-first mindset, investing considerable effort in developing indicators to measure progress.
The launch of the Quest App—culminating 12 years of work—now offers anytime, anywhere learning for free. Four research reports released in the last year document the learnings from our work.
We believe that innovation—urgently needed in the sector—is only possible through a culture of knowledge-sharing, where multiple perspectives shed light on the emerging reality of opportunities and challenges. We have therefore strived to build a community of over 100 like-minded organizations who come together every year to dialogue, reflect and create new possibilities for young people in India.
We invite you to join us on this journey. Together we can shape the future of work and learning.
The Anandshala program helps create joyful classrooms by turning schools into inclusive and creative learning spaces. We work to improve the execution of government education policies in 996 schools in Bihar and Jharkhand.
Creating Agency Through Bal Sansads
A series of workshops were conducted with government officials, teachers and students to unpack the potential of Student Parliaments—or Bal Sansads—as incubator spaces for 21st century skilling and learning.
The ‘Change Project’ brings together Bal Sansads and Head Teachers to collectively find solutions for identified problems. 60 model schools brought real change to their communities—from building toilets to ensuring availability of drinking water.
District Resource Group (DRG)
With the aim of creating 600 model schools within the next 3 years in Samastipur, a district-level government body was set up to coordinate with all stakeholders to work with primary and middle schools, thus ensuring community participation and maximum quality learning outcomes.
Girl Champions in Deoghar
As part of the out-of-school program, a four-day workshop for trainers was conducted in Jharkhand to introduce participants to the program model. 20 Girl Champions and school facilitators also participated in the workshop, who will in turn, reach out to 150 other trainees.
With a special focus on adolescent girls, this new program has four primary objectives— encourage completion of secondary education, delay age of marriage and first pregnancy, and increase agency. The participants emerged as school facilitators and youth champions, motivating many along the way.
I speak for all my classmates when I say that after having known a life of comfort up until now, Anandshala has shown us a way to a life of success.
Girl Champions Madhupur
Student participation increase in Bal Sansads. Up from 68% to 92%.
Student participation increase in morning assembly. Up from 72% to 90%.
Attendance increased in classes 5-8. Up to 62% vis-à-vis state average of 53%.
Secondary Schools play a key role in school-to-work transition. We work with young boys and girls from government schools to build critical 21st century skills and introduce them to the process of career exploration.
Technology is a key driver in the 21st century. Thus, building skills in related areas becomes imperative for today’s young learners. Leveraging coding as a tool, our aim is to introduce young learners to potential careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), thus enabling them to make informed life choices.
IBM-STEM for Girls
At a time when technology offers an unprecedented number of career opportunities to women, it is vital to foster STEM learning and skilling in young girls. We believe that to tackle the gender gap in STEM, girls must explore and experience the power of coding themselves—through their own projects—that reflect self-expression.
Joining forces with IBM, we embarked upon the STEM for Girls project—designed to encourage girls to pursue STEM as a higher education and career option. This 40-hour curriculum goes beyond coding, and integrates life skills, gender, digital literacy and career development, which enables young girls to negotiate better futures for themselves.
Spurred by the desire to widen the impact of our work, we have already implemented this program across 3 cities—Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad—with plans to scale to 8 states, reaching 2,00,000 girls over the next 3 years.
We are also working closely with the government education system and civil society organizations to build capacity to take this program forward. To this end, MoUs were signed with three state governments— Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh —for a 3-year period.
AMD: Changing the Game
In the last year, we continued our partnership with AMD to bring coding and game design to government schools in Bangalore and Hyderabad. We have reached 2,000 students through this partnership. A highlight of this collaboration was the visit of AMD’s Chief Technology Officer, Mark Papermaster to a school in Madiwala, Bangalore, where this program is being implemented.
Technology has transformed the world more dramatically than any other revolution in history. However, at a time when opportunity has never been greater, women are retreating from the fields of science and technology at alarming rates. Reiterating its century-long commitment of empowering and enabling women’s success in technology, IBM launched the STEM for Girls program using coding and computational thinking to build agency and 21st century skills among girls in government schools. Quest Alliance’s track record of collaborating with various stakeholders and developing new, innovative curriculum was a natural choice to be our partner in this journey to reach 2,00,000 girls.
Rumi Mallick Mitra
Lead, IBM Corporate Citizenship, India, South Asia
Hackathon with 30 girls in Hyderabad
Career Cards made
Coding projects made on the SCRATCH platform
When paired with advances in technology, India’s vast young population could become a formidable asset for the country. This belief drives the MyQuest program in our efforts to make youth more future-ready for the workplace. Through our work, we equip and empower young people to navigate through a world that demands constant learning, unlearning and relearning.
The MyQuest partner network comprises a vast number of vocational centres and Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) with a shared mission—building 21st century skills to successfully initiate career journeys. The MyQuest network has now expanded to 12 states, reaching over 50,000 youth every year.
Accenture-Cisco-Quest Partnership with DGT
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Directorate General of Training (DGT) will impart employability and career management skills to 1.5 million ITI students.
In the initial phase, 227 ITIs in Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Bihar and Assam will offer this comprehensive blended learning program. Along with building critical 21st century skills for the digital economy, this initiative will help students identify and plan effective careers.
J.P. Morgan Program to Skill 22,000 Women
With a focus on building stronger ITIs for women, we have scaled our career development program to 50 government-run institutes across Delhi-NCR, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, with the intention of skilling 22,000 women in these states.
Additionally, we are also working with the National Instructional Media Institute (NIMI)—a Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) institution—to revise the Employability Skills curriculum that will be rolled out across all ITIs in 2019.
Institutions (ITIs and VTIs)
ITIs partnered with, in 2018–2019
VTI Students Transition to Work
The Capacity Building function integrates our strategy to work with educators and institutional leaders who play a critical role in championing self-learning cultures in classrooms. This year, we amplified our blended learning program MasterCoach for the professional development of trainers, who in turn, impacted the lives of 10,000 young people across 9 states in the country.
Trainer Tribe, our online learning network led by educators, is now supported by over 1,800 educators across India. Thriving educators enable young people to innovate and build critical skills to stay relevant in the contemporary job market.
MasterCoach has positively influenced me to look at the learner and chart my plans around them. It has helped me understand what my learners need and to create a learning environment that will help them grow and become successful individuals, both professionally and personally.
Yangermongla I Pongen
Trainer, YouthNet, Kohima, Nagaland
Making Engineering Graduates Employable
There is an urgent need to improve the employability skills of engineering students in India. Our experience with this ecosystem has shown that communication and career decision-making skills needs to remain a key feature-which is reflected in our programs with Tier II and III private engineering colleges.
Five-year Impact Evaluation
Learning is at the heart of everything at Quest Alliance. In this spirit, we commissioned an impact evaluation study for the MasterCoach program, to not only assess our work so far, but also to use these learnings to inform our way forward. The results of the evaluation show that our educators have promoted a culture of peer-to-peer learning, including the use of innovative teaching methodologies, activity-based learning and creating a learning environment in the classroom.
Trainer Tribe-led Digital Learning Classes
The digital identity of MasterCoach educators has gradually been improving, as indicated by their active participation in social media platforms like LinkedIn. This inspired us to start bi-weekly online classes hosted on the Trainer Tribe platform and led by a subject matter expert.
ARISE ToT Master Coach Development Program has been organically evolving in last 3 years and became one of the most popular demands of Tier II and Tier III Engineering colleges under ARISE—the flagship CSR program of Altran in India. We believe that it will be a game-changer in building capacity of the whole Engineering Ecosystem
Dr. Nuzhat Ali
Director, CSR, Altran
Innovation and learning is at the heart of all things Quest. The Quest Experience Lab is an embodiment of this spirit. We aim to create innovative, engaging learning experiences through the use of modern technology, to enable learners and facilitators to develop 21st century skills in their own time, at their own pace.
Anytime, Anywhere Learning
Targeted at young people entering the workforce, the updated Quest App now offers over 170 mobile-first lessons across a wide range of courses like Communicative English, Career Development, Life Skills, Digital Literacy, Self-employment, Work Readiness and Customer Interaction, among others. This multi-device gamified platform also tracks progress and performance of learners in real time, and can be deployed in offline settings as well using Raspberry Pi as a server.
The product has been the culmination of a decade-long research and experimentation process, impacting 1,90,000 youth across the country even before its formal launch. This has spurred us to initiate the app’s expansion in newer ecosystems like among employers, engineering colleges and other NGOs outside of our current network.
I have learned many things from the Quest App. All subjects offer something unique when it comes to looking for a job, including the videos that teach users how to face an interview.
My Career Toolkit
The My Career toolkit is a set of 36 interactive ‘mobisodes’ (mobile-episodes) designed to equip young people with the mindset, skills and knowledge to craft fulfilling careers for themselves. Targeted at 15–21 year olds from the lower socio-economic segments, the toolkit empowers learners to own their professional journeys by developing a foundational understanding of their own self and career possibilities, thus preparing them to enter the world of work.
The course imparts career development concepts like self-awareness, understanding the world of work, career research and planning, along with crucial 21st century skills like communication, critical thinking, reflection, negotiation and initiative. Moreover, it will be used by a large part of Quest’s 60,000 learners this year, and will be made available on the Quest App to young people across India who cannot access formal education.
It is a great app because it targets dropout students and covers a wide range of topics, including basic and advanced English, life skills, digital literacy and personality development.
Mobile-first lessons for Quest App
Students learning through offline digital content
Upgraded Mobile app launched on Feb 2019 with 4000 active users
Our vision has been to establish Quest Alliance as a go-to place for insights and resources for effective models for systemic reform. With our work, we aim to catalyse a global community of organizations and institutions for innovation, collaboration and advocacy in the area of school-to-work transition.
Our summit this year was built on the learnings from the previous two editions to elevate the experience for participants in terms of learning and collaboration. Based on the theme of ‘The Future of Work and Learning,’ the summit captured aspects of bridging the gender gap at workplaces, building learning organizations, scaling interventions through systemic change, and preparing young learners for the ever-changing future of work.
Aspiration of Women in ITIs
We conducted research to bring out a comprehensive resource for organizations working with ITIs to understand the aspirations of young women. Supported by J.P. Morgan, it provides context and input for program strategies to help women meet their career aspirations. It also articulates the place education occupies in their lives and how it impacts their careers.
School Dropout Prevention Change Map
With a shared vision of enabling collaboration over successful models on school dropout prevention, Quest Alliance and Vibha hoped to initiate conversations that contribute to cross-learning and meaningful partnerships between organizations. As a first step, this report landscapes the dropout problem in India and consolidates effective strategies from organizations working to solve the problem in different geographies of the country.
Ethnography on Navigating Career Pathways; Building Professional Digital Identity and Networks
A qualitative study supported by LinkedIn was conducted on how digital career platforms affect the demand-supply gap in the workforce from a future-of-work point of view. Anchored around young people, it brings together insights from a user point of view and pushes us to remain on top of platform-related trends in order to keep the user experience of learning and career building inclusive for youth from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Innovating for Scale: A Blended Learning Model for Youth Employability in India
We conducted a study to showcase Quest’s journey with blended learning models— starting from a pilot study spanning over three years, to how it has developed to its present form. Supported by Accenture, the report outlines how technology was integrated into the program, as well as lessons that can be drawn by others in the education and skills ecosystem.
Research studies conducted in collaboration with 6 organizations
Insights for the reports gathered from 252 ITI principals, 10 government officials and 80 female learners and alumni across 16 states and 16 ITIs
People across 112 organizations attended Quest2Learn 2018 that covered 20 sessions around the future of work and learning
Views of The Learner Blog; 3,600 visitors
4 reports released; 822 downloads
When an organization wins the tag of ‘Great Place to Work’ two years in a row, something is clearly going right. That this comes amidst great changes within the organization is a testament to the spirit lived and shared among its people—whether they be young millenials bursting with new energy and ideas, or old stalwarts constantly adapting to new and innovative ways through which our shared vision becomes a reality.
Quest Alliance is a ‘young’ organization— our average age is 32 years—and we are an empowered organization, with over 40% of our team led by women. Together, we are pushing the boundaries and experimenting with newer territories—both figuratively and literally. We are present in 7 locations as of today, with our team of 120 employees working across 10 cities in India.
This spirit of continuous learning while enriching career growth has been at the helm of our five-year strategy. It is the reason why nearly 20% of our employees have chosen to work with us for more than 7 years. Most importantly, it is this shared spirit among the people at Quest Alliance that will see us to our goal—to impact 4 million young people, while building a nation of self-learners enabled by 21st-century skills.
Awards and Recognition
Quest is a Great Place to Work, according to the 2019 survey from greatplacetowork.com
MyCareer Toolkit won Core77 Award for Design Education Initiative
Quest App Shortlisted to be part of the Grey Matter Capital Calibrator Cohort