When Utsav Kheria was growing up in Kolkata, India, his first teachers were his parents. Together, they’d play learning games, read stories, and solve puzzles—creating a rock-solid educational foundation that he’s been building on ever since.
When Utsav Kheria was growing up in Kolkata, India, his first teachers were his parents. Together, they’d play learning games, read stories, and solve puzzles—creating a rock-solid educational foundation that he’s been building on ever since. “I won the birth lottery,” Utsav explains. “I had the benefit of good quality education all through my life.”
But Utsav knows that millions of other children in his country aren’t so lucky. Over 85% of brain development happens under the age of eight—and in India, many don’t get the educational opportunities they need in that first, most essential stage of their lives. Over a third of low-income five-year-olds in India can’t recognize the alphabet or numbers 1-9.
Utsav was determined to change that. So, he brought together a group of cofounders with experience across the education and technology industries to start searching for solutions. Together, they started a nonprofit called Rocket Learning.
“A good quality education creates a better citizen who takes good care of society around them...”
Utsav Kheria, Founder Rocket Learning
Utsav explains that the transformation brought on by these trainings can be embodied in one simple shift. People who work in Anganwadis, which are local child care centers across India, are typically called “karyakartas,” or workers. Now, parents with children in Anganwadis have stopped calling them workers—and started calling them teachers.
Utsav knew, however, that if they really wanted to change the trajectory of these children, they had to get parents involved, too. So, Rocket Learning collaborates with anganwadis to form WhatsApp groups for parents, where they share two 20–30 minute learning activities each day. Parents then share pictures and reports of the activities back to the group, creating a positive feedback loop and encouraging greater participation.
“…I believe that education does so much more than just help you get the next job—it helps create a better society.” –Utsav Kheria
The approach is working: so far, Rocket Learning has reached one million children from ages three to eight. And data has consistently shown these students performing in the top 30% compared to a non-Rocket Learning Class.
When Deloitte professionals learned about Rocket Learning, they knew they could help Utsav scale the work even further. Going forward, Utsav wants to reach more children and start serving them from ages one to three, too. His goal is to make sure every child has a solid educational foundation to build from—whether they won the birth lottery or not.
Utsav knows that this will lead to more opportunities, jobs, and economic growth. But that’s just the beginning. He says: “A good quality education creates a better citizen who takes good care of society around them, who is well informed, who has a better understanding of right from wrong. I believe that education does so much more than just help you get the next job—it helps create a better society.”
Rocket Learning was selected as one of the 12 Top Innovators for Deloitte’s WorldClass Education Challenge on UpLink.
As one of Rocket Learning’s founders, Utsav Kheria is participating in a year-long cohort program supported by Deloitte and the World Economic Forum alongside other education entrepreneurs to raise the visibility of the organization. Deloitte is providing funding and pro bono support for Rocket Learning with their data security and privacy strategy.