The Riverside School named in Top 10 shortlist for World’s Best School Prize for Innovation

New Delhi: Riverside School is among the Five inspirational Indian schools that have been named in the Top 10 shortlists for the $250,000 World’s Best School Prizes. The five World’s Best School Prizes, founded last year by T4 Education in collaboration with Accenture, American Express, Yayasan Hasanah, and the Lemann Foundation, are the world’s most prestigious education prizes.

The Riverside School, an independent international school in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, which has gained worldwide recognition for its groundbreaking, student-centric approach to education, particularly through its I CAN pedagogical model, has been named in the Top 10 shortlist for the World’s Best School Prize for Innovation.

Kiran Bir Sethi, the Founder of Riverside School and a renowned educator, emphasises the importance of promoting innovation in education. She states, “Innovation holds immense value across various domains, yet it is often overlooked in education within schools. However, I believe innovation should be embraced as the guiding principle in education.”

Since its inception, Riverside has adopted a Design Thinking approach and built the I CAN pedagogical model that is student-centric, context-driven, and experiential.

Since 2004, Riverside consistently ranks amongst the top 10 schools in India awarded by Education World and has gained worldwide recognition for its pedagogy. In 2008, Riverside demystified Design Thinking into a simple 4 step process of FEEL, IMAGINE, DO, & SHARE (FIDS) to offer a universally applicable problem-solving and decision-making tool to the world. Research has shown that FIDS enables an I CAN Mindset, cultivating empathy, creativity, and social responsibility.

The FIDS model has empowered over 2 million children across the globe to unleash their agency to make the world a better place. 

Deepa Avashia, School Champion, Riverside School, says, “The success of Riverside School can be attributed to its community of dedicated faculty, engaged parents, motivated students, committed support staff and enthusiastic partners across the globe, who together form a vibrant community focused on holistic education. Riverside takes great pride in being acknowledged for placing innovation at the forefront of everything we do over the past 20 years.”

The five World’s Best School Prizes – for Community Collaboration, Environmental Action, Innovation, Overcoming Adversity, and Supporting Healthy Lives – celebrate schools everywhere for the pivotal role they play in developing the next generation of learners and for their enormous contribution to society’s progress, especially in the wake of COVID. The Prizes were established to share the best practices of schools that are transforming the lives of their students and making a real difference in their communities.

Vikas Pota, Founder of T4 Education and the World’s Best School Prizes, said, “The schools shortlisted for the World’s Best School Prizes, no matter where they can be found or what they teach, all have one thing in common. They all have a strong school culture. Their leaders know how to attract and motivate exceptional educators, inspire change, and build excellent teaching and learning environments. I must congratulate Nagar Nigam Pratibha Baalika Vidhyalaya, Oberoi International School, the Riverside School, Snehalaya English Medium School, and Shindewadi Mumbai Public School on being named in the Top 10 shortlists for the World’s Best School Prizes 2023. Schools across the globe will learn from the story of these trailblazing Indian institutions and the culture they have cultivated.” 

Riverside School’s nomination among the top 10 schools for the World’s Best School Prizes is a testament to its unwavering commitment to nurturing ‘content’ and ‘character’ in its students so that they become citizens of the world.

About the school

The Riverside School, an independent international school in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, has gained worldwide recognition for its groundbreaking, student-centric approach to education, particularly through its I CAN pedagogical model and the introduction of the FEEL, IMAGINE, DO, and SHARE (FIDS) programme. By integrating an intentional value system of empathy, ethics, excellence, elevation, and evolution with the academic curriculum, the school has consistently ranked amongst the top 10 schools in India since 2004.

Inspired by the founder’s son’s academic struggles, Riverside used Design Thinking to develop a school-wide teaching and learning culture of agency, engagement, and creativity. Today, FIDS is also an online training platform used by many schools worldwide and has inspired children worldwide to become changemakers. The platform has reached 2 million children through the Design for Change School, and Riverside has conducted state-wide, remote and in-person workshops to train over 1,000 government school teachers in the FIDS framework and its application in their contexts.

Riverside also has a research and training branch, Riverside Learning Center (RLC). RLC has codified tried and tested 20+ years of I CAN processes and practices to make design thinking in Education and using FIDS mainstream. The I CAN Platform houses these processes and practices and uses the FIDS framework to explain the pedagogical model’s rationale and impact. It also provides multiple how-to’s and videos to share what good practice looks like.

Overall, the Riverside School has significantly impacted education through its student-centric approach, innovative pedagogical model, and widespread dissemination of the FIDS programme. By cultivating empathy, creativity, and social responsibility in students, the school has enabled and empowered its pupils to become aware and active citizen leaders of the world.

Next steps

The Top 3 finalists for each of the five World’s Best School Prizes will be announced in September 2023, followed by the winners in October. The winner of each Prize will be chosen based on rigorous criteria by a Judging Academy comprising distinguished leaders across the globe, including academics, educators, NGOs, social entrepreneurs, government, civil society, and the private sector. 

A prize of US$250,000 will be equally shared among the winners of the five Prizes, with each receiving an award of US$50,000. 

All 50 shortlisted schools will be invited to share their best practices through events on the T4 Communities app or School Transformation Toolkits that showcase their “secret sauce” to innovative approaches and step-by-step instructions on how others can replicate their methods to help improve education everywhere.

The School Transformation Toolkits from last year’s winning and shortlisted schools are now available online.


We believe every child everywhere deserves a good education. We are building the world’s largest community of teachers and schools to achieve this. Together. Our digital media platform provides opportunities for educators to network, collaborate, share good practices, and support each other’s efforts to improve learning and school culture. We work to amplify teachers’ voices because the world we want to see will only be built by listening to those at the heart of education.

Our global community of over 200,000 teachers and our digital media platform provides an engine for organisations to run education prizes that cut through in both the international media and the public consciousness.