Ketan Deshpande

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2013


This profile was prepared when Ketan Deshpande was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2013.
The New Idea
Ketan’s vision is to increase opportunities for students to achieve their career goals. He does this through increased information about continuing education and job applications, and by developing the capacity of other stakeholders in the education system to support students in identifying, articulating, and realizing their professional aspirations. To equip low-income rural students, most of whom are first generation learners, to pursue higher education, Ketan believes it is essential to support them in both defining and realizing their career aspirations. To achieve this, he is building a comprehensive career counseling program which provides students with customized information on educational and career opportunities, creates platforms for students to gain exposure to and acquire professional skills, and links students to scholarships.

Ketan is changing the way the education systems prioritize and invest in career guidance. Over the last four years, he has introduced career counseling sessions in more than 500 rural schools in India. These sessions help young people identify and articulate their interests during their formative years, and support them with customized coaching, mentoring, and text alerts until they meet their goals.

In addition to bridging the information gap, Ketan also bridges the skill gap by holding workshops for students with successful professionals and recruiters to teach them professional soft skills through exposure to different industries, corporate work places, and mentoring. He has reached more than 500,000 students in India, leading to a 31 percent rise in rural student’s aspirations and a 70 percent success rate among students. Ketan has leveraged his impact to influence the Ministry of Human Resources Development to approve budgets for career guidance in all public schools.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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