“I want to be a pilot”: High-quality schools open new horizons for first-gen English speakers in India

In recent years, India has seen a growing demand for high-quality, affordable schools. Traditional government schools have struggled to meet this demand. (In some poor urban areas, estimates of the percentage of children who have enrolled in low-fee private schools instead of government schools run as high as 65 percent.) Instruction in English language, which is seen as a gateway skill to higher paying professional opportunities—and which is estimated to raise hourly wages by as much as 34 percent, is in particular demand.

The Mumbai-based Akanksha Foundation seeks to help address the need for high-quality, English-medium instruction by opening and operating schools in low-income urban neighborhoods. Modeled on US charter schools, these schools function as public-private partnerships between city or municipal governments and Akanksha, which oversees end-to-end management, student performance, pedagogy and community engagement.

Today, the organization runs 15 English-language schools in Mumbai and Pune.

Watch the stories of two Akanksha students, Siddharth and Iqra, in Mumbai.