While enrollment has skyrocketed in India’s primary and secondary schools, quality and consistency remain low. Teachers are often absent or unqualified. School leadership is lacking. Curricula focuses on bare-minimum rote learning rather than skills mastery. So low-income students struggle to achieve grade-level proficiency in basics like linguistics and math. The problem is gargantuan. Failed initiatives puzzle state and city education departments. Piecemeal reform efforts that have been tried have not led to meaningful improvement.
We believe that genuine, sustainable increases in the quality of education in India will only be achieved through comprehensive system reform. Then, improved student achievement will follow. By 2018, we’re aiming for 80 percent of the students in programs we support to reach grade-specific competency.
To reach this challenging goal, we have supported an integrated school excellence program in one of India’s largest cities, impacting more than 400,000 students. Now we are working on several large statewide transformation projects focused on both improving learning outcomes, leadership, teacher capabilities, and processes, as well as school, district and state-level operations. This unprecedented integrated approach engages multiple stakeholders, fosters innovation and builds organizational capacity – which can be replicated across the country. These projects have the potential to impact more than 2.2 million students. Additionally, we’re supporting the Government in mandated in-class, continuous and comprehensive evaluation (CCE) across four states in India.
With disciplined execution and ongoing commitment, we believe school system transformation will succeed, both in improving the quality of learning for millions of students, as well as paving the way for other cities and states seeking to do the same. Transformation requires a multifaceted, collaborative approach between a cross-section of partners. We’ll continue to support school systems as they work to meet the true needs of millions of India’s children.