Vision: Empowering children to thrive in school and beyond.
Mission: We make teaching and learning essential skills simple, fun, and accessible in India’s public and affordable schools.
Strategy: Engage and involve teachers through innovative pedagogies; Life skills integration with foundational literacy and numeracy; Enabling environments at home and school.
Location of work
Pune (Kondhwa, Yerwada)
We conduct teacher workshops on the usage of innovative pedagogy. We support such pedagogies in classrooms to create a safe space for children and execute the planned classes smoothly through modelling, observations and debriefs. We run sprints of the project with children learning to cope in regular classes, with the help of volunteers and help the teacher identify the strategies that they want to adapt once the sprint is completed, and changes are observed in children. Through this, teachers will be able to create a positive inclusive classroom environment that will enhance the learning outcomes and develop essential skills (FLN and Life).
Several challenges were faced during the period under review. Some are recalled below.
- FLN is the need of the hour. The headmaster and the teachers stress upon improving the literacy and numeracy levels in students.
- A big percentage of students are below grade level and their incompetency in keeping with the syllabi keeps increasing with every passing year.
- Foundational English literacy levels are much lower compared to subjects such as mathematics.
- The teacher-to-student ratio is huge, each teacher has around 60 students in their class.
- Schools differentiate students based on their learning levels; students who perform better are in one division of the same grade, and students who struggle to perform are put in another. This creates a divisive environment. Teachers allocated to the class of poor performers are less motivated and hopeful about the student’s future. They also feel a lot must be done with these students and shift the blame on the school and parents.
- The headmaster and teachers share a relationship that is more transactional and comes out of obligations. Teachers attend meetings with HM because they want to be in good books, but while the meeting is happening, they are either busy with their phones or lost.
- Building stronger school team relations can bring change in the approach toward teaching.
- Parents are not happy with teacher irregularities and their children not being able to speak in English at home despite sending them to English medium schools.
- Simple Assessment tools for foundational reading helped the teachers and HM see the reality. With supporting data points, we feel assessment tools for FLN and life skills will be beneficial to have meaningful conversations in the school team meetings and to show data to parents and teachers and come up with the next steps.
- Activity-based and story-based learning helped students to pick up foundational reading skills quickly as compared to traditional ways. Designing activities and story-based approaches for Bal Bharati texts will help teachers make their classrooms fun and interesting on a regular basis.
Plan of action
- Setting up the culture of the team, along with evaluating the current team. Hiring full-time members for program and operations. Having an L&D plan for each member of the team, with weekly check-ins and team meetings.
- To raise 50% of funds by June 2023. Identifying local funders and HNIs along with exploring possible CSRs in Pune. Approaching mentors to make introductions to potential donors and school community members to donate.
- Set up curriculum for teacher engagement and develop story-based activities for Bal Bharati Math and English books for grades two to five.
- Set up curriculum for parent engagement and follow-up activities at home.
- To have a robust plan for operations and be consistent with the structures. Identifying gaps and challenges in execution from FY 22-23, brainstorming on the changes to ease it.
- To set up a simple strategy for the organization’s communications that will help ideate campaigns and newsletter themes.
- Rebranding of the organization with the help of design volunteers to create visually attractive templates for effective communication.
- Updating the website.
The organization devotes two hours a week to capacity building. Apart from this, we conduct one monthly workshop and one course in every quarter to improve the quality of our human resources.