In many government school systems in India, more than the lack of material infrastructure, the main barrier preventing children from being successful is the lack of motivation. Children’s families, and children themselves, lack the motivation to attend school regularly or prioritize education. With lackluster training and poor pay, many teachers also lack the motivation to expend their efforts in teaching the handful of children that do attend school.
Motivation-based learning through the following elements that seeks to comprehensively address the ‘motivation gap’.
Students are offered non-financial rewards for basic good behavior like attending school regularly, class participation, participation in sports and extracurricular activities, personal hygiene, etc.
Sikshana works to create a psychological safe space, as students start to attend and to participate. The intent is to give students enough confidence to engage deeper by attempting a difficult or embarrassing learning activity even if there is a risk of failure. For example, a class 7 child learning long division (a class 3 skill) for the first time should feel confident enough to attempt learning the skill, even at the risk of mockery by peers.
As students start to put in the effort to learn, they can still be easily dissuaded by basic challenges, such as “I don’t have anything to write on”, “What should I practice?”, “Does this really matter? Is there a test I need to pass? Does anyone care?” (particularly important to children, as they crave attention), etc.
Sikshana has therefore created programs to guide the practice efforts of students.
In this stage, children identify the areas where they have to improve, set their own goals, and practice towards these goals in a focused way. Students start to acquire grade-level skills, English skills, critical thinking ability, etc.
Sikshana is developing grade-specific digital and physical programs in the form of Learning Trees, practice material, multimedia projects, etc. to enable Deliberate Practice. These will help students identify the areas where they need help (i.e. their ‘Hard Spots’), and to help them specifically practice these Hard Spots to achieve breakthroughs.
In 2006, Vibha identified Sikshana as a replicable, scalable and sustainable model to bring transformation in the public education system. In the first two years of partnership, Vibha helped Sikshana expand from 15 schools to 130 schools, by supporting a total of 56 schools.
Measuring the impact of Sikshana in quantified scales
Testing replicable format and socializing the Solution
In 2009, Vibha tested the ‘Replicability’ of Sikshana in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh
through our partners. This was followed up with a 4-day workshop where 21 other
NGOs from all over India got introduced to the Sikshana model. By 2013, Vibha was supporting about 185 schools.
More testing and optimization
Vibha supported Sikshana’s efforts to experiment different strategies to further optimize the model. A direct result of such partnership is the current Accelerator model, which was first implemented entirely through Vibha’s funding in one full district of Davanagere.
This successful experiment resulted in the recognition of the model by the State
Government of Karnataka, which further expanded the model to two full districts
of Davanagere and Chitradurga in 2016.
The Big Success
The results from this expansion was so impressive that on September 13, 2017, the
Government of Karnataka signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that officially recognized Sikshana as a model to be implemented in all Karnataka Government schools. This constitutes 43,897 schools reaching 2 million children.
Vibha’s work with Sikshana is not done yet. We are now in discussion with two other Indian State Governments to further expand the model. Efforts are also underway to tweak other solutions supported by Vibha to incorporate best practices from Sikshana.
The 2017 Economic Survey of India, estimates that close to 9 million people migrate every single year from rural to urban areas. Out of this, 6 million are estimated to be school going children who migrate with their parents to seek a better future.
The nature of migration is such that, these children more than often miss out on their fundamental right to education. The migrant population keeps moving from one worksite to another denying the children continued access to schools and other educational opportunities.
These barriers are further augmented by the risks of living in temporary homes (often tents at construction sites) and the economic uncertainties faced by their parents. Girl children often have the additional responsibility of managing household chores as well.
Various government agencies and non-profits have realized the magnitude of this program and have been working on addressing this at different levels. But the scale of the problem combined with the local dynamics of each area further complicates the problem.
We strongly believe that the need of the hour is a sustainable and replicable solution which has the local government and the employers (mostly builders) of the migrant labor force as the key stakeholders. Local governments have resources and frameworks that can scale, while the local employers often have more visibility into the migrant workforce demographics.
Vibha has been working on supporting solutions in this space since 2006 in 4 different Indian States. More than $100,000 is invested every year in this space and close to a million dollars has been deployed till date.
In early 2017, Vibha commissioned a State of the Union Study to explore opportunities in building a unified model for the education of children of migrant workers. We are now exploring operational strategies with already identified high-potential, high-capacity grassroots level implementation partners like the Door Step School in Maharashtra to realize and ‘templatize’ further efficiencies in existing implementations.
Door Step Schools
The Door Step School program addresses three major problems: non-enrolment, wastage, and stagnation. It provides education and support to the often-forgotten children of pavement dwellers, slum dwellers, construction site families and many other underprivileged families. The program brings education to the ‘door step’ of these underprivileged children.
Established in Mumbai in 1988 and later expanded to Pune in 1993, Door Step School has impacted the lives of over 50,000 children since.
Vibha’s objective is to pioneer a scalable, sustainable and replicable model for
education of children of migrant workers that will:
(a) leverage existing frameworks, resources and guidelines provided by the Government of India and various other state/ local government agencies
(b) integrate employers of migrant workers as a key stakeholder
(c) provide a uniform template that will enable local implementation agencies to
realize efficiencies resulting from economies of scale
(d) strategically track year over year progress against defined metrics