Shikshana

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Solution Partner to improve quality of primary education

Issue

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.

Solution

Motivation-based learning through the following elements that seeks to comprehensively address the ‘motivation gap’.

  • Rewards and incentives to improve certain basic habits and activities

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.

  • Structured Learning to overcome basic challenges

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.

  • Deliberate Practice to focus on goals

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.

Vibha Involvement

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.

Future Plans

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.

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