05 Sep Sikshana – A Seed, Grow, Scale Success Story
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.
This is the issue that “Sikshana”, one of Vibha’s longest standing Solution Partners has been addressing since 2002.It approaches motivation-based learning through four main elements that seeks to comprehensively address the “motivation gap”
REWARDS AND INCENTIVES
To start, students are offered non-financial rewards for basic good behaviors such as attending school regularly, class participation, participation in sports and extracurriculars, personal hygiene, etc. Unless these fundamentals are ensured, it is difficult to drive any improvement.
SAFE T O FAIL T O ENVIR O NMENTS
As students start to attend and to participate, Sikshana works to create a psychological safe space. 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 materials, 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
TESTING “REPLICABILITY” 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 WIN
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 conversations with two other state governments in India to further expand the model. Efforts are also underway to tweak other solutions supported by Vibha to incorporate best practices from Sikshana.