The Problem: 20% graduation rate in public schools
Over eight million children (5-12 years) in Karnataka, India, study in public schools that do not have a learning environment necessary for success. This is due to a wide variety of factors that include a lack of infrastructure, lack of teaching aids, poor quality of teaching and a general lack of community awareness on the benefits of education. This results in less than 65% graduation at the seventh grade, and an average graduation rate of 50% in subsequent grades. Finally, less than 20% graduate from high school (10th Grade).
The Opportunity: Government of Karnataka has allowed individuals and organizations to adopt public schools.
Recognizing the need to transform the learning environment in public schools, the Karnataka government has instituted a progressive policy that allows organizations to adopt schools to improve the infrastructure and teaching methods.
The Solution: Sikshana adopts public schools to improve graduation rates.
Sikshana is a project created to ensure that more children benefit from education, and graduate from high school with basic livelihood skills. Sikshana started out by adopting three public schools in 2002 and as of January 2008, over 10,000 children are covered via 36 public schools. Using structured problem solving methods Sikshana has created a cost effective solution to address the shortcomings of individual schools, by spending about $12 per child per year to augment the government expense of $130 per child per year.
The above expense is made towards addressing the three core problems contributing to a low graduation rate:
- Low learning levels
- Low attendance levels
- Low priority/importance for education
The problems are addressed through a collaborative approach, ensuring that the teachers and staff at different schools take ownership of action plans. They are trained on problem solving methods including industry standard practices such as Total Quality Management. They then create an action plan, in conjunction with Sikshana personnel on activities and calendar to ensure improvement in the above mentioned issues. The plans are then implemented in a structured manner, and the performance measured on a regular basis.
Vibha Involvement: Vibha funds and collaborates with Sikshana at the level of individual schools
Sikshana is a large project covering many public schools in Banagalore and Kanakapura school districts. Vibha's involvement currently is at 11 of these public schools, where the entire funding for the development programs is taken care of by Vibha. Vibha volunteers and Vibha project monitors work proactively with Sikshana on implementation of the project.
Project Progress: The 11 schools supported by Vibha in 2007 showed a 50% average annual improvement in standardized tests.
On an annual basis, the classes are evaluated using the Azim Premji Foundation Benchmarks (conducted by an independent third party agency), students being scored on language and quantitative skills in oral and written formats. Each school has a target average improvement of 15% in these scores. The 11 schools that have been supported by Vibha, have shown an improvement of over 50% on the Azim Premji Foundation tests. Simultaneously, attendance rates as well as the attitude of the local community is measured, to ensure that the child receives all the required parental and community support to pursue his or her dreams and goals.
This project looks to change the face of the public education system in Karnataka to ensure that the children attain their right to education.