Teach for India- Because education can solve most of our problems
Education is fundamental to any equitable society. An excellent education not only equips children and youth with the knowledge, skills, values but also ushers them to be empowered individuals and responsible citizens. With nearly 1 in 4 people below the age of 14 years, India today stands at an inflexion point; where we go from here depends in large part on our ability to provide equal opportunities for all children to attain an excellent education.
The truth is that today, more than 50% of students in Grade 5 cannot read a Grade 2 text or solve a simple subtraction problem, the socio-economic circumstances that a child is born into determines the type of school he attends, the kinds of co-curricular opportunities that are available to him, the quality of life outcomes he attains as an adult, and the kinds of opportunities he passes on to his own children.
The truth is that today, we are failing the majority of our children.
The root of this crisis in education lies a crisis of leadership. There is a severe deficit of people at all levels of the education system who are committed to working together to improve the capacity and quality of our nation’s schools. The fact is that teachers alone cannot solve this crisis; we also need excellent school principals to support those teachers, informed parents to stay engaged with the teaching-learning process in schools, visionary bureaucrats and politicians to create an environment that enables for principals and teachers to thrive, active civil society leaders to hold stakeholders accountable, and committed corporate leaders to mobilize the necessary resources to support school systems.
Teach For India exists precisely to fill this deficit of leadership in education by providing excellent education to all children by recruiting college graduates and working professionals to serve as full-time teachers in low-income schools for two years. The “TFI fellows” work across 209 schools in seven cities of India – Mumbai, Pune, New Delhi, Chennai, Ahmadabad, Bengaluru and Hyderabad reaching approximately 38,000 students.
Started in 2008 by a group of activists led by Shaheen Mistri who wanted to bring about a systemic change in the Indian education sector. The group met Wendy Kopp, CEO and Founder of Teach for America (TFA), and following a McKinsey study, started adapting Teach for America s Theory of Change in India with the vision that one day all children will attain an excellent education and creating a movement of leaders to eliminate educational inequity.
In order to build a growing community of leaders, Teach For India has developed two models, one for short term and other for long term.
In the short-term, through the Fellowship program, they provide an opportunity to India’s brightest and most promising individuals, from the nation’s best universities and workplaces, to serve as full-time teachers to children from low-income communities in some of the nation’s most under-resourced schools. Through this experience of teaching in classrooms and working with key education stakeholders like students, principals, and parents, Fellows get exposed to the grassroots realities of India’s education system and begin to cultivate the knowledge, skills, and mindsets necessary to attain positions of leadership in the education system and identify their role in building a larger movement for equity in education.
In the long-term, these leaders become part of the Alumni network and support this growing community to advocate for change. The Alumni work in diverse roles within the education sector, as teachers, teacher-trainers, school principals, curriculum designers, and education policy researchers, as well as in the ecosystem surrounding and supporting the education sector, as journalists, lawyers, health experts, entrepreneurs, and corporate leaders, all with a shared purpose to build a broad people’s movement for educational equity that will accelerate progress towards that day when all children in India have the opportunity to attain an excellent education so that we, as a nation, can find our light and our true potential.
The organisation has impacted the lives of more than 50,000 kids through interaction at the grass-root level. The children are not only provided academic learning but holistic learning. This has impacted the lives of children on three levels academic growth, values and mindset, and exposure.