It is well known that there exists a large gap in the education system in India, with affordability playing the key role. Children with resources are able to receive top-class education, whereas the under privileged are left to cope with the ineffectual government mechanism. It is no surprise thus that on an average more than one in three students drop out of primary school before the fifth standard.
The effort required to overhaul the primary education system in the country seems Herculean, and would require a large input of time and resources. On the other hand, we do have a large pool of talented and well-equipped youth who have passed through the better system of education. Why not utilize the faculties of this group to provide better teaching facilities to the under-privileged students? This is the idea behind Teach for India. By inducting and training “Fellows”, this program aims to provide excellent education to every child.
What is Teach For India?
It is a nationwide movement of outstanding college graduates and young professionals who will commit two years to teach full-time in under-resourced schools and who will become lifelong leaders working from within various sectors toward the pursuit of equity in education. It currently has 214 Fellows impacting 6500 children.
What is Teach For India’s model?
Teach For India provides resources, training, and support to the young leaders recruited to the Fellowship so they can employ innovative teaching strategies and maximize their effectiveness in the classroom. During the two-years, Fellows gain important knowledge and experience of India’s educational system and its challenges, which enables them to provide solutions to problems faced within their classrooms and school communities.
The Fellows of the movement
Teach For India Fellows are a diverse set- some coming after years of experience in industries ranging from investment banking to mining while others enthusiastic and fresh out of college. All of them share 2 basic qualities- a proven ability to lead and to overcome challenging and resource-constrained environments. To add to this is a common vision they believe in- that every child deserves an excellent education.
Training to build teachers and leaders
A 5-week Training Institute is organized to prepare the Fellows for teaching in school. It is innovative, rigorous and tries to push every Fellow far beyond his comfort zone. On the first day of training, Fellows are dropped off into a community for 2 hours and told to connect with a child. Fellows undergo 4 weeks on-the-job training by teaching in summer school. By the time Institute is over, they are ready for school.
Post the Teach For India Fellowship, Teach For India Fellows will work from within and across different sectors to advocate equity in education. This may be through involvement in corporate foundations to encourage funding, through working in the government to influence policies towards education equity or through working in other social organizations involved in getting better education for the underprivileged.
Through their efforts, they will ensure that one day, every child in India attains an excellent education.