Excellent Results for World’s Largest Education Development Impact Bond

The world’s largest education Development Impact Bond (DIB) – the Quality Education India DIB (QEI DIB), led by British Asian Trust in partnership with Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and UBS Optimus Foundation, announces that, after two years of funding education programmes in India, the results are surpassing expectations.

The independent evaluation of the second-year results show that children are learning twice as fast as their peers in control schools. The overall programme is achieving two to three times its targets and some schools are out-performing up to four to five times. QEI DIB schools are enabling substantial incremental learning for children when compared to control schools. Over two years, the QEI DIB has supported more than 100,000 children in more than 600 schools across Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.

The QEI DIB is demonstrating that moving away from activity-focused funding to outcomes-based funding has significant impact on improving the quality and scale of student learning outcomes. It also provides an environment for service providers to be flexible and agile in the delivery of their models, allowing them to re-calibrate as required based on data generated.

Baroness Sugg, UK Special Envoy for Girls’ Education and Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office Minister, said:

“Nine in ten children in low-income countries cannot read properly by age 10. This is a devastating waste of potential.

With extreme poverty set to increase for the first time since 1998 due to the impact of coronavirus, the education funding gap will widen further and the world’s poorest will suffer the most.

This project shows how innovative finance tools, such as impact bonds, can help unlock much-needed private investment in education, to help give every child the future they deserve.”

An Ambitious Outcomes Financing Model

The Quality Education India DIB (QEI DIB), launched in September 2018, aims to improve the quality of literacy and numeracy for more than 200,000 primary school children, aged between 5 and 10, in schools in India over 4 years.

The QEI DIB seeks to develop a new funding approach focused on learning outcomes, to ensure that maximum impact is achieved for the investment provided. Over four years, the DIB will identify education programmes that can be successfully increased and generate evidence to shape support to education and other sectors.

The QEI DIB is the first of its kind with multiple outcome funders and service providers testing and funding several programmes on the same outcomes framework. Participating models include training for teachers, leadership programmes for school principals, standalone schools in poverty-stricken areas, and technology-based learning solutions. Each of the partners have taken on ambitious targets to ensure learning gains for their students.

The QEI DIB is led by a Steering Committee comprising of the British Asian Trust, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and UBS Optimus Foundation. The British Asian Trust represents the interests of outcome funders Comic Relief, the Mittal Foundation, BT and the Larry Ellison Foundation.

The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advised on the development of the model and is supporting research into how a similar approach can be used to encourage investment in education and skills training in other countries, such as Pakistan and Bangladesh. This is part of the UK’s commitment to ensuring that every girl has access to 12 years of quality education and comes ahead of a global education summit being co-hosted by the UK next year, which aims to raise vital funds to help children into school and build back better from coronavirus.

Richard Hawkes, CEO of the British Asian Trust commented the following on the results -

“We are delighted with these results. They really demonstrate that the bold and innovative approach taken by the British Asian Trust can lead to great success. We are extremely proud to have convened such an exceptional group of partners to pioneer this new way of working.”

Ruth Davison, CEO of Comic Relief, an outcome funder on the Quality Education India DIB shared the following -

“Comic Relief is delighted to see the continued success of the Quality Education India DIB in continuing to deliver a pioneering education intervention in India looking to improve the lives of 200,000 children through improvements in educational attainment. The work being done by British Asian Trust also demonstrates how innovation can play a role through the use of alternative delivery models which has led to over 100,000 children being supported across 600 schools in India.”

 About the QEI DIB:

The QEI DIB, the largest of its kind for funding education, raised USD 11 million in its first phase of funding. The structure includes a results-based finance mechanism, where the outcome funders only pay for successful results. If the outcomes are not fully achieved, funders will pay proportionate to the results achieved. The working capital used by NGOs to deliver the programmes is provided by the ‘risk’ investor, in this case UBS Optimus Foundation. If successful, the investor is able to recover their capital and earn a return if pre-determined education outcomes are met.

Whereas other forms of education funding have previously focused on measuring the number of children in schools, the DIB focuses on the quality of education by measuring improved literacy and numeracy.

About the consortium: 

This DIB consists of an international coalition of public, not for profit and private sector organisations- 

  • NGOs: Kaivalya Education Foundation, Gyan Shala, Society for All Round Development and Educational Initiatives-Pratham Infotech Foundation
  • Intermediary: British Asian Trust
  • Funders: Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Comic Relief, the Mittal Foundation, Larry Ellison Foundation and BT
  • Risk Investor: UBS Optimus Foundation
  • Knowledge Partner: Center for Universal Education, at Brookings and Tata Trusts,
  • Technical experts: Dalberg Advisors and ConveGenius Insights (Formerly Gray Matters India)
  • Technical assistance partner: UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office


About the British Asian Trust
The British Asian Trust is an innovative international development charity driven by the British Asian diaspora to address poverty and inequality across South Asia. We were founded by His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales and a group of visionary British Asian entrepreneurs and philanthropists to deliver large-scale, sustainable solutions that enable those in poverty to achieve their full potential. Since we started in 2007, we have had a positive impact on the lives of 4.8 million people in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.