Following a trip to India visiting partners on the ground, Diya Mukarji, Head of Programmes at the British Asian Trust, reflects on the education crisis in India and the measures being taken by the Trust to help provide quality learning for children in schools.
I was recently in India visiting some of our partners and I met up with Amitav Virmani, the Founder and CEO of The Education Alliance, in the Turtle Café in Delhi, above a small bookshop called Full Circle - ironic really as we spent our time talking about the education crisis in India. What followed was some interesting and provocative thoughts on possible solutions to the learning crisis.
The discourse around primary education in India is rightly shifting from access to quality of education and learning outcomes. Although this does show that we have broadly addressed the issue of access, there is still a long way to go to make sure that children in schools are learning. Although school enrolment numbers in India are high at 96%, quality of learning remains poor.
Improving education in India reduces drop-out rates, delays early marriage for girls and unlocks the potential of future generations. The cost of ignoring this learning crisis will be further poverty and inequality. Government schools have the responsibility and the potential to provide high quality education that can have a positive impact on the future of our children. Our vision is that children in South Asia realise their full potential through quality learning and education.
The Education Alliance aims to help governments in India provide a quality education to every child, by facilitating effective partnerships between state and non-state actors. They work to catalyse quality transformation in India’s education system by nurturing and building a collaborative ecosystem wherein Government and Non-Profit organisations work closely together. Like the British Asian Trust, they truly believe that public private partnerships can deliver real change within the education sector in India. The British Asian Trust is supporting them to work with 20 schools in the South Delhi area, collaborating closely with a number of NGOs and the South Delhi Municipal Corporation to transform the quality of these schools.
Our ground-breaking Education Development Impact Bond will improve literacy and numeracy learning levels for over 300,000 primary school students from marginalised communities in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Delhi, and catalyse a system level change that could ultimately benefit millions of children.
Diya Mukarji, Head of Programmes, British Asian Trust