Social Startups

Teach for India : Raising an Army of Superstar Teachers

Teach for India is tackling the program of education in India by using a model that has worked very successfully in the US. They are calling on India’s brightest to teach for two years in under-resourced schools so that the children in these schools too can benefit from excellent teachers and education just like their counterparts in well to do private schools. Teach for India lives by the motto “One day all children will have access to an excellent education” and is inspired by Teach for America’s model which has shown great results in the US.

How are the Children Being Helped?

In India, the schools in low-income communities are plagued with multiple problems – the fact that these schools are operating in poor communities, catering to children of poor families, means they receive less funding and attention which results in poor infrastructure, poor quality of teachers, highly skewed teacher to child ratio making it difficult for children in these schools to succeed.

In order to solve this problem of education inequality, Teach for India recruits high performing college grads and professionals, provides them with intensive training and then places them in poor schools for two years on a full time basis in exchange of a modest salary. The children benefit from high quality teaching talent, showing marked academic improvements which sets a strong foundation for remaining education years. The fellows (Teach for India calls their teachers Fellows) benefit from the ground experience gained and many continue to stay involved even post their two year period. And that’s the second key component of Teach for India’s approach – to build a strong network of alumni so they could continue to effect change in whatever roles they play later in life. As seen in the US, 65% of Teach for America’s alumni remain in education (as principals, teachers), while others continue to support the mission in whatever capacity they can.

What’s Needed for this Model to Work?

The talent force of India needs to come forward to give two years of their life to teaching. Teach for India needs to speedily build their capacity to recruit and train in large numbers to fulfill the demand for high quality teachers. The problem is staggering and Teach for India needs to raise an army of educators to meet the need. Since it’s start in 2009 with 80 fellows, Teach for India now has 215 fellows placed in schools across Delhi, Mumbai and Pune. Teach for America has been able to crack the code for recruitment – they are today one of the largest provider of teachers to low-income communities in the US and also the largest employer amongst all Ivy League schools. As Mark Zuckerberg, Founder of Facebook mentions in an interview “TFA has actually gotten a lot of really good college students to go into teaching. 15% of the graduating Harvard class applies to TFA and there are aren’t enough placements today to accept all those people”