Sampark Foundation

Disruptive inclusive innovation to improve learning outcomes in public schools Highly Ranked

Lead Organization

Sampark Foundation

Noida, State of Uttar Pradesh, India

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Project Summary

How do you solve the problem that faces 144 million children in India’s government schools where 6 out of 10 cannot read grade-2 text and 8 out of 10 cannot do simple math sums.Our design thinking assumption is that if we ignite the classroom by bringing innovation in the interface of the teacher and child and implement it at scale in partnership with government –we can solve this problem.This gave birth to Sampark Smart Shala with 5 innovative elements including an Audio box with a voice mascot called “Sampark Didi” and BOT enabled mobile App that works without internet combined with extensive teacher training and rigorous real time monitoring.This has helped us achieve over 40% increase in learning outcomes for 7 million children in 76,000 rural schools at just $1 per child/annum and we hope to reach 20 million children in 200,000 schools over next five years

Problem Statement

Over 144 million children study in more than 1 million public-funded schools in India.In the 17 years since education became a fundamental right, the country has achieved a near-universal enrolment rate of 96% at the primary level. However, all independent surveys – including the National Achievement Survey (NAS)—point to alarmingly poor learning outcomes. If not tackled in time, India’s learning crisis can turn its demographic dividend into its biggest challenge. We believe that India needs to ?ght education inequality to ?ght economic and other debilitating inequalities. Our first step in the design thinking process was to define the problem. Despite doubling of investment in education, learning outcomes are poor; in-flight interventions are not easy-to-scale and lack local, context. Expensive, hi-tech digital interventions have failed because of poor infrastructure in rural classrooms. There are many different approaches to solving the learning outcome problem however we decided to focus on the innovation at the interface of a child and the teacher by putting the teachers at the heart of our plans so that they own and drive the change and claim credit for significant increase in the learning outcomes. Building on this realisation, we harnessed the principles of human-centred design thinking to start designing solutions that had the potential of improving learning outcomes at scale. Using an iterative process of framing the question, gathering inspiration, generating ideas and making them tangible, testing to learn and scaling up, the foundation has been able to discover ideas that work, consistently and at scale.

Solution Overview

We have adopted a five-step model of change to transform learning outcomes. PARTNER with the Government : We signed a 5-year transformation MoUs with the state governments of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to improve learning levels in Math and EnglishPROVIDE :Sampark Smart Shala Kit : At the core of our design is an assumption that if we can get a child excited about learning, nothing will stop her from getting to where she wants to go irrespective of all the constraints she might face on the way. TRAIN: The training we provide to 200,000 teachers every year is unique and interactive as the teachers get an understanding of how to deliver each concept using the manipulatives in the classroom.TECHNOLOGY: The Sampark Smart Shala™ mobile application is a free learning platform with over 200K teachers as active users that provides simple and engaging content that make learning fun in schools.MONITOR AND EVALUATE: Using the existing education infrastructure and personnel, the program incorporates regular monitoring of schools. Monthly performance reports are sent to school administrators via Sampark Smart Shala™ app, an android-based application. Annually, the programme is evaluated by third party with focussed learning outcome assessments.EXPECTED IMPACT: The proposed programme will impact 20 million under privileged children studyingin 200,000 remote public schools and train and enable 500,000 teachers.

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Project Funders

  • Citicorp Finance India Ltd 2017 - Ongoing
  • HT Parekh Foundation 2017 - Ongoing
  • Ernst & Young Foundation 2016 - 2019

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