The report on how to better design ed-tech interventions in APS in India is published. You can view it here.
Ideas for Improving APS
I was fortunate to spend the majority of these nine months in India working with friends and colleagues to explore “solutions” to problems I saw with affordable private schools.
I’m sharing some of these ideas here. For a variety of reasons, these ideas were not implemented, though we were able to explore the feasibility of many of them and speak with potential partner organizations and schools. Some of these ideas are untested and complex, and require significant time, human capital, and financial support beyond the scope of my resources. And ideally they should be school and locally-driven initiatives.
I’m not sharing these ideas because I think they are novel, game changing, or will necessarily even work, but because perhaps you know of someone working on a similar concept, or can tell me why these ideas would or wouldn’t work. Or maybe you would like to try them out yourself. For whatever reasons, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
What Affordable Private Schools Teach Us About Social Enterprise
The hype around social enterprises often trumps a deeper investigation and critique of the challenges facing those organizations.
After spending nine months exploring affordable private schools (APS) and social enterprise in India, I’ve noticed a number of challenges with APS that also apply to social enterprises more broadly. Below, I discuss three critiques and myths about affordable private schools, and offer some lessons that those working in the social enterprise ecosystem can take into consideration for their own work.
Wanted: Great Teachers
There needs to be a sustainable, quality, affordable training strategy for teachers in India’s low-income schools. It’s one of the holy grails of education, and yet it still couldn’t be more true.
Affordable private school (APS) teachers are largely untrained and uneducated past intermediate. They rely on rote learning in their classrooms and teach straight from the textbook. Their classes are typically unengaged and monotone. The response to misbehaving students is corporeal punishment by the teacher–hitting with rulers or whatever else is available, sitting on knees, and calling students names. While teacher training service providers do exist, APS often cannot afford the fees. APS owners also fear that their teachers will leave for better jobs if they receive training or improve their English, especially because teacher retention is already a huge problem.Working with APS in Hyderabad these past seven months, my colleagues and I have seen first-hand the poor quality of teachers in our classrooms.
Several months ago, I had the opportunity to visit two schools in Mumbai that reminded me what great education is all about and why India needs a better teacher training solution.