We have been asked this question many times. What is it that drives us. Why are we doing what we are doing? What’s in it for us? Year after year, we read up the ASER reports that looks to find the state of education across India. Some of the National findings of the last year’s report (2013) have been emphasising on the sad state of education, mainly in the primary schools, and also the fact that inspite of all the efforts, the quality of education has actually gone down instead of improving!
While, on one end while that saddens us, on the other end it inspires us as we know that we have lots of work to do. In a recent article on TIME, the writer starts with this shocking (but widely known now) revelation. More children are going to school in India, but they’re learning less. This they validate by data from the World bank. We do not find it surprising, because we face it every day. Some excerpts from the article, worth mentioning here really drives across the point of why we are doing our work.
This decline in standards, experts say, is paradoxically because of the rush to build schools and bring back children to the education fold. India managed to bring down the number of out-of-school children from 32 million in 2001 to 1.4 million in 2011 as part of a program to make elementary education universal. The landmark Right to Education Act of 2009 guarantees every child in India between the ages of 6 and 14 free education at a neighborhood school.
At the Happy Horizons Trust, our focus has primarily to look at improving the quality of education through improving the reading levels, writing levels, arithmetic skills and speaking levels. We have focused on the primary schools, as we believe that just like a building, the foundation has to be strong. If a child is able to develop good reading, writing, and speaking skills by the time they are in grade 3, we are pretty confident that the child will go on to do well in the higher classes.