Education is fundamental to an equitable society. An excellent education equips children and youth with the knowledge, skills, values, and mindsets needed to be empowered individuals and responsible citizens. The fact that a high-quality education has wide-ranging benefits for individuals and societies has been demonstrated, time and again, by countries across the world. With nearly 1 in 4 people below the age of 14 years, India today stands at an inflection point; where we go from here depends in large part on our ability to provide equal opportunities for all children to attain an excellent education.
The truth is that today, more than 50% of students in Grade 5 cannot read a Grade 2 text or solve a simple subtraction problem. The truth is that today, the socio-economic circumstances that a child is born into determines the type of school she attends, the kinds of co-curricular opportunities that are available to her, the quality of life outcomes she attains as an adult, and the kinds of opportunities she passes on to her own children.
The truth is that today, we are failing the majority of our children.
The causes underlying this collective failure are numerous, varied and complex. Nevertheless, at Teach For India, we believe that at the root of this crisis in education lies a crisis of leadership. There is a severe deficit of people at all levels of the education system who are committed to working together to improve the capacity and quality of our nation’s schools. The fact is that teachers alone cannot solve this crisis; we also need excellent school principals to support those teachers, informed parents to stay engaged with the teaching-learning process in schools, visionary bureaucrats and politicians to create an environment that enables for principals and teachers to thrive, active civil society leaders to hold stakeholders accountable, and committed corporate leaders to mobilize the necessary resources to support school systems.
Teach For India exists precisely to fill this deficit of leadership in education.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic impacted us overnight and changed us, perhaps, forever. As an organisation, we had to adapt, become agile, and innovate, all the while collaborating with our Students, our communities and long-standing partners. With the upheaval and disruption that we witnessed, we, at Teach For India, realized that we need to continue doing what we had been doing, but do it differently.