About the Project
This project is one of the 2012 WISE Awards winners.
Bharti Foundation was set up with the mission “to help underprivileged children and young people of our country realize their potential”. Its flagship initiative, the Satya Bharti School Program, is establishing schools in rural India, with the objective of supporting the country’s MDG goals while creating a model of quality education. The program, a K-12 education model, envisions a senior secondary school for every 8 to 10 primary/elementary schools. It offers quality education free of cost to underprivileged children, with welfare schemes like midday meals, school uniforms and educational materials. The program has a special focus on girls and is committed to developing them into self-reliant individuals with a deep sense of social engagement. In higher classes, vocational courses are introduced to enhance employability.
Recently, the Foundation has initiated two new programs: Satya Bharti Learning Centers Program and a Quality Support Program. While the former will help enroll out-of-school children in government schools, a pilot of the latter aims to improve the quality of the schooling experience for students in government schools in a consultant/interventionist mode. Over the last few years, the Foundation has also established partnerships with NGOs, corporates, educational institutions and individuals to strengthen its program and the education sector in the country.
Context and Issue
The challenge in India today is primarily that of lack of quality education and teachers in rural India, leading to many out-of-school children and low learning levels. The school program is attempting to create a quality education model with local young people as teachers through intense training and a creative curriculum at a cost equivalent to the government system. The school curriculum has been designed to reach out to the learning capabilities of each child. It also incorporates the interaction of the students with their own surroundings through community campaigns which are further empowering parents and communities with new thoughts and views.
The objective is to provide a model for quality education in rural India and impact the government schooling system through the lessons and good practices learnt from the project. It is creating a pool of trained teachers who are being absorbed by the government system, thereby improving the quality of education delivery in respective states. The Foundation intends to ensure that children are provided with a quality education to become employable and responsible citizens of tomorrow.
The Solution and Impact
Through its various programs, Bharti Foundation is trying to ensure quality education for children in rural India. It is setting up primary, elementary and senior secondary schools; taking lessons and good practices learnt to the government schools to improve the overall quality of the schooling experience for students; and providing remedial education to out-of-school children in order to mainstream them into regular schools. In all its interventions, it is providing robust training and mentoring to the teachers and developing a brigade of well-equipped, learned and knowledgeable resources. The ultimate aim is to raise the bar of literacy and education standards in the country.
In terms of impact, schools and other programs of the Foundation have reached out to over 250,000 beneficiaries in more than 750 villages. The school program impacts students through quality education resulting in enhanced learning levels, exposure to English, computers, life skills, communication and leadership. Rural young people are employed as teachers (57 percent females) and are trained to act as role models for girls. Calling on mothers as midday meal vendors is one example of the financial empowerment and inclusion of women. Interventions with the government schools are resulting in enhanced teacher quality, exposure to students and improvement of the overall quality of schooling.
The Satya Bharti School Program, launched in 2006, is the flagship program of Bharti Foundation. The program has directly impacted more than 1,45,000 lives. This rural education initiative has the following objectives:
1. Provide free and quality education to underprivileged children, with a special focus on the girl child, in the rural parts of the country
2. Transform students into educated, confident, responsible and self-reliant employable citizens of the country with a deep sense of commitment to their society
3. Encourage active involvement of the community, parents and like-minded organizations
4. Make a lasting and sustainable impact on the community where schools are present These schools provide free quality education as well as free uniforms, text books, stationery and mid-day meals to all its students.
The Satya Bharti School program is being implemented with the intent to arrive at replicable and scalable components of quality education. Reaching out to thousands of children, the program, through its focus on holistic development, aims to bring forth a new generation of citizens who are not only educated but also committed to their own community/village and eager to usher in positive change.
Bharti Foundation will continue to provide quality education through the Satya Bharti School Program and plans to increase the number of elementary and senior secondary schools in rural India. It will enhance its focus on building state capacity through adopting more government schools to improve overall school quality under the Quality Support Program and will increase its reach through further setting up remedial/bridge centers to bring more out-of-school children back to school. Additionally, it plans to undertake robust research and documentation of its good practices, and make them available to the larger education system, in order to replicate and implement them in local settings.
Selected primary schools under the Satya Bharti School Program will be upgraded to elementary and senior secondary level to ensure that students are provided with the opportunity to complete their school education. Vocational training at the senior secondary schools will equip students with additional professional skills that will help enhance their employment prospects. With regard to government partnerships, the Foundation plans to extend the impact of the program by reaching out to more states, schools and students. Additionally, periodic research will be initiated to ensure the documentation of good practices and lessons learnt from the programs.