Teach For India
||This article contains content that is written like an advertisement. (April 2012)|
|Type||Education, Nonprofit organization|
|Focus||Eliminating Educational Inequity in India|
|New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Bangalore|
|Shaheen Mistri - Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Tomos Davies - Chief Operating Officer
Dimple Gujral - Chief Financial Officer
Teach For India (TFI) is an Indian non-profit organization, which is a part of the Teach For All global movement. Through its Fellowship program, TFI recruits qualified Indian college graduates and working professionals to serve as full-time teachers in low-income schools for two years. Fellows work to bridge the educational gaps that their students face, in the hopes of putting their students on a fundamentally different life path. Through the 'Teaching as Leadership' framework, Teach For India staff provides training and support to Fellows so that they can employ innovative teaching strategies to maximize their effectiveness in the classroom. After two years of the Fellowship, the Fellows become a part of an alumni movement. The aim of this movement is for the alumni to work from inside and outside the educational system to affect the long-term changes necessary to realize educational opportunity for all. TFI is currently in six cities and expanding to a seventh, impacting 23,000 children through 730 Fellows.
India's Education Crisis
India continues to have 2.27 million children out of school. India has made strides in primary school enrollment but despite an initially high rate of enrollment, drop-out rates are very high. In India today, 4% of all children never start school, 58% don’t complete primary schools, 90% don’t complete secondary school, and only 10% of children go on to college. A number of reasons have been attributed for this situation, but the most popularly accepted reason is the quality of education in schools.
The TFI Model
Teach For India's mission statement is that every child deserves to attain an excellent education. Teach For India's aim is to prove that no child’s demographics should determine their future. TFI's belief is that the end of educational inequity is the freedom for all children to have the opportunity to reach their potential, and the day that all children reach their potential is the day that India reaches its potential. The organization is committed to finding, developing and supporting India’s brightest, most promising leaders for this to happen.
Teach for India emphasizes on spreading the idea of quality education for all children across all walks of life through its alumni. TFI currently has 730 Fellows, of whom 250 were recruited in 2012, and 480 were recruited in 2013. The Fellows work across 209 schools in 5 cities of India - Mumbai, Pune, New Delhi, Chennai, and Hyderabad reaching approximately 23,000 students. The organization's plan is to expand by 2016 to 2000 fellows working across 10 cities teaching at least 60,000 students. TFI was started in 2008 by a group of activists led by Shaheen Mistri who wanted to bring about a systemic change in the Indian education sector by infusing committed teachers into the system. The group met Wendy Kopp, CEO and Founder of Teach For America (TFA), and following a McKinsey study, started adapting Teach For America’s Theory of change in India. Under their two-fold model, young professionals and college graduates are recruited to teach in under-resourced schools for a period of two years, and then go on to become an alumni force in different sectors, impacting education from their new positions. The first Teach for India Fellows started teaching in June 2009.
Teach For India Fellows
Teach For India Fellows consist of Indian citizens and foreign citizens of Indian origin. Past Fellows have included Indian-origin residents from the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. TFI's selection process is very selective and only 7.2 percent of the applicants made it into the program in 2013.  have come from top-notch institutions such as the Indian Institute of Technology, Indian Institute of Management, FMS Delhi, M.S.Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Princeton University, New York University, Amrita University, St. Xavier's College, Mumbai, Christ University, National Law School (Bangalore), Shri Ram College of Commerce (Delhi), BITS - Pilani, and St. Stephens, Delhi. Many TFI Fellows in recent years are young professionals who have worked in the corporate sector for organisations such as Goldman Sachs, Bloomberg, McKinsey, Microsoft, JPMorgan, Hindustan Unilever, Infosys, Thermax and Siemens.
After being selected, Fellows undergo a rigorous training program. This is followed by placement in government-run or low-income private schools for two consecutive academic years, throughout which the Fellows are continuously managed and guided by TFI. The Fellows are expected to get to know their students in and out of the classroom, create instructional plans that match not just the class' but the individual student's needs, teach in an engaging manner and make assessments to ensure all students are making progress. TFI calls this "Classroom Instructional Leadership". TFI Fellows' teaching methods have been frequently cited in the media. Apple featured one TFI Fellow's Class in its 2012 WWDC Conference for ingenious use of technology in day-to-day teaching.
TFI also requires its Fellows to execute a 'Be The Change Project' in their second year to impact change outside the classroom and reach the wider school or community. As a part of this, Fellows recognize and tackle a fundamental challenge to students' academic and personal development. This also helps Fellows build their leadership and project management skills. The idea is that the experience will shape and guide the methods through which Fellows tackle educational inequity in the country, both in the short term and long term.
TFI Alumni till date have gone into a variety of careers. In line with its philosophy of impact on educational reform through its alumni, TFI offers Fellows 5 optional courses in the second year of their fellowship, on how to affect change in any given sector of interest: Social enterprise, CSR, Government, Education or Advocacy.
Teach for India has made steady progress since its inception in 2008 (the first fellows started teaching in 2009). Almost 85 percent of the schools that TFI is associated with have requested more Fellows.
A Global Movement
Children all over the world do not have access to quality education. Educational disadvantage is perhaps the world's most fundamental injustice. It persists in different countries at all stages of development, severely limiting children's life prospects. Teach For India is part of the global umbrella organization Teach For All.
Teach For All is a global network of 28 partner organizations around the world, working to expand educational opportunity in their countries. Teach For All works towards the vision that one day all children in the world will attain an excellent education. These organizations recruit leaders of all academic disciplines to commit two years to teach in low income schools and as alumni work from both within and outside the education system to address the root cause of educational inequity in the world.
Views on TFI Model
The TFI model is new to India. But in the case of older partner programs of TFI such as Teach for America, some people have questioned whether all Fellows come with the same level of commitment to the cause. Wendy Kopp, CEO of Teach for All and the founder of Teach For America, dismissed this suggestion saying "this is the toughest way to boost a resume". TFI itself asserts that its process of selection ensures that only those with idealism and a commitment to the cause make it through.
A key challenge for TFI appears to be the education policies in India. India does not have the equivalent of the "No Child Left Behind" policy enacted in the US under the Bush administration. The Government of India has now started paying attention to this issue. On the occasion of India's Teacher's Day on September 5, 2012, the President of India Pranab Mukherjee said that “Qualified and competent teachers, continuously renewing their capabilities and excellence through research, experimentation and innovation would be the nation's strength." The government is now planning to launch a National Mission on Teachers and Training.
Unlike in some other countries where the Teach For All movement works, the Fellows at Teach for India are not paid by the government or the school they work in. Instead, TFI itself raises the funds to pay the Fellows. This could have been a challenge to the scalability of the concept but the organization has received strong support from charitable foundations like Reliance Foundation and corporates like JP Morgan.
Teach for India has been endorsed by a number of Indian celebrities in recent years such as Bollywood actors Aamir Khan and Rahul Bose, bestselling novelist Chetan Bhagat and philanthropist Nita Ambani.
Other Such Programs
- Teach For All - Teach For All was founded in September 2007 by Wendy Kopp and Brett Wigdortz to support local entrepreneurs who wish to start independent, locally governed organizations.
- Enseñá por Argentina
- Teach For America
- Teach First
- Teach For Pakistan
- NYC Teaching Fellows - A program that recruits, selects, and trains mid-career professionals and recent college graduates from all majors and backgrounds to become teachers in NYC public schools. It is responsible for up to 1/3 of the teaching staff in the city. While teaching, Fellows earn full salary, benefits, and a subsidized Master's Degree in education.