About RISE

.

Why RISE

RISE – Remedial Innovation In School Education



Education is the most important lever for social, economic and political transformation. A well-educated population, equipped with the relevant knowledge, attitudes and skills is essential for economic and social development in today’s society. Education is the most potent tool for socio-economic mobility and a key instrument for building an equitable and just society. Education provides skills and competencies for economic well-being.

Research from around the world highlights the importance of early childhood education, and suggests that high-quality early childhood education may have the highest long-term returns in terms of improved human development. The Government has thus, accorded high priority to universalising pre-school education and improving school preparedness —especially for socially and economically disadvantaged children.

India has demonstrated considerable progress in the past decade on improving access, infrastructure, pupil-teacher ratios, teacher salaries, and student enrolment in primary schools. Nevertheless, student learning levels and trajectories are disturbingly low. The country seems to be in a serious crisis - despite the implementation of the RTE Act.

Universal enrolment will have no meaning if the learning levels achieved by children who complete five years of primary schooling are poor. Several independently conducted national studies including the ASER (2005 to 2013) and the School Learning Study (2010) have reported very low levels of learning among Indian school children. In the recent Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development–Programme for International Student Assessment (OECD–PISA) study, India has been placed at the tail-end in international comparisons rating (PISA-2009+).

It has been observed that the achievement level of students in primary school is very poor. Various studies have shown that more than 50 percent of children have lower achievement levels than desired and only very few children attain 80 percent levels of achievement in various subjects. A study conducted in Delhi schools observes that the schools managed by MCD reported the lowest mean scores. In the case of mathematics test based on Grade IV competencies, around 50 percent students could score less than 40 percent.

It is evident from various studies, that children from poor and marginalised background are the worst sufferers in the present education system. The factors responsible for low learning outcomes in all children, such as small and inadequate infrastructure, less financial resources, untrained teachers and uninteresting methods of teaching exist all across. However, the marginalised children are further disadvantaged because of their poor socio economic background, ignorance and illiteracy of parents, indifference of teachers to poor students, lack of conducive learning environment, and no reinforcement of learning at home, low value of education in the families. Besides the above, straightjacket approach to the content and process of education does not work for all

The thrust of policy and practice in India has now shifted from “schooling” to “learning”. The Twelfth Plan underlines the importance of learning outcomes. One of the most important steps for long run and sustainable improvement in learning outcomes is to focus at the primary level.

RISEis a unique and pioneering model for Universalisation of Elementary Education which is being implemented by AROH Foundation in the slums for the past 6 years. The initiative has got wide recognition and is being hailed as one of the best practices to achieve access, retention and desired learning outcomes for children.

Since its inception six years ago in 2009-10, the programme has taken nearly 30,000 children in about 100 slums of Delhi/NCR and 80 villages of UP and MP, covering a wide spectrum of socio, economic and systemic deprivation and marginalisation, into the fold of education. Indirectly, the project has benefitted more than a laky of people through this intervention.

Besides access to quality education as a core objective, the intervention adopts a holistic development approach and tries to shape up future responsible citizens. Moral education, healthcare, personal hygiene, art and craft, sports and cultural enrichment is provided through various activities in-built in the curriculum. The programme is being hailed as one of the best practices to bring universalisation of elementary education for deprived children in the unreached pockets.

APPROACH -- Challenges in Universalisation of Elementary Education

Despite efforts by all actors and functionaries of the sector, quality elementary education still eludes the nation. Several challenges persist because of which under privileged and deprives segments are forced to remain out of the ambit of formal education or are not able to complete their cycle of primary education with achievement of minimum learning levels. Some of the major challenges are as following:

1. ACCESS

• Children who are enrolled for name-sake, but who do not attend the school and remain ‘practically out-of-school’.
• A large percentage of children who are weak and cannot cope up and have learning levels much below the required levels tend to drop out.

2. RETENTION
The Eleventh Plan had targeted a reduction in dropout rates from 50 per cent to 20 per cent at the elementary stage. Even though there has been some reduction, progress has not been satisfactory and the national average is still as high as 42.39 per cent. The dropout rates for SC and ST children at 51.25 per cent and 57.58 per cent, respectively, are much higher than that for non-SC/ST children at 37.22 per cent. This clearly suggests the challenge of school retention of children from vulnerable communities.

More than 50% of children either do not attend the school regularly or drop out for various reasons like work, ignorance and sibling care, etc.; they may or may not remain enrolled as per school records, but remain excluded from education. Poverty is one of most significant causes which keep children away from school. The children are sent out to work and earn a living at a tender age of 4 to 5 years.

3. QUALITY

Universal enrolment will have no meaning if the learning levels achieved by children who complete five years of primary schooling are poor. Several independently conducted national studies including the ASER (2005 to 2013) and the School Learning Study (2010) have reported very low levels of learning among Indian school children. In the recent Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development–Programme for International Student Assessment (OECD–PISA) study, India has been placed at the tail-end in international comparisons rating (PISA-2009+).

The report on the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2013 prepared by the non-profit Pratham Education Foundation recently pointed out that the quality of learning—as measured by reading, writing, and basic arithmetic skills—has either shown no improvement or actually worsened over a period of nine years.

The “one size fits all” attitude seems prevalent, which makes students from urban and rural India study the same syllabus. Using ‘foreign’ languages like English as medium of instruction in school could also be one of the reasons of slow learning. This isn’t the only causative factor, but other necessities for running an education system like the teaching learning processes, content and evaluation methods are also to be blamed for the poor quality of education received by students. Lack of well trained teachers and high teacher student ratio is further adding fuel to the fire.

The ASER 2013 findings illustrate that over half the children in Class V are unable to read even at Class II level. Reading levels continue to be a cause for serious concern. More than half of all children in Std. V are at least three grade levels behind where they should be. In 2010 nationally, 46.3% of all children in Std. V could not read a Std. II level text. This proportion increased to 51.8% in 2011 and further to 53.2% in 2012. For Std. V children enrolled in government schools, the percentage of children unable to read Std. II level text has increased from 49.3% (2010) to 56.2% (2011) to 58.3% (2012).

These results underscore the fact that quality of education should be the key focus of all efforts in education. Improving learning outcomes, with a focus on supplemental instruction for disadvantaged children, can also directly contribute to the objective of reducing dropouts, because evidence suggests that children who fall behind grade-appropriate learning levels are significantly more likely to drop out. The structure of enrolments in elementary education shows that about 80 per cent of children are enrolled in government and government-aided institutions; therefore, it is required to focus on quality improvement in elementary education in government schools.

The Twelfth Plan document underlines the importance of learning outcomes. One of the most important steps for long run and sustainable improvement in learning outcomes is to focus at the beginning. For the 2014-15 school year the annual work plan guidelines of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan have new insertions that underline the importance of building solid foundations of language and numeracy in early grades.1 India’s Right to Education Act “guarantees” education from age six and provides 25% reservation in private schools for economically disadvantaged students from the first year in school.

Aligning its objectives to the nation’s educational agenda, Padho aur Badho proposes to address the above challenges in a planned, project-based manner and with measurable outcomes with the thrust of the programme shifting from “schooling” to “learning”.