Fighting disparities through children’s education
About 260 million children attend school in India, more than in any other country. Enrolment has risen steadily over the past two decades, but the quality of learning lags behind. Over the last three years, UNICEF, in partnership with the Government, addressed the lack of quality teaching and low learning levels as part of education reforms. Over 5,000 teacher educators were trained on child-centred, inclusive education and learning assessment in five states. In turn, they trained over 176,000 teachers, reaching over 4.4 million students.
About 260 million children attend school in India, enrolled in more than a million schools scattered across the country. Enrolment has risen steadily over the past two decades, helped by the Right to Education Act, which makes school compulsory up to the age of 14. However, the quality of learning lags behind.
Over the last three years, UNICEF has addressed low learning levels and lack of quality teaching in partnership with the Government in the context of education reforms deployed at state, district and national level.
In the states of Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand in particular, UNICEF supported state education departments to build the capacity of teacher educators and teachers to master and deliver a child-centred inclusive pedagogy and assess and monitor children’s learning.
As part of this efforts, it helped revise and revamp teachers’ education curricula and training course, strengthened teacher training institutions, including the State Council of Educational research and Training, focusing in particular on learning assessment systems and quality test items.
It also supported the development of learning resource materials, including a kit for improving language and mathematics, remedial learning packages and videos on early-grade reading and numeracy. As a result, and despite the systemic challenges and bottlenecks:
- Over 5,000 teacher educators were trained on child-centred inclusive education, leadership and mentoring skills, as well as learning assessment. They have now a shared understanding on what children are expected to learn at a particular grade in a specific subject and of how to evaluate what children acquired against the expected learning outcomes. In turn, these educators trained over 176,000 teachers, reaching over 4.4 million students.
- Over 250 education civil servants - curriculum, pedagogy, assessment experts and field functionaries - were introduced to practices to link learning outcomes, learning assessment and child-friendly pedagogy.