Global efforts for the demonstration of foundational learning programs show that successful models include holistic approaches toward program interventions, with attention to pedagogy, curriculum and systemic strengthening. These programs were defined by the recognition of foundational learning as a priority for education policy and a high degree of institutional ownership by states.
We have adopted this approach in our focus states, i.e. Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, where our goal is to build for scale and sustainability by ensuring strong ownership by the government. This involves working with the state on:
- Goal setting and stakeholder alignment on goals, targets and metrics
- Improving teaching and learning processes
- Building system capacity to ensure delivery of project
- Increasing accountability throughout the system
Gujarat: Support for Enabling a State-Wide Foundational Learning Program
We are working in partnership with the Government of Gujarat to facilitate the launch of a state-owned foundational learning program. A Project Management Unit has been set up to support the state in its current foundational learning intervention, design new interventions to build teacher capacity and conduct assessments.
The PMU supported the Education Department, Government of Gujarat, in conducting an assessment of the learning levels of children in Grade 2. The results of this assessment informed the design of a remedial program for Grade 2 children to help them achieve the foundational learning level corresponding to their grade by the end of the academic year.
Additionally, we designed a school readiness program in consultation with the Education Department, which was scaled up to all 33,000 schools. It was implemented in the first month of Pragna, (the existing activity-based learning program run in the state) classes to provide school readiness skills to children joining Grade 1. In consultation with the Gujarat Council of Educational Research and Training, the foundational learning components of Pragna were further strengthened with the introduction of orality and reading in common teacher-led instructions.
Capacity building workshops were conducted by CSF with officials from the Education Department (cluster resource centers, block resource centers, district and state officials) to familiarize them with the importance of foundational learning.
Mission Prerna, Uttar Pradesh: A Demand-led Approach to Improve Foundational Learning
The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, launched Mission Prerna in March 2020 with the aim of ensuring that all primary school-going children are able to attain foundational literacy and numeracy skills by 2022. CSF is working closely with the Government of UP and implementation partner Samagra to co-design and implement this program. Mission Prerna adopts a demand-led approach wherein clearly defined goals and metrics will be communicated through the system and coupled with a robust accountability and assessment system to create the impetus for improving foundational learning outcomes. Key elements of the program include:
- Prerna Ghoshna: a gamified approach to goal-setting through a block-level competition where each administrative unit will self-nominate itself for third-party assessments of learning outcomes
- Administrative initiatives: a series of systemic reforms to streamline service delivery of the program
- Academic initiatives: a series of academic interventions to improve classroom elements such as pedagogy and learning materials, as well as high-quality, regular and appropriate teacher training and mentoring
- Accountability Initiatives: efforts to track progress, provide feedback loops, and independently measure progress made toward achieving stated goals
Project Ankur, Madhya Pradesh: A Systemic Approach to Foundational Learning
CSF has signed a three-year agreement with the Government of Madhya Pradesh to improve foundational learning in Grades 1 and 2 by enhancing the capacity of the Department of School Education to better deliver the program. The program “Project Ankur”, includes a a coalition of technical partners working with us, including The Education Alliance (TEA), Room to Read and Sol’s ARC.The core components of the program include establishing a foundational learning cell within the State's Department of School Education and testing evidence-informed solutions in three innovation districts.
In response to the closure of schools owing to COVID-19, Project Ankur is contributing to the State's DigiLEP program through a team of content experts and digital learning specialists that has been set up to dedicatedly engage in initiatives specific to Grade 1 and 2. The initiative aims to reduce learning loss among elementary grade students by providing daily learning resources to their parents using the medium of WhatsApp, leveraging radio channels to share interactive audio stories, and enabling regular teacher-student interactions through calls and text messages.
Following activities are being implemented under Project Ankur:
- Blended learning model for students: Use of digital content in classrooms to engage students with a curated repository of learning resources, as well as leveraging mass communication channels such as television to disseminate educational and value-based content
- Capacity building for teachers online: Use of the CM RISE portal for teacher training, specifically, to hone skill sets and build expertise to support remote learning
- Engaging with parents as co-educators: Continuous support to parents of students learning at home to enable greater exposure and retention of content
The foundational learning program will build on all of these elements in all focus districts across Madhya Pradesh.
Telangana: Improving Learning Outcomes by Strengthening Foundational Learning
CSF and CEGIS have entered into a five-year partnership with the Government of Telangana to co-create a strategy to reorient the focus of the education sector toward improving learning outcomes in the State, with particular attention to achieving foundational learning by Grade 3. This program is premised on: strengthening the performance of the education sector through regular and independent measurement of learning outcomes; incentivizing district-level improvements in outcomes; piloting and scaling evidence-based interventions to improve pedagogy and governance; and, providing districts with the support and flexibility to chart their own pathways to address local constraints and improve performance. CSF is providing technical, research, project design and implementation support for all elements of this reform initiative.
Ka-Shreni, Assam: An Early Childhood Education Program
CSF signed an MoU with the Government of Assam in January 2020, as part of which we are working with State’s Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan office and the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT), Assam, to bridge the gap in learning levels of the 5-6-year-olds in Ka-Shrenis. The Vikramshila Education Resource Society is our technical partner in this effort to strengthen ECE interventions in 2,574 Ka-Shreni classrooms across 33 districts in Assam. Out of these 2574 Ka-Shrenis, 50 pilot schools will be closely monitored and supported by CSF and the Vikramshila Education Resource Society. Our program intervention includes the design and development of standardized classroom packages with a focus on all ECE competencies, capacity building of teachers, and technical advisory support to the State Government of Assam.
As a result of this intervention, 11 key resource persons (KRPs) and 99 resource persons have been trained to provide quality ECE training in Assam. KRPs have been trained to map activities with learning outcomes prescribed in the state and national curricular guidelines for school-readiness. A 30-week thematic instruction plan founded on activity-based pedagogy has been developed and shared. In addition to this, we provided extensive support to the Government of Assam on securing greater funding from the Central Government in the Project Approval Board (PAB) 2020-21 cycle for the year of preparatory class recommended in the NEP.