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India Education Interactive Radio Instruction


“Improved reading skills for 100 million children in primary grades” is one of the three major goals laid out in USAID’s Global Education Strategy. USAID in India is supporting 10 initiatives that advance this global target by working with the Government of India and local partners to identify, support, and scale early grade reading innovations developed in India. USAID India also focuses on building the capacity of teachers, headmasters and other education officials to improve pedagogy and teaching.

USAID/India Programs

School Excellence Program: USAID supports the Kaivalya Education Foundation to transform more than 250 schools poor-performing government primary schools in the city of Surat in Gujarat by developing the leadership and teaching skills of teachers, headmasters, and district-level school officials. The project trains and mentors 1,800 teachers to improve the reading outcomes of more than 150,000 children. The project also uses technology to both assist teachers in assessing needs for individual students as well as to bridge gaps in teachers’ own teaching skills and knowledge.  

Teacher Innovations in Practice: USAID, in partnership with STIR Education, aims to positively impact the teaching practices of 14,657 teachers to improve early grade reading outcomes of more than 564,000 primary school children in the states of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. This project centers on reigniting teacher motivation to drive better student learning outcomes. This will occur through developing teachers’ mindsets and behaviors, building an enabling environment, and enhancing pedagogical skills and knowledge. 

Nurturing Early Literacy Project: USAID partners with Tata Trusts and the Center for microFinance to shift the prevalent rote-based pedagogy in India to one that views the child as an active learner, who can effectively learn sounds and symbols, read and write with comprehension, and can apply their knowledge in everyday life. Using a multi-pronged approach that includes in-class training sessions for teachers and equitable access to libraries for children both in schools and communities, this project aims to improve the reading skills of more than 90,000 primary school children in the states of Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Karnataka. 

Right to Read: USAID supports English Helper to deploy an interactive computer program in around 5,000 government schools across eight states to improve reading skills, help develop vocabulary, and enable English language comprehension for one million school children. The program includes a digitized version of the English language textbooks to simplify teaching and learning of the subject. This project also addresses the issue of the English language teacher shortage in Indian public schools. Teachers for subjects besides English are trained in English and teach the language to their primary school classes.   

Scaling Up Early Learning Intervention: USAID and Room to Read India, support the improvement of early grade reading outcomes in public schools in the states of Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand, by promoting reading instruction and reading practice through libraries. By working with 2,460 schools, the project aims to develop a habit of reading in 246,000 children. It will also build systemic capacities and provide policy inputs that will enable the governments of Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh to implement more effective reading interventions. This project will expand to include two other states in 2018 and benefit close to four million children in the long run.

Read, Engage, Achieve and Dream (READ) Alliance: The USAID-supported READ Alliance is a platform to provide grant funding, technical support, and advocacy to test and scale promising reading innovations. Implemented by the Centre for Knowledge Societies, the READ Alliance brings together diverse players –– including corporations, foundations, non-profit organizations, think tanks, innovators, researchers, and donors –– dedicated to ensuring that all children in India learn to read. Through the Early Grade Reading Innovation Challenge, the READ Alliance has supported and incubated six reading solutions across five states in India with the aim to reach more than 130,000 students. Examples of these methods are intensive teacher training and promoting reading skills through Same Language Subtitling of audio visual content. 

Start Early: Read in Time: USAID partners with CARE India Solutions for Sustainable Development (CISSD) to improve the reading skills of more than 100,000 children from marginalized communities in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Odisha, through curriculum development, teacher training, administrator orientation, and child-centered methodologies. The key strategy is to build on the child’s prior linguistic knowledge and skills, and to ensure a smooth transition from home language to school language. Under the project, CISSD has developed learning standards for primary school students, teacher training material to support around 3,500 teachers in the classroom, and brought out contextual reading materials for primary grade students to promote reading in the classroom.

Tibet Education Program: Through the Tibet Fund, USAID supports Tibetan community youth in India and Nepal to access educational opportunities. The Tibet Education Project is improving the quality of local teaching through teacher development and training, while also employing educational tools that enhance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This will enable students to access costly and competitive higher educational opportunities. Additionally, the program supports the Central Tibetan Administration’s college scholarship program and provides test preparation and coaching for secondary students. More than 10,000 youth studying in Tibetan schools across India and Nepal are currently benefitting from these improvements.

All Children Reading Grand Challenge: The USAID-supported “All Children Reading Grand Challenge” identifies and supports two activities designed to improve reading skills among primary school children in India. These include: 

  • Accessible Books for Children with Visual Impairments: USAID supports Benetech to deliver accessible, grade-level reading books to children who are blind or low vision by adding Marathi human-narrated audio capabilities to Bookshare, the world’s largest digital accessible library and Benetech’s flagship Global Literacy initiative, in conjunction with Bharati braille. The project works directly with four schools for 135 visually challenged children in the municipality of Pune in the state of Maharashtra. Teachers in these schools are trained to use Bookshare and schools are visited weekly by a local “Story Uncle” or “Story Aunty” to encourage reading.
  • Play.Connect.Learn: Sesame Workshop India (SWI) with support from USAID provides families in six districts in the state of Maharashtra with a smartphone-based mobile application to promote mother-tongue literacy skills among 12,000 children and families. This innovative and adaptive learning system is being used to deliver self-paced learning content in Marathi for children between the ages of five and eight. Each module contains storybooks, games and assessments which are built in a progressive manner. Along with each package, SWI is providing additional storybooks for children to encourage and promote reading. The packages are based on the content of Galli Galli Sim Sim (Sesame Street). Smartphones are provided to around 350 participating families with limited purchasing power.