The mission of The School Project is to create a model for high-performing schools that redefines what is possible for children from low-income communities, and has the potential to drive wider systemic reform.
In India today, 96% of primary school-age children are enrolled in school. The quality of learning indicators, however, is of persistently low levels – with low standards of education, up to 25% absenteeism amongst government school teachers, a 50% drop out rate between grade 1 and grade 5, and 90% dropout by grade 10.
In 2006, Anu Aga, an Akanksha board member, approached the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to adopt a municipal school through the Thermax Social Initiatives Foundation (TSIF). The seeds of The School Project were sown with the opening of this first school in June 2007.
In the first year of the school opening, the team administered a third party assessment called ‘ASSET’, taken primarily by a small pool of elite private schools. On this baseline assessment, the children performed anywhere from 30-70% below the mean. Eight months later, the students had bridged an achievement gap of nearly 25 percentage points. These promising initial results built confidence in the potential of schools to provide the kind of environment that children from low-income communities needed.
In 2008, Akanksha decided that working within the government system offered more scope to reach more children and one day be an advocate for education reform from within the system, using the case study of the Akanksha Schools as a model of what can work in public education. With 9 schools across Mumbai and Pune, operating in partnership with the municipal governments of both cities, this model continues to grow and thrive today.
With 13 schools across both cities, this model continues to grow and thrive today.