What role can Akanksha play in giving excellent education not just to some children, but ALL children?
How can our schools transition to being 'multipliers' - becoming hubs of innovation and sharing best practices within wider ecosystem?
How do we collaborate to influence policy at state and national level that will allow creation of more and more transformative schools?
Central to our mission is the existence of high-performing schools within the public system that change mindsets about what is possible for children in India. Akanksha is committed to driving the growth of these schools, both through its own network as well as through the creation of new networks around the country.
We believe in an open approach to sharing the systems, strategies and practices developed in the Akanksha system which are delivering impact for our children, families and communities. The work we do to share best practices based on the Five Pillars of The School Project help us expand and spread the best practices driving Akanksha schools to an audience beyond our reach.
Akanksha aims to identify policy and research gaps at the state and the national levels in order to foster systemic reform. Akanksha commissions research with an aim to use evidence to inform policy at all stages of the policy cycle, including agenda setting, policy formulation, implementation and monitoring and evaluation.
Akanksha is working to codify its K-2 curriculum as well as its parent and community engagement programs into easily sharable resources that can be placed on an open-source digital platform, accessible to Akanksha’s internal team but also to educators externally. Akanksha will continue to systematically work across grade levels, subjects and other programmatic areas and share these resources online to facilitate efficiency of knowledge transfer.
Akanksha is in dialogue with teacher training colleges (B.Ed. colleges) to take ownership of their 4 month internship program that is a part of their 2-year teacher training course. This program will be piloted in Pune and Mumbai this year and expand its capability to include more and more trainee teachers in future years. Akanksha aims to ensure the quality of teachers before they even begin to teach, whether or not the teacher works in an Akanksha School.
In 2016, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) identified 15 vernacular schools (13 Urdu and 2 Marathi) as models with the intent of developing them as lighthouse schools. These schools would function as hubs of excellence for the local network of schools. The initiative aimed to address higher absenteeism, increased student dropout rates and low parent engagement levels in schools. It is a pilot program run by the PMC with interventions for 3 years.
The Akanksha Foundation recommended that these model schools be allotted a ‘social worker’ who could be responsible for parent and community engagement. Akanksha has served as the technical and training partner for the social workers.
Out of the 15 schools, 9 schools were allotted a total of 10 Social Workers on corporation payrolls from October 2016 onwards. We have seen an improvement in both the attendance and enrolments in all 9 schools due to the intervention. Additionally, Akanksha hopes to make a lasting impact on student attendance and parent engagement through the establishment of fully functional School Management Councils. The initiative has tremendous potential for impact with the possibility of every municipal run school being allotted a dedicated Social Worker.