To begin with, I would like to extend my thanks to the HR department of Drishti Soft for involving us in the great initiative called the Shiksha Sankalp. The Shiksha Sankalp Foundation is a non-profit organization, active in the field of school education for children from underprivileged families which has been approved by the Government of India. Shiksha Sankalp is an effort to ensure that every underprivileged child in the world achieves age-appropriate level of academic knowledge and skills.
Our government data shows that Indiaâ€™s literacy rate is 75%, but after getting involved with the Shiksha Sankalp, I got to know about the ground reality that the majority of students of 3rd – 5th grades from a government affiliated school donâ€™t even know how to read and write.
When our team went to administer the Standardized Academic Performance (SAP) test in capacity of an invigilator, we got a chance to interact with students, both belonging to private and government schools between 8-9 years of age. The facts we learned were startling, while the students were eager to learn and their parents were also enthusiastic about the same, we also came across several drawbacks of the prevailing education environment wherein these kids are pursuing their education. The students were able to copy information and transfer it to their notebooks at the best, but there was a serious lack of comprehension skills.
Upon interaction with parents we found another hiatus between perception and reality. When they were informed about the skill gap that their children are facing, they were surprised that while they were encouraging their children to study instead of sending them for work, their aim of getting their children literate was not getting fulfilled at all.
So how does Shiksha Sankalp help the children? They have developed the Learning Rewards model for furtherance of school education of children by granting monthly stipends commensurate with studentsâ€™ demonstrated academic performance.
This stipend methodology has been designed mainly to encourage the students as well as the parents. The student with an outstanding performance is rewarded with the highest stipend. This motivates a child to study harder as well as become a source of supplementary income for the family. Siksha Sankalp has therefore successfully been able to incentivize quality education for underprivileged children. This incentive has a ripple effect, as the parents who benefit from this scheme spread the word out happily, thereby motivating others in the neighborhood to reap these benefits.
Drishti-Soft strongly hopes that in long run, this initiative will lead to the propagation of a learning-focused ecosystem wherein there is a shared sense of accountability among all the stakeholders pertaining to the education sphere.