Guarding the roots

Teach for India – Architecting Educational Equality

On a casual trip across facebook, my eyes got transfixed at one of the status updates, which read; “Just imagine! What if the cure of a deadly disease like cancer is entrapped in a child’s mind who cannot afford to attain schooling? Would he ever get a chance to explore his potential?” Next thing I remembered was going through the statistics of Indian educational system that left me thinking

Is India really independent?

The ideals for which our forefathers strived and struggled to imbibe in free India are somewhere missing. The ideal of education for all with equality today has become one of our greatest challenges. With 4% of our children* unable to start school and a 61.6 dropout percentage**; it is difficult to call ourselves a free nation.  Not to forget that only 10% of total population go to college. This data is saddening but also gives an awakening call. It gets us thinking that why not all of us, privileged to be what we are today, try to reduce (read eliminate) this imparity? The problem is not that we don’t want to but that we don’t know how to; how to bring educational equality in our nation? Teach For India is one of the major initiatives architecting a legacy to answer the above question.

This all started with a hunger to serve and a will to change.

After having served Akanksha as founding member and CEO for about 20 years, Shaheen Mistri led a group of activists to start Teach for India in 2008. It was their vision to create a movement of leaders to bring educational parity that still enables them to work enthusiastically for a better India;  India where every child attain “excellent education”.

The vicinity in which one is born is a matter of utmost chance. It must not ever be the guide of what opportunities we get. Everyone deserves a chance. Everyone needs attention and should get equal opportunities. Everyone must get a quality education. As is always said, every child is unique. Human resource is a potential weapon, which is a vital tool for India to become a super power. All we need to do is nurture it.

What does teach for India do?

They have a twofold model, named the theory of change.

The short-term theory of change includes fellowship. Young professional and college graduates are recruited to serve as full-time teachers in under-resourced schools for a period of 2 years.  Fellows undergo a post recruitment rigorous training program. They are expected to know their students in and out of classroom, understand them and then create instructional plans that helps not just the class, but the individual student’s needs, teach in an engaging manner and make assessments to ensure progress of each and every  student. The first year of this span is basically aimed at sharpening fellows’ skills and in the second year of their tenure they are supposed to come up with a self-handled project, which would help in over-all development of children.

The long- term theory of change includes Alumni movement to which the fellows are inducted after the 2 years of fellowship.  They promote Teach For India’s vision and mission to their respective domain of profession and society.  The Alumni Movement works from inside and outside the educational system to ensure that the fundamental, long-term changes necessary to ultimately realize educational opportunity for all.

Why should I join Teach For India?

Shriya Garg, ex-campaign leader of Teach For India at Hansraj college (and a known writer) recalls her friend mentioning,

“When I joined this campaign I joined it with a feeling that I can give something to the society but I ended up learning a lot from here”.

Undoubtedly, it is our moral responsibility and moral duty to work for educational equality but this can eventually turn out into something, that we all would remember throughout our lives. It is not just about the level of satisfaction one receives but also about what we add to our skills when we carry it out.


The impact Teach for India has created is not merely in educational field. The movement keeps the track of their alumni network and measures its success on what they end up doing. So far a whopping 54% of TFI’s alumni have ended into social sector and creating a huge impact. On the other hand the number of schools associated with TFI is 209 at the beginning of 2013-14 and around 22,978 students being nurtured, boosted and taught by 840+ teachers. The numbers are on increase year after year but the true success of the movement is in the awareness and a change which it has created so far in its endeavor.

At last, in words of Amir Khan,

“It is an attempt not only to provide quality education to underprivileged children but also an attempt to provide you the kind of education that you would have otherwise never got.”

To have a better insight ,




** (NLES data at a glance page 13 of 37)

The present article was worked upon by : Vatsal Sanjay

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