Facilitated by Dr. Venkat Srinivasan, Serial Entrepreneur, Cognitive Scientist
Panelists: Dr. M.S. Vijay Kumar, Associate Dean of Digital Learning and the Executive Director of J-WEL (Jameel World Education Lab), MIT, Professor Shailesh, Visiting Faculty, Indian School of Business, Hyderabad
Facilitated by Shri Nand Kumar, IAS, Principal Secretary, Maharashtra School Education and Sport Department
Panelists: Ashish Dhawan, Founder & Chairman, Central Square Foundation (CSF), Ranjan Pant, CEO Advisor, Global Strategy Management Consultant
Today 8th September is International Literacy Day
This year, International Literacy Day is being celebrated across the world under the theme of “Literacy in a digital World”. Globally despite economic and social progress at least 750 million adults and 264 million out-of-school children still lack basic literacy skills. The basic definition of literacy is having the ability to read and write.
For EnglishHelper™ the day is significant. Our RightToRead program is addressing challenges of basic literacy and reading.
While the number of Indians who can read and write has improved since Independence, literacy in India is distributed unevenly. In rural India where it is absent, it has continued to perpetuate poverty. Thirty-six percent of the world’s illiterate live in India, and one in five people were considered poor in 2016.
Since 2013, EH has worked with Government schools across the country to improve basic reading skills of students. Today ReadToMe™ our reading and comprehension solution is deployed in over 5000 schools, across multiple states and has touched the lives of over 1 million students and thousands of teachers. Use of Technology has enabled us to scale rapidly, stay relevant and assist teachers and students with low reading proficiency.
The impact the program has had on students have been tremendous. In Purulia, West Bengal at Baragram High school (an RTR school) Nitish Kumar Suren a young student using RTM remarked “It is a very nice feeling when Sir calls on me to read. I love getting every word correct.” At Corporation Girls School in Coimbatore, the Principal Anbuselvi remarks “Students in my school come from a very poor backgrounds and do not have televisions, computers or cell phones at home. They see ReadToMe™ as a wonder and come to class with enthusiasm and excitement.” In Gujarat, the desire to learn English is strong. The children’s dreams and spirits are even stronger. Priyanka, a student of class 6 says her dream is to become a Pilot. “I’ve always wanted to sit on a plane but not as a passenger, as the person driving.”
As International Literacy Day is celebrated in India and around the world we take this opportunity to celebrate our efforts as a company to bring meaningful change in the world and bridge the divide.
The RightToRead initiative aims to improve students’ English reading and comprehension ability by integrating tech-enabled reading with the school curriculum.
Teachers and students constantly provide feedback that the program increases engagement leading to higher retention and learning. However, as the program rolls out to cover millions of students across grades, cultures and geographies, it becomes imperative to be able to measure the impact in a quantified, standardized basis. EnglishHelperTM has commissioned independent assessments to gauge this impact in several states, including West Bengal, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Punjab. These assessments are designed as baseline-end line assessments comparing outcomes of students studying in schools that implement the program (Treatment group) with those from schools that have not deployed tech-enabled reading in class (Control group).
All the assessments are conducted in an unbiased, low-stakes environment through an electronic medium, either using tablets or computers.
The assessments maintain contextual relevance for students in that they are designed based on the textbooks. At the same time, all the assessments follow a standard rubric appropriate for each grade level. This enables examination of the reading proficiency of students across various segments and over time.