Modeled after the success of Teach For America, Teach For India aims to stamp out inequities in India’s schools by recruiting top college grads to teach in its poorest schools for two years.
Initiated in 2007, about 100 TFI Fellows will serve starting next fall in Mumbai and Pune and conduct classes in English. TFI Fellows will earn a competitive starting teachers salary, and receive compensation for housing and transportation.
Struggling students will have access to some of the country’s brightest young leaders. While TFI Fellows will be trained and challenged. They will carry with them the experiences in the classroom far into their careers, whatever path they take.
As in the United States, India’s educational system has some stark statistics:
- According to India’s 2001 Census, only 61% of the country’s population is literate. For women, the literacy rate is even lower than the national average, at 48%.
- There are currently 7,500,000 children out of school in India.
- Out of every 100 children in India, 15 will never attend school. Of those who attend school, 50% will drop out before Class V.
Reading through the web site of Teach For India (TFI) reminds me of reading the Teach For America (TFA) web site — similar vision, similar model, similar theory of change. To solve the problems of under-qualified teachers and outdated teaching methodology, India looked to Teach For America as a successful model. But India wasn’t the only country asking TFA for advice; apparently many other countries were. From the TFI web site:
In 2007, a new organization called Teach For All was created to support entrepreneurs in other countries who were pursuing the development of the Teach For America model locally. Teach For All was launched at the Clinton Global Initiative in September of 2007. Although a significant resource for Teach For India, Teach For All is a separately incorporated, funded, and staffed organization that is being incubated within Teach For America.
Note that like TFA, these other programs seem to be recruiting their own best and brightest (i.e. they are not overseas service opportunities for U.S. citizens—see Peace Corps, Jesuit Volunteers International, VSO Canada, and Atlas Service Corps —just a sampling of opportunities if you are from the United States and are eager to serve abroad).