The IKEA Foundation has agreed to contribute more than $2.5 million towards a project led by the Earth Institute to improve primary education in two rural school districts in India. The new project, Model Districts Education Project: Access to Achievement, will draw on current scientific evidence and models of best professional practice to develop, implement, and evaluate a high-quality and cost-effective model for primary education in two rural districts.
In line with the Millennium Development Goals’ call for universal primary education by 2015, the project will seek to build on the gains made in India in the following areas: ending extreme poverty, providing all children access to primary education, and eliminating gender disparity in primary and secondary education. India has been able to improve access to education and reduce gender disparity, as the number of out-of-school children has been reduced from 25 million in 2003 to 8.1 million in 2009. Given this progress, stakeholders’ new imperative is to improve the quality of education available to children already attending school.
By drawing on the experience of the Earth Institute’s Model Districts Health Project, as run out of the South Asia Global Center, the project will strive to improve equity in educational quality for an estimated four million children in project sites in the Indian states of Assam and Andhra Pradesh. The project aims to achieve this goal by improving teacher performance through training, educational programming, and by introducing better methods of evaluating and monitoring teacher performance. The project will also seek to improve nutrition, hygiene and oral health practices in schools and communities, as these issues frequently prevent students from focusing on learning.
Through the project’s holistic approach and with the support of the IKEA Foundation, millions of schoolchildren will have a better shot at success later in life through improved health and access to education.
A full-length press release on this partnership can be found at: http://www.earth.columbia.edu/articles/view/3012.
The IKEA Foundation is a corporate philanthropic foundation that works with strong strategic partners to achieve large scale results by addressing four fundamentals in children’s lives – a place to call home, a healthy start in life, a quality education and a sustainable family income – whilst applying innovative solutions to accelerate development.
For more information on the IKEA Foundation, see: http://pages.ikeafoundation.org/Home
The Model Districts Health Project is a program run out of the Global Center South Asia that launched five pilot districts in 2010-2011 to serve as regional pilots for scaling up innovations and quality improvements targeting overall health systems strengthening across rural India.
For more information on this project, see: http://globalcenters.columbia.edu/southasia/model-districts-health-project