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Scaling a Social Emotional/Moral education curriculum in low-income schools in India

Scale a Social Emotional Learning curriculum in low-income private schools with focus on peaceful co-existence and respect for women & girls

Photo of Sneha Menon
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Our project idea is to scale a learning system that can provide a strong moral education to children who live in poverty. There is an increase in the occurrence of crimes against women and girls in India. A lot of it stems from poor values education delivered to children at a young age. Most government and low-income schools catering to the poor and rural population often don't value social-emotional development of children. There is a growing market of over 300,000 affordable private schools, 10% of which are Christian schools. This is our target market for scaling our solution. Currently, our foundation provides academic solutions like an English app, called English Duniya to these schools and we have been developing a Social Emotional Learning ( SEL ) program to complement it. There are very few SEL programs in India - the field is nascent. Our SEL curriculum will place great focus on teaching students to be truthful, sincere, frank, open, self-controlled, firm, reasonable, loving, kind and respectful to women. The importance of inculcating values of honesty, bravery, piety, diligence, orderliness, punctuality, and frugality cannot be undervalued in character building. And the ability to respect women and peers is the foundation for building strong relationships. This SEL curriculum will embrace the emotional, social growth of children within a framework of human values leading to ‘education for peace’.The curriculum will help foster the spirit of peaceful coexistence by enabling to gain understanding, empathy important virtues for building a peaceful society. As we already already have access to around 450 schools through our technology platform, we can easily extend this SEL curriculum to these students and schools for very low cost.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

The primary beneficiaries of our solution are the children in low-cost private schools in India. There are over 300,000 low-cost schools in India who charge $5/$10 in school fees per month. These students don't have access to programs like Values/SEL education as it is already difficult for the school owner to manage other academic programs at that cost. These students will develop strong academic skills as well as strong moral values, leading to more prosperity & peace in their own lives. They will develop a strong sense of respect for women and girls creating a prosperous community. Secondary beneficiaries of our solution are teachers who are time starved. Since the system has a complete curriculum online, teachers don't need to scramble to find good classroom material. The system also comes with templates to have engaging dialogues with students, tools to create interesting projects, & activities, such as role-playing for conflict resolution.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

There are very few solutions catering towards SEL education for low-income schools, especially private. The parents of students attending these schools come from very poor backgrounds and don't provide the moral education at home. Our focus for last 6 years has been this demographic, delivering personalized Math and English skills for their student's delivered using technology. This made it cost effective, engaging and easy to implement. With digital curriculums, we have seen a high level of engagement with students and we believe we can extend this to SEL. With our new project focusing on SEL and value education, we can use the same base platform to deliver content to schools as well as leverage the blended approach to engaging students in their community. The SEL content we are adding has a strong focus on respect, integrity, peaceful co-existence with women and girls.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Early Adoption: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the intended users of the idea. I have begun to expand the pilot for early adoption.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Teach a Class (TAC) U.S. and Teach A Class India -- two sister organizations --- were founded in 2012 by Neil D’Souza to support his vision of “education everywhere.” With a strong DNA of serving underprivileged children Teach a Class (TAC) has grown to become a hybrid social enterprise serving over 150,000 students over the last 6 years through its for-profit technology arm- Zaya Labs. Link:

Expertise in sector

  • 5-7 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

In 2012 Neil Dsouza, our founder left Silicon Valley to teach in orphanages around the world. He developed a system of blended learning using women from communities and technology to help orphans get access to world-class education. . Over the years through Zaya and Teach A Class, we see the growing need for SEL to fill in the issues we see in India where women are not respected and there are growing cases of rape and torture. We have to start early.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

India is a country with a 1.3 billion population & huge economic inequality which disrupts peace & prosperity due to unequal access to funds & resources. We are working together to build the tools required to help entrepreneurs start these schools, make their processes efficient, and improve learning outcomes for students. This ensures that the students in schools (poor or rich) have access to equal opportunities. Through the SEL curriculum which is a critical part of the curriculum, we impart a moral education to children that tomorrow will grow up to be more peace-loving adults and thereby will help contribute to a peaceful society. Respect for women and girls is an important part of Peace in the community. There is a lot of violence against women driven by castism and religion today. A lot of it has to do with poor value education in schools. We believe that we can foster Peace at a very young age by exposing students to content that will drive respect, integrity for everyone

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

Our key partners are Zaya Learning Labs. Save the Children India and Center for Collaborative Education. TAC has been leading the development of the SEL curriculum, TAC will now focus on the implementation of the program using technology in new schools and projects that it will reach 480 schools by 2020. Zaya will continue to improve the technology system so that this program and content will be accessible to every school free of cost; Global School Leaders (Global School Leaders is providing support in adding a strong leadership component to the learning platform); Save the Children India, will be our implementation partner in rural India and for regional languages. Each organization has a strong presence in the community with 30 yrs of combined experience in running programs. By leveraging each organizations strengths, we hope to make our SEL program effective and drive deeper adoption.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

There are more than 300,000 such schools in India that cater to children from these low-income communities. These schools have great enrolment, coverage & reach & charge fees as low as USD$2 a month but have parents who are aspirational and are starting to value education. By implementing the program in this community first, we hope to drive greater adoption as school leaders here want to try out newer programs if the cost is low. By making this program free and using technology, we can scale.

Geographic Focus

India and specifically students attending Budget Private schools. Monthly income of parents $200

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

Projected timetable for taking this project idea from prototype to full implementation in at least 300 new affordable private schools: September 2018-19: Development of SEL with focus on respect for women. Jan 2019 - Pilot these in 50 schools in Mumbai, India March 2019- Development of new modules based on the feedback received from the field. June 2019 - Scale-up in 300 schools Sept 2019 - Translation of content into regional 3 regional languages. June 2020 - Scale up to 2000 schoo

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No
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Team (6)

Neil's profile
Neil Dsouza

Role added on team:

"Neil D'Souza is the Founder of Teach A Class (TAC) India and Teach A Class (U.S.) Neil is also the founder and CEO of Zaya Learning Labs, the education technology company that created the personalized learning platform that TAC India is charged with implementing in 140 schools."

Alisha's profile
Alisha Mahen

Role added on team:

"Alisha Mahen has been exploring the role design thinking can play in education, something she started working on during her 5 year stint as a school teacher. She completed a two year Fellowship with Teach for India. She believes that design can play a pivotal part in creating engaging learning experiences that can make classroom instruction more effective. Currently she is curating digital content for social emotional learning for O3 Schools."

Sneha's profile
Dr. Marina's profile
Dr. Marina Walne

Role added on team:

"Dr. Marina Walne is is the CEO of EduStart, a firm specializing in start-up schools as well as the CEO of Teach A Class. She is the a co-developer of the O3 Schools concept and prototype, and the manager of the team developing the SEL curriculum"

Amrita's profile

Role added on team:

"Amrita Rathi realized the importance & need to help children navigate their social & emotional concerns while volunteering at a special needs school in Mumbai, decided to learn more about the psychological underpinnings of SEL by pursuing a Masters in Education Psychology from Columbia University. Post graduation, she returned to India to pursue her vision of providing strong and effective SEL training and education to children, to help them make better decisions."

Ramlah's profile
Ramlah Merchant

Role added on team:

"Ramah Merchant heads monitoring and evaluation for TAC India has worked with several not for profits in the education space. She has a background in psychology, sociology and anthropology from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon; and is qualified in tableau and international relations."

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Photo of Tanita Preston

Hi Sneha,

Very cool work. Just wanted to stop by to introduce you to one of the enterprises in our network: Although I am not an expert in education, I am constantly impressed by Henry and CoSchool's work in Colombia. I hope the model brings some inspiration to you and I will share your work with him as well. I thoroughly believe that our interconnected planet makes us stronger and better as we can learn so much from each other.

Thanks for the work you do. Good Luck!

Photo of Sneha Menon

Thank you for the information and reference. If possible please do connect us with them via email. My email is Collaboration and cross-learning is critical and we would benefit from their work.

Thanks and Regards,

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