India has made remarkable progress towards universalizing primary education, but learning outcomes are poor. Current efforts to address poor learning outcomes focus on improving primary education but ignore the preschool years. But, the preschool years are one of the most powerful levers to address this challenge.
The ages from 3-5 are particularly important as this is when a child learns critical pre-literacy and pre-numeracy skills that are essential for a child’s readiness to enter primary school.
The impact of good early education is disproportionately high for children from low-income households.
86% of children from low-income families – who constitute 70% of urban India – attend affordable private schools (APSs). These families invest ~6% of their income per child on private preschools despite the availability of free public options because they believe them to be of better quality. Unfortunately, APSs use a rote based approach and learning outcomes are as poor as in Government schools (e.g. in Class 1, 78% cannot read 3 simple 3-letter words) but little effort is invested in improving APSs. [Alliance]
Read about an innovative private pre-school system developed in Bangalore, Building Blocks India