Sharath Jeevan tells Sangeeta Yadav about his initiative to launch STIR that would ensure effective implementation of education in schools through micro-innovation modules
Tell us more about STIR education?
STIR is a non-profit oranisation which aims at identifying, test and scale promising school and teacher s through ‘micro-innovations’ in order to improve educational outcomes for the poorest of children. With the focus on ‘education for all’ in India, STIR has been investigating the innovative approaches teachers and principals have taken to ensure an enrolled pupil is not just a number on a page, but rather, is on a rigorously assessed journey of progression.
What was the purpose behind launching this initiative?
In India and other emerging countries, dramatic improvements have been made in terms of access to education. However, quality remains an issue, particularly for disadvantaged children. Despite this, we are seeing innovative teachers turning this trend around and making a real difference to these children. STIR finds these teachers, understands and tests the practices they are using, and then partners with implementers and policy-makers to take these practices to scale.
What does micro-innovators mean?
It is a innovative solution provider and demonstrates a positive approach to the most difficult problem. Designed to overcome, micro-innovators involve changing the method of testing for learning. It has the potential to help teachers to recognise the ability of their students to learn, even if their literacy skills are weak.
Is STIR only focussed to the school level?
Yes, currently our focus is on primary and secondary education. But in the future there may be opportunities for us to include informal schooling and tertiary education as well. Our basic model also seems to be attracting interest in other sectors, such as health.
Tell us about your current projects?
We launched our first pilot programme in Delhi and visited almost 300 schools, and speak to over 3,000 teachers, as part of our search process. We also kicked off the training programme for the successful 25 teacher-innovators, helping them to test their ideas to see if they can be subsequently replicated. Once this testing is done, STIR will widely disseminate successful ideas to policy and corporate companies.
What modules are included in this programme?
There are 25 teach innovators that includes major topics like assessment or tracking of student attendance, progress and achievement; teacher accountability and incentives; organisation of the school day or week; classroom practice; and external factors impacting on education.
Where is this project running?
The search process is currently taking place in Delhi. We aim to expand this to the NCR region, and set up a hub in the South. The scale-up of ideas identified by STIR is already national, with partners from the major states in India.
How many schools are there under STIR?
There are 290 schools in the network and we are working closely with 18 of these schools in phase I of the programme.
What about sponsors?
Our sponsors include Absolute Return for Kids (ARK), British Council, TSL Group and the UK’s Department for International Development. Our scale-up partners include Bharti Foundation, Azim Premji Foundation, Teach for India and Delhi Government among others.
(The article was published in the Pioneer Newspaper)