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Why empowering educators for 21st-century learning is crutial

Educators play a multifaceted role in the lives of students. From guiding them through academic challenges to installing essential life values, a teacher’s role in shaping the lives of students is invaluable. Assisting educators in refining skills and providing them with 21st-century teaching techniques is Reach to Teach (RTT), a social impact organisation, focused on improving education outcomes by making learning joyful. 

Aligned with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, and SDGs – 4 (Quality Education), 10 (Reduced Inequalities) and 17 (Partnerships), RTT creates a learning model that provides end-to-end solutions with a focus on strengthening teaching and learning outcomes.

Discussing the need to enhance teacher agency to strengthen learning outcomes, Ms Ratna Viswanathan, CEO – Reach to Teach said, “A subject is only as good as the teacher teaching it. The responsibility of children’s learning vests with teachers. There is a need for teachers to feel engaged and own the way children learn. The NEP 2020 envisages 50 hours of training for teachers and head teachers in a year.” 

Referring to tactical engagement through elements of play a crucial part in the learning process, Ms Viswanathan stressed that their design for training and leadership development focuses on a teacher’s needs and need assessment. To make the process engaging, RTT draws upon examples from the local context and locally available resources into the activities incorporated in the text books. 

“When we engage to partner with a state, we try and understand the teaching approach, and look at existing textbooks, syllabus, and curriculum. Basis this, we work on strengthening the existing textbooks by incorporating activity and experiential-based elements and linking these to existing already defined outcomes. But the idea is not to change but to strengthen what already exists and not increase the burden on teachers,” she explained. 

Speaking about measuring the impact of different training programmes, Ms Viswanathan said, “Our training programmes are linked to specific interventions and are not generalised. The programme design includes performance indicators including long term indicators that impact behaviour. We link impact and measure impact by evaluating the inputs and outcomes for each training programme. We engage in pre and post-mechanisms to evaluate and measure the improvement and understanding of concerned stakeholders during the different training programmes.” 

During the interaction, Ms Viswanathan also reflected on the latest ASER Report 2023, calling for comprehensive reforms in the education system to ensure quality education for all to achieve Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN). 

She asserted, “Learning loss is not a new phenomenon. It is not a fallout solely of the Covid pandemic. For years children have been promoted without the relevant proficiency required in each class, particularly at the foundational level. COVID gave us an opportunity to reset and hence this loss came to the forefront. Today, every agency including government schools is running remedial teaching modules to bring children up to grade-appropriate learning levels and it will take time for children to come up the curve.” 

Currently working in Gujarat, Haryana, Arunachal Pradesh, and Meghalaya, RTT plans to deepen and consolidate its work in 2024 while operating at scale. Shedding light on future plans, Ms Vishwanath said, “As we have a deep dive model of engagement, we would like to concentrate on the states we are working in. This, however, does not rule out us extending our footprint to other states at the appropriate time.” 

RTT collaborates with the Education Departments of various State Governments by signing a Memorandum of Understanding, which outlines the scope of work and the interventions to be undertaken by them to support the state in its efforts to drive quality teaching and learning in government schools. 

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